Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year....New Look!

Hope you like the remodel! I thought you needed a little change of scenery.....

Friday, December 25, 2009

On the 12th Day of Christmas…..

My true love gave to me….. A partridge in a pear tree!
Did you know that each “day” of Christmas in this song symbolizes something in the Bible? (Ex: Two Turtle Doves= the Old and New Testament?) Well the Partridge in the Pear tree is Jesus. In the New Testament Jesus draws correlation to himself as a bird “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often have I sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks….” Luke 13:34. And though at Christmastime we picture Jesus as a tiny baby in a manger, we would be remiss if we failed to picture him as a grown man, hanging on a tree for your sins and mine. Easter and Christmas go hand in hand, without the miracle of one, we would not have the miracle of the other.
These last 11 days I have shown you all the things that I love about Christmas. But without Jesus they would be just that, things. Things that get broken, things that go out of style, things I get tired of, some things that I will pass on to Baby Deetz, but in the end they are all things and all of those things will eventually turn into dust. But the greatest thing is that Jesus never goes out of style or gets lost or broken. He is the same today that he was 2000 years ago in that manger. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the 11th day of Christmas....

My true love gave to me.... 11 Ladies Dancing! Pictured is my "girl" tree that graces our dining room. I love this tree! One year when we were still in Kissimmee, Mom and I were shopping the day after Christmas (my favorite shopping day of the year!) when we found these Department 56 girl ornaments at Target. Well it was a good thing that there are like 6 Target's in a 10 mile vicinity because we had to go to all 6 stores to complete the collection (I think there are 25 actual ladies dancing, but here are a few of my favorites, and a shopping snow-lady for good measure!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the 10th Day of Christmas……

My true love gave to me……10 Christmas Memories!
10- Christmas 1999. I had met Chad in September (my freshman year in college). A short 2 1/2 months later, I bugged him every day "What did you get me for Christmas?" "Can I open it now?" I thought I was getting this beautiful emerald bracelet I had been wanting. Well Chad always said "No, you need to wait for Christmas!" So on December 22nd he made me a special dinner, his folks had vacated the house, and he asked "Do you want your Christmas gift now?" Thinking I would say "YES!" But instead I said "'s the 22nd, I can wait three more days" Chad went into a panic. He actually got up and left the room, mentioning " right back." He came back with sheer determination and proclaimed: " Tough, you're getting it now!!!" He got down on one knee and proposed. I was absolutely shocked! Of course I said yes. And we lived happily ever after ;0)
9- Fast forward 2 years. Our first Christmas together as husband and wife. We opened gifts by the fireplace in our tiny, overpriced, one bedroom apartment. It was precious!
8- Christmas 1988. A freeze swept through central Florida and knocked out power all over the city. My family couldn't cook Christmas dinner, so we ended up going out to eat at some random buffet. But I’ll never forget opening gifts by candlelight that year.
7- The year I got a giant stuffed Panda and a bicycle. It was a GREAT year to be 11!
6- Singing in the Candle Light choir all through high school. A massive choir sings while a celebrity narrates the Christmas story. The best year was when James Earl Jones narrated. The worst year was when a former Miss America did it. Let’s just say reading was not her gift. As an adult Chad and I have been to see the production, one year we saw Marlee Matlin sign the narration. It was incredible to watch the emotion she put into the story with her hands. If you are ever in the parks at Christmastime it is a must see!
5- The year my mom was pregnant with my sister. She was on bed rest so we ended up eating ham sandwiches and potato chips for Christmas dinner because she couldn't be on her feet to cook. I was so excited to be a big sister I would have eaten anything and been just as happy.

4- Seeing the Christmas Hot dog at our church. The special ed department practices their Christmas production the Saturday before their play (and we eat hot dogs, thus the name) and SANTA comes to visit! Santa is a celebrity with these precious people with childlike faith. One year Chad got to play Santa and that was something I'll never forget.

3- Return to Bethlehem. Our church transforms our parking lots into Bethlehem village with a 500 person cast. Thousands of people from the community drive through the city from King Herod's courts to the manger at the end of the scene. I have played the ANGEL (you know the one that has to hold her hands up in the air LOUDLY proclaiming that Christ has been born, can you say "ouch" by the end of the night? The Inn-Keeper's wife turning away pregnant Mary away over and over and over. The last two years I have been pregnant Mary with the Donkey making her way downtown. Walking in the (a-freezing cold. b-driving rain or c-high wind) with a pillow stuffed under your smock trailing a pooping Donkey is a strange way to celebrate Christmas, but for some reason, it's a pretty neat site.

2- Twice when I was in high school we had two college exchange students from China with us over the Holidays. They marveled at all of our traditions and cried when we gave them gifts. It's always interesting getting an entirely different perspective on our traditions.

1-We spent Christmas 2007 on a cruise ship with my sister, my parents, and Chad's mom and step-dad. It was odd having balmy temperatures and sunbathing on Christmas day in the Dominican Republic. If I had a ton of money I would go on a cruise every year during winter (but not necessarily on Christmas day). It was great making a jump from all the ice and snow to the blue waters of the Caribbean. That was one tradition I could definitely get use to!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the 9th Day of Christmas.....

My true love gave to me..... 9 Christmas Trees! Yes, I have 9 Christmas Trees. Normally, when people ask I just say I have 4, because those are my big, fully decorated trees in the house. I also have 5 smaller trees, 4 more at home and 1 on my desk! I say if it lights up and has some sort of ornaments that must be added it qualifies as a tree. And people already look at me like I am crazy for having 4 trees, can you imagine if I said 9!! Here is our main tree in the living room....

PS- That is a Christmas Pickle! It's a German tradition. You hide the pickle on a branch of the tree and on Christmas day the person that finds the pickle gets an extra present. It's not much fun with two people (One person always knows where the pickle is, so it kinda defeats the purpose) But I am looking forward to having another pickle seeker in the house next year ;0)
We also collect those gold destination ornaments from everywhere we visit. It's kinda hokey I know, but I love them!
I really LOVE a Christmas tree and I can't wait to add number 10 to the house when Baby Deetz joins the family. I better start planning for it now......

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the 8th Day of Christmas…..

My true love gave to me….. 8 Christmas songs!

Two radio stations in town start playing Christmas music in mid-November. It makes Chad have a cow, but I like it. Since we had a very mild autumn this year, I confess it was a little weird listening to Frosty the Snowman and songs about roasting things on an open fire when it was 85 degrees outside. But I did it anyway.

Here are some of our favorite Christmas Songs:

#1- Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Bruce Springsteen version ONLY!)
#2- The Happy Elf (Harry Connick, Jr.)
#3- Baby It’s Cold Outside (Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone)
#4- I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas (The Drifters, though Bing is nice too…)
#5- A Marshmallow World (Brenda Lee)
#6- Little Saint Nick (Beach Boys)
#7- O Tannenbaum (Nat King Cole, the German version)
#8- Mele Kalikimaka (Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the 7th Day of Christmas......

My true love gave to me.... 7 Holiday movies!
In no particular order, our favorite 7 must see Holiday movies.
#1- Elf: A new classic. I quote this movie all the time, I just can't help it. "Smiling is my favorite" "You sit on a throne of lies" "SANTA! I know him!" Did you know Friday was "Answer the phone like Buddy the elf day"? "Buddy the elf here, what's your favorite color?"
#2- White Christmas: Chad and his mom sign every word to this entire movie. It's like movie and a show.
#3- Christmas Vacation. I said no particular order, but this is my absolute favorite Christmas movie. I still laugh hysterically every time I watch it. Chad's favorite part is with Uncle Eddie and the see through sweater with the Dickie. My favorite part is the sledding scene, or maybe the part with the squirrel. Classic. Absolutely classic.

#4- Christmas Story: Also a much quoted movie in our household. "You'll shoot your eye out" "Frage-ley, must be Italian" Hilarious.
#5- Merry Christmas Charlie Brown. Oh so cute. I really want a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. I love Linus, he's my favorite. It's also fun to re-enact the dancing scenes. It's just the same move over and over again. Chad is the guy doing the penguin dance. I do the weird MC Hammer or the mummy walk, depending on my mood.
#6- It's a Wonderful Life- Classic. (The angry alien version is also a blast. Cartoon Bunnies re-enact your favorite movies in 30 seconds. It's a Wonderful Life just happens to be my favorite Bunny re-enactment. "I wish I'd never been born!" "O.K.!"
#7- Rudolf- Just for the Island of Misfit Toys and the elf that wants to be a dentist.
*Honorable mention: The Grinch, the new Disney short "Prep and Landing", Shrek the Halls, Frosty, Christmas Carol (preferably the Mickey version), and the FIRST Santa Claus Movie.
Movies I miss: Alvin and the Chipmunk Christmas Special (old school), Garfield Christmas, and the California Raisins Christmas Special.
*Guilty pleasure- I actually liked Christmas with the Kranks. But I also liked the book "Skipping Christmas".
*Christmas confession: I have never seen "Miracle on 34th Street" or "Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus." Someday I promise I'll get around to it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On the 6th day of Christmas....

My true love gave to me..... 6 Nutcrackers Crackin'
My favorite is the big guy with the sausages. A home is not complete without a nutcracker or two.

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the 5th Day of Christmas....

My true love gave to me..... 5 million lights! (I know that this is not five million lights, but's a lot, ok?)

It all starts the day before Turkey day when Chad and Daddy venture out to Lowe's and find the next piece in our light collection. As you know this year, we added the cute flying pig. Then on Black Friday Chad and my Dad are in charge of the "Exterior Illuminations" while mom and I go shopping at o'dark thirty. I love coming home from the stores to see the house all lit up! I'm sure our neighbors REALLY love our nights too. Especially the ones that shine into their bedrooms. At least we don't have them set to music. (Yet....)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the 4th Day of Christmas....

My true love gave to me.... FOUR OF A KIND! Chad really needed a "boy tree" in his former "man cave". Note: the man cave is now our spare bedroom, since making room for Baby Deetz. But since the former man-cave was the game room/hang out room/ "I don't want to see cords and speakers draped all over my living room" room, the tree in that room has some really cute Poker ornaments and other Chad favs (musical instruments, Scooby-Doo)
P.S.- Word on the street is that Four of a kind is a hand in Poker, and since I didn't know what else to say for the 4th day, this is what you get! Sorry, I know it's stretch, but I wanted to show you Chad's tree.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas....

O.K. I know I'm running a little behind, I think the "12 days of Christmas" were a little overly ambitious. I didn't take into account working, shopping, wrapping, entertaining company, and other various wonderful things that happen this Holiday season.

Anyway- 3rd Day- True Love- right....right.....uhhhh.... On the Third day of Christmas my true love sent to me, Three Christmas Cantatas.

As you may or may not know I am married to a wonderful musician. He sings! He plays tuba! He rocks drums! He strums guitar! As a matter of fact, Chad decided in February, "I think I need to learn how to play guitar" so he picks it up and in a month he is playing at our Spring church retreat. Now he leads worship with it in our contemporary service every Sunday. As a non-musical person, that blows my mind. I don't play anything other than the radio. I can sing a little, I guess, but it's not that great and I would NEVER do it in front of anyone! Anyway, both times we've moved to a new church, question number #1 to Youth Pastor's wife is- "Do you play piano?" (Answer: Does chopsticks count?) Question #2: "Do you sing in the choir?" (Answer: No, and trust me, that should make you very, very happy.)
Well, our dear friend is the music minister at our church. Three years ago she asked me if Chad and I would narrate the Christmas Cantata. (She asked me 3 days before, but that is another story all together....) So we did. I was so nervous- It was like she asked me to sing a solo. Last year, she asked me again. I did it. (A lot of nerves going on again) Well for a THIRD year, I received the honors again.
If you read music (which I don't) I think it would be easier. Picture it. Music measures (might as well be Russian) with words printed above them. LOTS of words. It's like Mission Impossible. You MUST finish reading this paragraph in 12 measures or the singing starts and your book WILL self-destruct. So when the music starts I start reading, trying my best to not stumble all over myself, read the wrong part, loose my place, or say words like "genitals" instead of "Gentiles". All this with 300+ people starring at me. With music ticking down like a time bomb. No problem.
Don't get me wrong, I love having a front row seat to a 50 voice choir. It blows your socks off! i love contributing to the church in any way, the music is beautiful, the message of the Christmas Story set to music is amazing, I just get really, really nervous. I want the Cantata to be meaningful and perfect. I don't want to mess up what Dale and all these musicians have worked so hard to perfect.
So this Sunday, I stood and brought the Christmas story in words while my musically talented brothers and sisters brought the message in song. It was beautiful. After the musical, I got two comments that really stuck with me. One was that I had become the "Voice of Bethel" and they really look forward to hearing me speak every year. The other was "I think they pick you because you aren't too Southern! We can actually understand what you are reading!"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On the 2nd day of Christmas.....

My true love sent to me...... Two penguins guarding!
These cute lil' guys flank our garage door. Normally, I am anti-inflatables- but these guys are small, about 3 1/2 feet tall and very charming!
The night I took this picture it was really windy and starting to sleet, so his neck tie was flapping in the wind, but I think it gives him personality!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good News (but not THE news!)

So a while back (late summer to be exact) you may recall we applied for the Show Hope Grant. This is the grant from the Steven Curtis Chapman Foundation, formally Shoshanna's Hope. Well we really weren't expecting any money at all, we heard from a few other families that with the economy all foundations that provide grant's funds were lower than normal, not to get our hopes up. But we gave it a try and GUESS WHAT?
We got a letter in the mail today that said we were awarded $3,000!!! We will receive the funds at the time of the referral. Isn't that wonderful news?!!?! That will REALLY help take the pressure off of our travel expense crunch. I just can't believe they gave us money! I am so grateful and so appreciative of Show Hope, they are such an answer to prayer. And truly, they were the first nudge Chad got putting adoption in his heart (at a Hope benefit concert), so in a way we've come full circle.
I am just speechless (well...almost!) Thank you Show Hope! Someday we hope to repay a little of the blessing you've given us by helping this wonderful organization. According to our letter, one way that we know we can help is to send pictures and our testimony after we bring Baby Deetz home! I hope we can do that VERY soon! Yippeee! What a great early Christmas present!

On the 1st Day of Christmas

My true love sent to me.... A kitchen Christmas tree! I thought as these 12 days of Christmas whirl past us, I would highlight all of the beautiful decorations in our house at Christmas. Since I am just not motivated to send out cards this year, it's my way of helping you get into the Christmas spirit!
Since I spend A LOT of time in the kitchen at Christmas, I just had to have a kitchen tree to look at while I cook. It has some of my favorite ornaments on there- little cookies, candies, decorative serving utensils, and other darling things. Now all I need are some kitchen cleaning elves.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Early Christmas!

This weekend we traveled to Florida to have early Christmas with Chad's dad and step-mom and his brother and sister. We had a great time! One of our gifts to the kids was a gingerbread house with all the bells and whistles. Faith and David did a fabulous job with decorations; It looked great until it fell down 30 minutes after completion! I was going to try to do some repairs, but the kids weren't upset at all with the unfortunate demise of the house, so we just stacked it up for consumtion. Eating the candy seemed to make them happier than building the house!

Before! After!

Matthew 7:24-27
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Russian Recipe No. 2

"Moldavian White Bean Soup" a.k.a. Supa de Fasole

O.K. so I was kinda in a hurry last night, so I am going to give you my variation on this yummy recipe. I took a few shortcuts, but even with the hasty variations- this was super yummy!

2 cans of Great Northern Bean (the recipe calls for fresh beans, soaked overnight. Totally didn't think about that until last night, so 2 can o' beans it is!)

3 cups chicken stock and 4 cups of water (The recipe calls for 7 cups of water but I thought this would be better)

1 meaty ham bone (I didn't have a meaty ham bone, so I just got some nice chopped ham)

Bouquet Garni (4 sprigs thyme, 4 sprigs dill, 4 bay leaves, 8 black peppercorns, tied in a cheesecloth bag) Ok- I confess: I used dried!

1 rib celery and 1 carrot (the recipe calls for use to these whole and fish them out, but I chopped mine and didn't fish them out, it seemed wasteful to toss a nice carrot and celery stock!)

2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled in cut into 3/4 inch pieces (The first step I actually followed!)

2 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 leek (white part only, chopped)

1 pinch dried thyme

Salt and Pepper

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Sweet Hungarian Paprika (dashed on top for presentation) I don't know if my paprika was sweet or Hungarian, but it worked just fine!


O.k. now this part is a total deviation from the recipe. It was very labor intensive and I looked like Rachel Ray on crack trying to get this dish made before my 6:30 hair appointment, cookie making for Deetzsie's Treatsies, laundry, packing for our early Christmas (more on that later) wrapping gifts, and searching to find Chad a white dress shirt.

Step One: Drain the beans and rinse them off

Step Two: Dump the beans, stock, ham cubes, celery, carrot, herbs, and potatoes into a stock pot. Boil the heck out of it. (Say 20 minutes.) Take your potato masher thingy and smash up some of the beans. Mix a little cornstarch and broth and add to the soup if you want to make it thicker. (I'm sure if you do all this the right way that won't be a necessary step ;0)

Step Three: Saute onions, leaks, and garlic (the recipe didn't call for that, but a meal isn't a meal without garlic in my house!) Add to pot. Add salt, pepper, and thyme.

Step Four: Go put the laundry in the dryer and start a new load in the washer. Oh wait, wrong task.

Step Four 4 real: Add vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes. Add more to taste. (Since we weren't sure what this actually tastes like we just went for the 1 tbsp. and Chad added some more to his.

Step Five: Sprinkle with a dash of paprika, take a picture for the blog!

Hopefully, Amy (Reining cookoff champion) will post the actual recipe on her blog. I'm sure it was much better than mine since it was done correctly!

But this dish was really tasty~ Very easy (made the Druggie Rachel Ray way) and very hardy and filling, perfect for the cold, wet weather we've been having.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thursday is the last day!

You can buy this

But not this.

If you would like to order Pampered Chef for our fundraiser, Thursday is your last day to shop. I'll turn in all orders to Meagan Thursday night.

The link to shop in on the left hand column......

Please remember if you are local, just e-mail me your order because we'll lump all orders together to save on shipping! Happy cooking and shopping!