Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Year in Review

I've been thinking about how I should start this entry: Top 10 highlights of 2010? Catchy, but in all honesty, I think it would be hard to narrow it down to JUST the top 10 most favorite things that happened in 2010!! Sometimes making choices is NOT my forte. *sad to admit that... but is that a girl thing anyway?

Okay, back on topic... 2010: Year in Review? That's a good one, too, because then I could include MORE THAN 10 things! God knows that I am very thankful for so much that has happened over this past year, so let me go ahead and recap... and in NO particular order...

1. Our tradition EVERY year (since coming to Las Vegas) has been to go to Mount Charleston at the beginning of January. The last two years (2009 and 2010) we have built a snowman, and each year the snowman gets better looking! HA!

2. We celebrated our 12th anniversary on February 26th!! That's right -- ONE DOZEN -- years together!! :) How awesome!! :) We are truly blessed and thank God for His blessing on our marriage! Believe me, after coming through so much in the beginning of our marriage, to truly being happy now, there's definitely MUCH to be thankful for.

3. Mariah got to ride a horse for the first time in April. She was so excited!! The smiles on her face said it all. Someday, we really do hope that we can get her riding lessons ... on more of a permanent basis. She'd LOVE that!!

4. A pretty heart wrenching "event" happened with our old church. In all honesty, I wasn't going to include that in my list, but since it has continued to help shape me and reinforce my faith and help me find out what I BELIEVE of God's Word ... it fits perfectly on this list. I won't include details, but what had transpired could have easily sent me packing away from any denominations, as well as religion... for good -- or bad, is the better word for it. So, for what had happened, I am thankful! I continue to seek after the LORD and His will in my life. I look forward to sharing with you more frequently in the next NEW year ;) about the revelations and teachings God gives to me. Hopefully they'll encourage you! **I will blog again to start off the year and will include two songs that have so much meaning and are a perfect fit for this #4 on my list.**

5. Earlier in the year, I did get to go to a ladies conference which left me inspired to seek and desire more of God's will in my life. And only a couple short months after conference, that's when the unsettling feeling began bubbling up... which led to the events in #4. Remember, NO MATTER what happens in life, as long as you are seeking and desiring God's will to be done, you have to trust that HE has and holds your interest at heart... HIS heart! :)

6. Fishing! We went fishing quite a bit. a few times in June -- which William got to catch his biggest catch so far, since fishing again after all of these years! *I do have pictures! Maybe I should post them?* And we went fishing for Andrew's birthday, too! Fishing is definitely one of those outings that our family enjoys... even me! Warning: I DO NOT touch the worm or bait, NOR do I touch the fish! YUCK!!

7. Took the kids to Iowa for a personal visit with grandparents. We left on a 20+ hour trip on July 14th to Iowa... got there on July 15th, and William and I (without the kids) turned around and drove back home on July 16th. YES, we are crazy, but it was a fun roadtrip. Oh -- and now that we have the whole driving rotation mastered, driving isn't so bad. :) P.S. This was the LONGEST time we had ever been without the kids in all of their lives (Andrew is 11, Mariah is 9, and Corey is 7).

8. William and I drove back to Iowa for a month-long visit in August. It was so great to be back visiting family. The break from Vegas and all that had happened here was needed... and God definitely knew that -- He knows ALL anyway!

9. My family, sisters, aunts, uncle, and cousins surprised my mom with a 55th birthday party (before doing #10)! She. Had. NO. Idea! I LOVE surprising my mom! The expression on her face is priceless. This also makes two years in a row that I was part of something that surprised her. What can I do next year?! **Mom, you'll probably be on your toes, huh, and expecting something, won't ya? Guess I'll just have to be clever about it!**

10.We enjoyed a week trip to Lake Okiboji with William's mom and dad while we were visiting in August. This week trip was also very nice ... lots of fishing and a great stay in their condo! BEAUTIFUL!

11. Demolition and construction continues on our master bathroom. Believe me! I CANNOT wait until it's finished!!!! I miss being able to brush my teeth and do my hair in OUR master bath... those tools that William got for Christmas are about to get dust on them... and that's not dirt dust, but saw dust!

12. We went to the squadron Christmas party ... hadn't been in about 11 years. No joke. The last "visit" to a squadron Christmas party was back in 1999. We really enjoyed ourselves and HOPE that next year's party is better and not so agenda-like. Fun is the key. ;)

13. Ohh!! Can't leave joining the PWOC here at Nellis AFB off my list. It's been so great to be part of such a great women's Bible study group. The ladies of PWOC, no matter what base you go to, are supportive, encouraging, and love unconditionally. It's been great getting to know a few of them (because that's all I know)... even if all of our days here in Las Vegas are numbered. Love You Ladies!

14. God has also blessed us with a great friendship with one of the guys and his wife from the shop! We've had many game-playing nights... full of laughs, competition, and fun!! We really look forward to many more game nights and more getting to know them!!

15. There are so many other things during 2010 that I can list, but maybe I should go ahead and stop now.  I look forward to the NEW coming year and all that it has in store... the good, the better, and the stormy.

Hope you guys have enjoyed reading the recap of 2010 (and the rest of my blogs).... "see" you guys next year....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love & Memories

Notice: You MUST listen to and/or watch the videos in the order they come in WHILE reading this post. You just have to get the full affect!

Tonight as we were at the grocery store, upon checking out, I started putting the groceries on the conveyor belt. While doing this simple act, in which it seems is my job because of how organized everything goes up onto the conveyor belt, in which it is my hope that those bagging our groceries will keep things together. This equals a faster unloading process when we get home! :) Really. It does help. At least I think so, anyway.

I had put a few items up on the belt when William leans on the end of the conveyor belt and then serenades me with "Have I Told You Lately, That I Love You"!!! :~D <--- my attempt at a really big smile! I'm pretty sure I was blushing because my face felt hot! I absolutely LOVE him!! Always & Forever!!

So after getting everything settled when we got home, I got on the computer to do some school work; however, school work was not on my mind: this amazing man, who showed me so much love while singing the chorus to such a lovey song, was! So I went to youtube and searched it... and listened to that song... and another old lovey song... and another one... and another one... and... You get the picture, right? ;)

Then, I came upon the song "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith. That song reminds me of the movie "Armageddon". That is a movie that I haven't watched since June 1999. Why? The part at the end when  Harry is telling his baby girl that he won't be there to walk her down the aisle. It reminds me of my dad. My dad passed away on June 15, 1999 from heart disease ... just barely a month before his first grandson was born... in which we did give our oldest son's middle name, my dad's first name.

I can remember when I was in my teens when my dad would tell us girls that he may not be around to walk us down the aisle and that it made him very sad because he wanted to see his baby girls get married. Even though he lived with heart disease for many years, I just knew he'd live on for many years. But I was wrong.

Happy Part, Again:
Well, on February 26, 1998 -- I got married to the most wonderful man in all of the world!! God has truly blessed me! We were short on time and definitely short on cash, so we got married at the courthouse (and one day when we renew our vows, we'll do the whole wedding ceremony and all that jazz). My dad was my witness (in which he signed our marriage certificate, too) and William's dad was his witness. I'll never forget that day, not just because it's our wedding date, but because my dad was still here to see one of his babies get married. *smiling through the tears* :`)

Disclaimer: Oh--guess I should have put this at the beginning huh? Ha. Sorry if it made you cry. You weren't alone... I did, too. Now, it's back to school work I go. :)

Wordless ... almost ... Wednesday: Popsicles or Icicles? That is the question.

12-27-2010 @ Mount Charleston, NV.
 Sidenote: The first time Corey seen icicles was back in April 2009. He was 5 1/2 years old. Because of his "sheltered" military child lifestyle... he hadn't really seen any icicles before this time. So the first time he seen them, they were hanging from a car at a Walmart in Colorado (we were on our way to visit family in Iowa), Corey says: "Look mom and dad! There's popsicles hanging from the car!" It was so cute and still makes me smile recalling his so innocent comment!! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mount Charleston & Port-a-potty Explosions

What a yucky title for a blog, right? It's the only thing that comes to mind. Sorry. Today, we drove up to Mount Charleston to enjoy some sledding... no snowman making this time, but was going to save that for sometime in January. Well, now we're going to make our next trip up to Mount Charleston a bit longer. This trip will include sledding, snowball fights, and snowman building!! Corey has been telling us that we need to make a snowman with a CARROT nose, so that's what we'll do.

*Last Year's (Jan. 1, 2010) Snowman*

Soo... why the pretty yucky title? Well, as we drove up to Mount Charleston, we drove up on Kyle Canyon Rd. No biggy. Our favorite spot by Mary Jane Falls was taken, but that's no biggy, either. So, we headed back down the mountain and was going to go ahead and take the Lee Canyon Rd over to the area by the ski resort. That's what we did. But first... potty break. Kids didn't have to go and neither did I, but William went ahead and went. We stopped at the Visitor Center, so at least the toilets are decent. I should have just went there, but didn't have to go. Should have done what we do to the kids and MAKE myself go. But I didn't.

Here are a few pictures of our travels up Mount Charleston. I couldn't take anymore pictures of the rest of our travels because I had to potty so bad! Sooo not fair because the scenery is so beautiful!!

As we drove around to the other side of the mountain, I got a very strong urge to have to potty. NOT good! No toilets in sight, or at least the ones that were in sight were closed because of the amount of snow that Mount Charleston had gotten. *sigh* Should have just made myself go at the Visitors Center. Guess what I won't be allowed to do? Miss another potty break... just like a kid!

The further we go up the other side of the mountain, the more people there are... and BAMM! There are some port-a-potties! I was so thankful that there were some available for use. No kidding! For those who know me ... I DO NOT like going to public restrooms that even appear to be slightly dirty, let alone disgusting port-a-potties!! G.R.O.S.S! Well, to my complete and utter disappointment, we turned around by the ski resort because those restrooms are for CUSTOMERS ONLY. We headed back down the ski resort side of the mountain back to the port-a-potties. Well, I was totally disgusted by the *shivers at the recall* ... but totally disgusted by the sight. YUCK!!! NO WAY was I going to go into one of those. I couldn't anyway because the only type of person that could, seriously, use one of those was a man... only if he had to do the #1.

Sooo..... since there were no other port-a-potties and we knew we had left some really good spots to go sledding, we headed back down the mountain. We had travelled clear out to Indian Springs. Just. To. Use. The. Bathroom. Sad, huh? But a woman's gotta do, whatta woman's gotta do, right?

By the time we got to the gas station, I really felt like the whites in my eyes were YELLOW! It probably looked like I jumped out of the truck at the gas station door -- I had to go THAT. BAD. *Thank you, Honey, for dropping me off so close to the entrance!* Anyway, I was behind a woman in line who looked like she had just come from Mountain Charleston, herself (her and the guy that she was with). It felt like I stood there for at least 10 minutes! I kept thinking in my head: "PLEASE! PLEASE hurry up!! Stop doing your hair or make-up or whatever. You look pretty already!! PLEASE! HURRY! UP!"

Let me just say, that conversation in my head that I had... didn't make her hurry up anyway. But I seriously did NOT want to wet my pants there in front of any customers that had come into the station. I had already shed a few tears on the way down the mountain and while travelling on I-95 out to Indian Springs. Sad, huh? Now I can fully tell you what a child feels like when they have to go to the bathroom sooooo bad that they cry because they don't want to pee their pants.

*It's really okay to chuckle at this post. Really.* I just wanted to share with you our sad time of NOT being able to go to sledding. BUT, at the same time, the scenery is always great because we all really appreciate it even more. Living in the desert certainly has it's drawbacks. Plus, the kids are happy that our next trip up will last even longer -- HOPEFULLY!!

WARNING: PLEASE use the Visitor Center Restroom BEFORE heading to the ski resort side of the mountain. By the time you get to that side, you're gonna wish you had!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mmm Mmm Monday... Homemade Monkey Bread

Most people who know me knows that I love HOMEMADE food -- completely from scratch!! So here's a recipe for HOMEMADE Monkey Bread.

FYI: We've made monkey bread using biscuits cut into quarters. Homemade is the best way to go -- hands down -- always!! I'm sorry I don't have extra pics of the process, but hope you can see the yummyness of the recipe through the final picture!

So without further ado... here's the recipe:

1/2 cup granulate sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups of all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I typically use less in all my recipes. So whatever 4 turns on the salt grinder is, that's what I use. lol.)
3/4 cup butter/margarine
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (don't have buttermilk? You do have a lemon OR vinegar? GREAT! Use just under a cup of milk and 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice combined. Leave for 5 minutes and then use whatever the recipe is calling for. Make as much or as little of this buttermilk substitute as necessary.)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar

*Preheat oven to 350*F*
1. Lightly grease a Bundt pan, fluted pan, or any pan with at least a 3 inch side.
2. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar and set aside. This will be for the dough pieces.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender (or fork) combine margarine/butter until flour mixture is crumbly. With a wooden spoon, mix in buttermilk until mixture is combined. Knead dough IN bowl with one hand for 10-15 repetitions -- don't over knead.
4. Lightly grease a Bundt pan or any pan with at least a 3 inch side.
5. Cut dough in two and set one of the halves aside, for now. Roll one of the halves into a long tube. Slice it lengthwise making it into TWO LONG pieces. Cut into one inch pieces.
6. Now it's time for the cinnagar (cinnamon and sugar) mixture. To cut time down, roll 4-5 pieces of the dough in the mixture. After the pieces are coated, plop the bits, in a random fashion, into the pan. Continue this process until all the dough has been used and the pan is coated with these sugary pieces.
7. Melt butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over med heat. When sugar is dissolved, spoon or carefully pour this saucy mixture over the dough in your pan.
8. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Because we use stoneware, I typically have to go with the higher minutes, unless I use the confection and then it stays on the lower side of the cooking time.
9. When the monkey bread is done baking, carefully flip the pan over onto an oven safe dish or larger bowl.
10. You can pull the monkey bread apart in pieces or cut it into sections. We prefer cutting it. Monkey Bread is always best served warm.

**Make some memories in the kitchen with your kiddos ... super simple recipe to make!!**


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless... almost... Wednesday

'Tis the REASON for the SEASON... and all year, too!!

Bragging rights...

I've always known to be a very blessed woman to have such a wonderful husband and an amazing father to our children. William loves unselfishly. He cares without doubt. And when you see him with our kids, you can tell he has to be the best father on earth (o.k. so I also know that you'd say the same thing about your husband's, but I am so serious about mine) ;) -- especially to care and love and show attention EQUALLY to THREE children!!! :)

Well, I had a CPR/First Aid/AED class I HAD to take to get my certification, last night, in order to continue the employment process at my job. While I was away last night... my very awesome husband and father to our three children...

1. Cleaned the kitchen, to include unloading and reloading the dishwasher... as well as washing all pots and pans and stoneware by hand. I seriously hate to admit this, but because I was so engulfed in school work on Monday (in which I ended up going to bed at 3 a.m. on Tues. morning), I had NO time to clean the kitchen.

2. He baked, well sort of. Technically the oven wasn't involved, but the items he made were sweets. Our close friends and family know that William can bake, and they also know that he has a VERY sweet teeth!! So he made two batches of no-bake cookies and a big batch of rice krispy treats... all while including the kids!!! :) I love that about him!!!

So I just had to take a time-out and brag about my husband. I truly am a very blessed wife AND mother... I definitely do not take it lightly. THANK YOU GOD!!! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wow! Has it seriously been ....

Good golly Miss Molly -- has it seriously been that long?! I'm still here folks. I'm sorry I've been away ... there were things I needed to get straightened out with work, sleep, school, sleep, and work.


1. I am no longer working at Kohl's. Working into the late evening is NOT my thing. How do people do this? This whole working past 10 p.m.?! That's crazy! Well, maybe it wouldn't be so crazy if I wasn't a full time mommy, wife, homeschool teacher, student, AND trying to work to bring in some extra moolah. Yep - that's probably it.

2. I have been so tired lately. I don't know if it has a great deal of being drained from Kohl's, or just that my body is trying to tell me something. Could I really be getting old and that it doesn't like all this running around? OR - better yet, if I were in better shape, my body may not dislike all the running around so much? Hmm .....

3. I have a different job. Yes, I did decide to get a different job. If I'm going to college, I need to get started in the health care field. I am OFFICIALLY a trained and certified Personal Care Attendant -- a.k.a. home health aide. I CANNOT wait until I get my first client. I LOVE the elderly folks. They're so cute -- even the grumpy ones. :) Noooo -- I'm seriously not crazy or weird or anything like that. I really do love elderly people. :)

4. We are a-go with getting some bills paid off and getting things organized for the remodel of our master bath. I WILL DEFINITELY post a few before pics and then the after pics when we finish. P.S. The remodel probably won't be done until late February ..... just in time for my aunt, uncle, and cousins to come and visit!! YAY!! CAN'T wait for that either!!!

5. I'll try to NOT leave y'all tapping your fingers for so long while you wait for another blog. Sooo glad things are getting back to normal around here in our household!

HOPE everyone is having a great holiday season! Christmas is right around the corner now....are you ready? :)