Christmas in pictures

I had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you did, too. I don’t feel like writing about it, so I thought I would share a few of the bazillion photos I took this week. We are in the middle of boxing up and moving, so that’s taking most of my energy. Before long, we’ll be staying in a temporary 1950’s “bungalow” until our new home is ready. Exciting and exhausting times (especially when you’re 11 weeks preggo!).

My dad came over today to clean the chimney at the temporary house and found it’s full of HONEY! The honey bees have clogged up the darn thing, so they’re going to have to take it apart and clean it out. Who would’ve thunk that would happen? Dad’s hoping he’ll get all kinds of good honey out to eat.

So, without further ado, here’s my photo gallery. Time for a nap!


quiet Christmas morning

I’m sitting here in my living room enjoying the calm before the storm. It’s a little after 6 am and I’ve been up for about an hour (thanks to my husband needing a bathroom break). I’m blaming it on my pregnancy hormones. Once I’m awake in the mornings, it’s hard to go back to sleep. When I’m not pregnant, I don’t seem to have that issue. Anyway, I’m glad I woke up early, because I had time to read a little bit of the upcoming Sunday school lesson for the week and say a good long Christmas prayer. I don’t have quiet time with God nearly enough, so it was a blessing waking up early.

This morning, I gave thanks for all the many blessings God has given me and my family. I’m amazed at all the gifts my son has received for Christmas and what we’re able to provide for him on the money we make. I prayed for my friends and family, that they would be blessed throughout the coming year. I prayed that this unborn, 10 week old baby in my belly would be healthy and all would go well. I asked prayer for those mentioned in church Sunday, for there were many. I requested to be made more whole each day so people will see Jesus through me and know Him better.

Our upcoming Sunday school lesson is “Sin is no longer your master; Christ is.” and the scripture is coming from Romans 6:8-18. There was one point that really spoke to me this morning and it came from Augustine, a 4th-5th century theologian. He pointed out that after salvation, humans are “able not to sin.” This is the exact text from the Sunday school book that I liked so much…”Do Christians still sin? Yes. But now, we have the ability to overcome sin and to grow in righteousness – the life we live to God! We do not have to give in. As we mature spiritually, we will sin less and less. And in the process, we will show the world our life-changing God.” Now, isn’t that promising? I got a kick out of the “key word” they focused on this week. It is “reckon”. Now, around here, we say “I reckon it’s time to go to bed” (or anything else we think we best do). Their definition is “an imperative that may also mean to be of opinion, to believe.” See, we hick people aren’t as uneducated as you make us out to be! šŸ˜‰

It won’t be long and my son will be waking up for the day. He’s not quite two and he actually may surprise us by sleeping in a bit later since he went to bed a bit late last night. We had a family dinner at 6 pm yesterday and didn’t get home until his bed time. I’ll just say he was over stimulated by all the gifts, people, and food (I guess there were 40 or more people there) and it was a tearful winding down. He just had so much to play with that he was overwhelmed, poor kid. But, I’m excited about him getting up this morning to Santa’s gift. I’m especially excited about this tent we got him! One thing that’s not in the picture is one of our dogs, Cujo. I totally forgot my husband let him in last night and it took me a few minutes to realize he was out cold on the couch.

It's kind of dark, but this is what my living room looks like this morning.

It’s kind of dark, but this is what my living room looks like this morning.

My stomach is growling…I put this great breakfast dish in the slow cooker last night since my mom and her husband are coming over for breakfast. Who wants to cook on Christmas morning? They are bringing his really good gravy and I’m popping canned biscuits into the oven when they arrive. I might have to have an appetizer since I’m up so early. šŸ™‚

I hope you have a very, merry Christmas full of family, love, and peace. Know that the best gift of all was given to us many, many years ago as a tiny baby boy. The baby that would give us all the hope of eternity in heaven. Blessings to you and yours.

delicious, whole wheat blueberry muffins

Someone gave me a whole big bowl of frozen local blueberries, so I just had to make some muffins with them. I had a bag of wheat flour in the fridge, so I looked up a recipe this morning on their website and man, those muffins were good! Easy to assemble and bake and they were a hit with all of us. šŸ™‚

I think mine actually turned out prettier! :)

I think mine actually turned out prettier! šŸ™‚

King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Hands-on time: 7 mins. to 12 mins.
Baking time: 18 mins. to 20 mins.
Total time: 25 mins. to 32 mins.
Yield: 12 muffins
Published: 03/05/2012
  • 2 1/4 cupsĀ King Arthur White Whole Wheat FlourĀ or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon groundĀ cinnamon, optional
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoonĀ vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or plain (not Greek) yogurt; or 1 1/4 cups liquid whey* (Mandy’s Note: I used Siggi’s drinkable yogurt I found at Target the other day – it’s so good!)
  • cinnamon-sugar orĀ coarse white sparkling sugarĀ for topping, optional (Mandy’s Note: I used raw sugar and cinnamon)

*The liquid drained from plain yogurt when you make thick, Greek-style yogurt.

1) Preheat the oven to 400Ā°F. Lightly grease the cups of a standard muffin pan; or line with paper baking cups, and grease the paper cups.

2) Whisk together all of the dry ingredients, including the blueberries.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, vegetable oil, and buttermilk or whey.

4) Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them nearly full. A slightly heaped muffin scoop of batter is the right amount.

6) Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with coarse sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

7) Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

8) Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes (or when they’re cool enough to handle) transfer them to a rack to cool. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Store leftovers loosely wrapped at room temperature.

Yield: 12 muffins.

I ran across this at Target and had to try it. So glad I did.

I ran across this at Target and had to try it. So glad I did.

’tis the season

Yep, I’ve been off the grid a few days. It was a busy weekend, full of good holiday fun. My son was in his first Christmas program at church, which was sweet. He was supposed to be a shepherd, but he refused to wear the costume, so he was a donkey instead. He wouldn’t get on stage until someone gave him a jingle bell to shake. I haven’t had a chance to see if I have any pictures (I was on stage singing), but if there’s a good one, I will share.

Yesterday, I went with my pal to Charlotte, NC and had my first IKEA experience! How fun and exhausting! I think we were there over three hours looking at EVERYTHING. I picked up some cool Christmas gifts, but nothing for the house yet. We still have a couple/few months before we get to move in and I don’t want to have to store things or move them. Moving the stuff we have will be bad enough. But, I did have a great time looking and got lots of neat ideas. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner (also another first time experience) and it was yummy. Our last stops were Pier 1, Target, and World Market. Then we dragged our tired butts home. I haven’t been out past 10:30 in forever!

This weekend, we’re going to see a group called the Red Head Express and I think that will be fun. I’m hoping I can talk my hubby into joining us and we can take our son. I think he (the son) would have a fun time listening to music and dancing his little toddler shuffle. šŸ™‚

I got the VERY LAST easel they had for sale for just $10!

I got the VERY LAST easel they had for sale for just $10!

I also got him this cool little tent. Won't it be neat to wake up to that Christmas morning?!

I also got him this cool little tent. Won’t it be neat to wake up to that Christmas morning?!


romans 5:19

“For just as through the disobedience of the one manĀ the many were made sinners,Ā so also through the obedienceĀ of the one man the many will be made righteous.” ~Romans 5:19 (NIV)

I read that scripture in a devotional the other night and it really spoke to me. It’s funny, because today it’s not as profound as it was, but it really moved me just a couple of days ago. All of us mess up in life, but one (Jesus) obeyed and saved us all. Now, how great is that?!

Last night, we went to church and practiced our little Christmas program that will take place this Sunday. It’s just a short program involving all the little kids (I think there’s about 8 of them) and a couple of us adults. It’s so precious to watch them pretend to be angels, Mary, Joseph, and shepherds. My son was supposed to be a shepherd, but he refused to wear his costume, so he’s going to be a donkey. We’re re-purposing his Halloween costume! I hope to have a picture or video to share with you guys after the weekend.

What kind of activities is your family into this holiday season? I hope they focus on the real reason for the season.


weekend away

I spent the weekend away in the city…Chesapeake, VA to be exact. I found out about a personal training seminar that would earn me some continuing education credits, so I thought I’d go to that and see some family at the same time. My mom, son, and great aunt took the trip with me. We had really good travels and talked a lot all the way there and back (about 6 hours each way). My almost 2 year old son even talked a lot! He said lots of new words like blue jeans, Virginia Beach, and more. It’s amazing how fast he’s picking up on things. His new favorite word is “Help!” It’s too cute.

I like visiting the city, but I can’t imagine living there. I live in a very rural area and love it. There just seems to be so much hustle and bustle in the city and all the kids have their technology gadgets. But, I guess that happens everywhere, not just in the city.

I learned a lot in my seminar, but still have a lot to practice. We learned how to analyze people’s postures and how to correct imbalances through stretching and exercise. The guy teaching was very knowledgeable and explained things really well.

What did I happen to run across while I was at the beach? A Trader Joe’s! I was so excited. We have to travel an hour to get to Trader Joe’s from my house, so I had to make a quick pass and pick up goodies and Christmas gifts.

My son and I contracted a pesky cold from my husband. Thankfully, we felt good until yesterday when we had to come home. It was so nice to sleep in my own bed again!

I had eaten so much take out food this weekend that I HAD to cook last night, even though I was tired. I found this recipe online for Orzo with Roasted Vegetables and modified it. My veggies were sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, onions, and garlic. I used her dressing recipe, but I got a little heavy with the pepper. It was yummy! I’m going to have leftovers for lunch.