Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blossom turns NINE!!

How do these things happen? How is it possible that the little baby that was in such a hurry to get here that she was born on the floor of the elevator lobby, just yesterday it seems, has turned NINE years old?!?! My, how time flies!

Somewhere along the way, the children have decided that it is beyond amazing to get breakfast brought to them in bed. SO, that is our tradition. If we are home, they have a breakfast in bed. It varies as to what is served. But, this year, I knew that she would love some sweet treats for her birthday… some things that we are otherwise avoiding and sacrificing this Lenten season as we prepare our hearts for Easter. So, a day for a little bit of celebrating...

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Her very favorite "KRAVE" cereal, white powdered  sugar donuts with orange salt water taffy snowman noses, fruit kabobs, orange juice, licorice tea and a paper doily and a sprig or two of baby's breath to make it look all pretty.

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They stay and wait in their bed for breakfast to arrive. SOME people truly are awoken by our birthday singing. OTHERS, like this little girl, have probably been up waiting for breakfast to arrive for over an hour! She is our early riser and Pops (the other early riser int eh house) had arrived home around 3 in the morning. So, after little baby woke me, I fed him, changed his diaper and ran out to put together the breakfast I had mostly created the night before! Just heat the water for the tea, pour the juice, the cereal and put the noses on the snowmen! She was ready for our arrival!

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And she was HUNGRY! Blossom loves fruit and grapes & strawberries most especially. So, those kabobs were right up her alley! Presentation means a lot to this kid, so I do really try to fancy things up for her! Bud would have liked fruit in a bowl just as well… but this girl - fancy fruit pattern on a skewer made her morning!! I added the snowmen donuts as a sneak peek at the rest of her birthday celebration, but I don't think that she caught on! Pops took the big 4 to a state tournament basketball game and they had a great time while I put together a special lunch!

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After they got home, she was ushered to the bathroom by her sister (to wash up) who made sure that she covered her eyes until everything was ready!!

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I added a 3-D Snowflake and Branch had helped me make white paper chain icicles the night before. And that was the beginning of the "FROZEN" theme! That little snowman is the birthday cake. His name was "Olven" and I wrote on the card that he was Olaf's long lost cousin!!
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When they came around the corner and saw all the treats… they were very excited! 

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This Snowman looks very sad. But, the olives for the mouth kept rolling off! The parmesan cheese was fresh fallen snow… and the noodles are just buttered spaghetti noodles - a favorite of Blossom's!!

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Pretzel sticks, marshmallows, raisins, & left over orange salt water taffy pieces!!

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… cheese puffs - a favorite amongst the treekids!

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I haven't made Jell-o for quite a while and they were quite excited that I did! I'm not sure it was the best that it was blue… there were quite a few blue mouths after this one!!

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I just couldn't call the olives "droppings," "dung," or "reindeer pebbles" so, I consulted ol' Roget and found "meadow muffins" and couldn't stop laughing, so I went with it.

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My treekids love these whole carrots as much as Sven the Reindeer did!!

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OH, did they EVER want to stuff these chocolates in their face!!

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Cheese & crackers are a great simple addition to a lunch … but, they were NOT a hit. I think I should have spent more time on taking the pictures and skipped making these! I was not quite ready when the family arrived home so, I had to hurry with taking pictures before they devoured it all!!

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While these are cute and lovely… I think they would be disgusting! My treekids love marshmallow, so… they were a hit! Glad they liked these easy treats!

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We had icebergs to keep our beverages cold...

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Our water was Melted Snowman!

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I bought berry flavored water and some liked it … others not so much!

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This Gatorade's flavor is "Frost"!!

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The birthday girl requested Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese  Frosting. Check!! Can do a snowman with Cream Cheese Frosting!! :) Not sure what I would have done if she wanted chocolate frosting!!

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I was so happy that she was thrilled with all the surprises on her birthday. We did her special meal at lunchtime since Pops had to catch a plane to Oregon where we had planned to be traveling to for her birthday. Unfortunately, several things "fell apart" and we ended up not getting to go at the last minute. I had 2 days to plan ANY kind of birthday party and get things ready and special for her. I was thinking about how lucky I was that we would be traveling for her birthday and I would be eating out with her and enjoying a treat from the DQ or something… But, I suspect that this birthday theme will be far more memorable than an 18 hour car ride!!

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Just cannot believe she is growing into such a little lady (well, that IS debatable. I just videoed her making ridiculous noises for laughs from Bud and Branch. Not so lady-like!)

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And the wishes were made and the presents were opened!! They were tore into quickly and she was treated to many lovely birthday packages all fun fun fun for a NINE year old girl!!
We love our Blossom and hope that she has many many many more years of happy birthdays!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mocha Pudding for Two

I mentioned a few posts back about a yummy recipe that everyone was ooohing and aaahing over and I promised many I would share it. So, without further ado… a recipe that was found and altered from HERE.
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup cold coffee concentrate or very strong coffee (I made somewhere between a double & triple strength coffee with instant decaf coffee)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6-8 tbsp dark chocolate chunks, reserving some for topping (optional)
1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt and sugar. Set aside. 
2. In a small measuring cup, mix together the cornstarch and enough of the cold coffee to dissolve the cornstarch.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine cream and the rest of the coffee over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. (Make sure to pay attention because this can easily boil over or even just curdle!)
4. When the cream and the coffee are simmering, slowly whisk in the sugar mixture. When it has come back to simmering, slowly add the coffee/cornstarch mixture. Cook until mixture thickens.
5. Strain the pudding over a fine strainer to ensure a smooth consistency. Stir chocolate chunks into the strained pudding, reserving some chocolate for topping. Note that the chocolate will melt quite a bit due to the heat of the pudding. If you want chocolate chunks add some more chocolate after the pudding has cooled quite a bit.
6. Pour pudding into a serving dish and cover the top with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap lays directly on top of the pudding. This prevents a film or "skin" from forming.
7. Refrigerate until the pudding sets. Top with dark/milk/white chocolate chunks. Serve and enjoy!
I doubled, tripled, quadrupled - I don't know how many times over to get a big bowl of this pudding made for a house-full of women at my "baby" brother-in-law's fiancĂ©'s bridal shower. I served it in those plastic champagne glasses with chocolate chips up the stem, a spoonful of pudding, and a sprinkling of white chocolate chips. I think it would have been super yummy with some crushed Heath bar, but I didn't have any and had forgotten it at the store. SO yummy! It was a hit and was great for the gluten-free needs of some of the members of the family. So… give it a try - this is just right for you and your honey (or just you if you are a glutton for punishment)!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Museum Fun!

Busy month, so far! The first weekend we celebrated the confirmation of both Bud and Branch (pictures later) and then I spent the week baking and preparing treats and cleaning house for my brother-in-law's fiancĂ©'s bridal shower. (It was a fun time!) Then, we planned to go on a road trip and it all fell apart when our rental vehicle was not longer available. So, I had two days to plan and execute a birthday celebration for Blossom! Fun doing birthdays… not under such pressure. Then my mom, dad and sister came out for a visit. They went home, I tidied up and got some laundry done before my good friend from college popped in with her three little kids. I took one day to break it all up and put my feet up before making good on a promised birthday gift of a membership to The Lincoln Children's Museum!!

We spent the morning at the museum. WOW! It has had a bit of a face lift since the last time we were there. Lots and lots of fun things to do for everyone. (Even mom… who called a mom friend in Lincoln to meet there to chitter chat with while her littles played, too!) I was not very fast on the snap for taking pictures with a babe in arms… and Branch and Blossom were BUSY going from one thing to the next wanting to do as much as possible before having to leave. It is funny as the treekids are getting older they have more freedoms and go around without needing me the same way as when we lived around here when the three oldest were nearly babies! 

I have this one, though. Bump still needs mama!! He would do an activity and come running back to find me sitting in the same chair waiting nearby. Then he realized that he had not painted his face like the big kids!! He sat down to give it a try. He had a fun time making whiskers and a nose. I added the black lines for ears...

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He got a little upset that I had put the ears on for him and I told him that they were NOT yet completed! They needed little pink bits under the ears! Smiles returned and he set out to finish his "by myself" job.

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Pink on cotton swab and ...

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apply it appropriately.

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Please notice the very wet sleeve… the entire front of his jeans, the front of his shirt and his sleeves were SOAKED. He played in the water area for nearly 40 minutes. He told me that another not very nice kid got him ALL wet. I asked if any of that water was just from him playing a bit. He said only a tiny bit and showed me a pinch with his fingers. Hmmmmmmmm… Likely story!! ;) They have ponchos to stay dry, but he was NOT interested in staying dry. He was interested in having fun and exploring. He rode home in his carseat with only his t-shirt and underpants and finds that to be incredibly hilarious!! No pants, socks or shoes in the car… Aaahhhaaa haa haa.
Checking out his handy work… he decided that it didn't look scary and therefore it had to go. He had seen Bud's paint job and wanted a scary face instead. So, we wiped it all off and he went running off to find the daughter of my friend.

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The KEVA blocks are in the temporary exhibit, currently, and it was pretty cool what was built in there to look at. Bud got right to work in creating a tower… and had fun in there building. Is anyone EVER too old for blocks? I think NOT!! :)

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Bud with his scary face paint and his tower.

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I went to find Bump & friend to get ready to leave. They were apparently ready to leave in a Mac truck (a museum exhibit). So much for minivans and suv's!

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I hope that he learns some better manners with the ladies in the next few years. I am sure they will not be impressed by these faces, blowing noises and the like in about 10 years!!!

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When we got home, I realized I didn't have pictures of Branch and Blossom AT ALL! Blossom ran and hid and washed all of her face paint off and claims to have been mad at me for a reason that she KNOWS that I KNOW. But, unfortunately… I haven't a clue what she was upset about. Her face paint was super cute and Branch had done much of it. It was cute with a snowflake on the forehead and swirls down the sides. Branch did her own little swirls and had fun. This little guy enjoyed watching all the activity around him and was awake for the full 2 hours!!

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RIght before we left, Bump begged Bud to do a scary face on him and they sat there for 5 minutes while I rounded up the girls. So, here is his dragon scary face!!

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I was cracking up at the look on this little guy's face! He hasn't had much time outside and the wind blowing up his nose still shocks him!!

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A little bit better view of Branch's pretty shirt design… she worked on that on the day that I just had to put my feet up and recoup from the busy-ness of the past few weeks! It was done as mess free as humanly possible! It involved Sharpie permanent markers, rubbing alcohol and 3 rubber bands, 3 plastic cups, a medicine dropper and a piece of cardboard. She is planning to make another one for her sister, so I'll take pictures and show how this is done when she makes that one!

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When we went inside from the deck, here, Bump sat on the floor and was treated to many many many kisses from our big puppy girl. One look and I said… to the shower with you!! I went to get a pair of undies for him and came back to my bathroom to find that he was hiding from me in the closet… under the shelves in amongst Pops' shoes!

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Silly boy has been FOUND!!

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He needed his hair washed, so shower it was… but, she was cleaning up that paint pretty well, eh!?

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Now everyone is back to normal and we have had a good day filled with art and math and spelling and reading and email and crafts and MY GOODNESS… I'll have to take another whole week off soon!! ;) I hope to be back to post confirmation pictures and birthday pictures soon. (Not one picture did I get of the bridal shower! We were running late and the guests were upon us 10 minutes early… so, no pictures. AND it was sooo lovely and the treats were quite tasty!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cracking up...

Just a minute to pop on here to share a baby video… Enjoy!!

Now, back to your regular scheduled programing!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Daybook Entry 3.10.14

Outside my window…
There is light just barely glowing on the horizon. OH, how I dislike Daylight Savings Time. Wishing we could just let it be and keep time standard like they do in Arizona!!

I am thinking…
I enjoy hosting parties at my home and hope that all the people who were here for my soon to be sister-in-law's shower enjoyed their time here, had fun visiting, and enjoyed a few delicious treats with their coffee. I plan to post a recipe here later this week that was requested over and over!

I am thankful…
For a most wonderful husband who is a great daddy to his children! While I hosted the bridal shower yesterday, our littlest treekid was OVERWHELMED, to say the least, with all the noise and commotion that is involved with 25 people all in the living/dining room! Li'l guy was completely unconsolable in the house while I was tending to hostessing duties. Pops took him outside and sat in the  truck and calmed him down and let him nap in his arms after he cried himself to sleep. Such a sweet sight that baby finally sleeping in his papa's arms. {{sigh}}

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a tear rolling out of his left eye… :(

I am laughing…
I hopped back on the blogging train with 7 posts in 7 days and then disappeared for a week! Sheesh - regularity would be good. Perhaps I need to find a blogging rhythm that works for me! A new post every day doesn't always work. This past week I was very busy preparing for the bridal shower and Pops' was out west galavanting from Boise, ID to Jackson, WY before arriving home 30 minutes before people arrived for the shower! (Thanks be to God that he did and was able to calm and soothe that babe!)

Learning all the time…
Math math math. Double, triple, quadruple a recipe!! I had kids asking what I was scratching and scribbling and showed them all kinds of fraction work. They are seeing how one can use math skills and "when am I ever going to use THIS?" kind of flies out the window seeing me actually figuring!!

Celebrating our faith…
This year during Lent, as we prepare our hearts for Easter, our family is giving up our sugar addiction and avoiding sweets. It is quite challenging for the tree kids as they are very used to enjoying delicious sweets and deserts fairly regularly. Additionally, I have put Facebook scrolling on "limited" to a few minutes on Sundays and checking the pages that are informational and a way for us to stay in the loop of groups and clubs that we are physical members of, not just virtual! Boy, is this a hard one for me! I love to see what people are sharing and doing. People having babies - hope that all goes well! People asking for prayers - I won't be able to know specific prayer requests, all those FB friends are getting blanketed prayers these next few weeks! I set up an app long ago to feed this blog into my FB account. So, these will still post. I wonder what happens when I enter a give-away on another person's page and it has a "like" button or "share" button that I click as an entry into the contest… Hmmmmm...

From the kitchen…
I have seen this past week that there have been many more requests for fruit than over the rest of the winter. A hankering for sweet can be cured with an orange or a banana!

I am working on…
remembering to keep my camera handy. I have gotten out of the habit of taking pictures of everything. I didn't get ANY pictures of the bridal shower… but, I enjoyed myself and I think that it turned out beautifully. Wish I had taken pictures, though...

I am creating…
a ribbon bouquet with the package ribbons for my new sister-in-law to be to use at her wedding rehearsal.

I am going…
to eat eggs and bacon in a few minutes. It might be a quiet breakfast as the treekids are all sleeping in late this morning after getting to bed late last night!!

I am hoping…
that no one falls into the lake. People are still out ice fishing on the nearby lake. There is much open water. It was 70 degrees yesterday - but people still are drilling holes and putting a line in the water hoping to catch a fish! CRAZY, I tell you! I hope these crazy people do not fall in!!

I am reading… 
Lent Reflections with Father Barron this year. They are short little thoughts/devotions that show up in my email inbox. Things to ponder, ways to grow closer to Jesus, ways to challenge myself to grow in holiness… all packed into a short little snippet each day through Lent.

I am listening…
The sounds of the ocean are rolling in on the baby monitor. Our "white noise" machine has been in use a lot more lately. Coach Tim Miles talking with his team. Pops is watching  video and loves sharing what this coach says and does with me.

Around the house…
I have a little bit of clean up to tend to, today. Just straightening things up and getting things back to living life order! I am excited about the little touches I added in our "main" bathroom this past week. I finally decided on what I wanted in there after living here over a year, now! I added a couple vinyl cut-outs to the wall and Bump is telling the world we have new tattoos on the wall in the bathroom! Perfect! I will look in there and think of my Aunt Grace, though, every time I see the owls decorating the little room! (And I am appreciative of the help that my mother-in-law added in there with a couple rugs, some towels and a decorative owl! What fun she brought along with her this week! The treekids all liked the foam airplanes she brought them mush better than the rugs!)

One of my favorite things…
A quiet morning wake up. Kids still sleeping, me alone pondering the day. (Why don't I get up earlier than everyone else EVERY day!?!)

A few plans for the week…
Bud has his first book club meeting today. We are seriously contemplating a long family journey out west with Pops again for his work.

Pondering these words…

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sunshine Award

I was recently blessed by Amy over at Knit Together with the Sunshine Award!  This very sweet, and I have been trying to figure out how to get it done!  So here it goes... 

Here are the "rules" for acceptance of this award:
  • Use the award logo in the post.
  • Link to whoever nominated you.
  • Write 10 pieces of information about yourself.
  • Nominate fellow bloggers who nominate 10 fellow bloggers who "positively and creatively inspire others in the blogospere."
  • Leave a comment on the nominees' blogs to tell them of the award.
So without further ado, 10 things about me you didn't know you wanted to know:

1. I am a perfectionist. But, unfortunately it works against me ALL. THE. TIME. When you have perfectionistic tendencies you can get stuck unable to move forward because it isn't PERFECT. That happens to me often with this blog. I get behind and then I can't get myself to get going again because how do I fill in the missing time? {{sigh}} If only I had more arms, more hours in the day, more brain cells to figure it all out!!

2. I grew up with really blonde hair. I loved my hair. My hair has gotten darker as I've gotten older. For a while I colored it myself. But, it would get pretty brassy looking. So, I when and got a color fix and loved it. Then it grew and got cut and grew and got cut and one day I looked in the mirror at myself and when I say I looked… I mean I stared at myself one day. We were in Oklahoma in our little RV home. I was in our little bathroom looking at myself in that little mirror over the sink. And I had the realization that I didn't even RECOGNIZE myself! My hair was quite dark!! I had to do a double and then triple take. I ended up with a highlight job about a year and a couple months ago. I loved it. I had it done a couple times, but it is starting to need a fix again. Ok, that is exaggeration. It needs a new highlight BADLY. But, how to make the time to get that done with a teeny nursing babe? I could have someone out to my house at 8pm and the baby would be sleeping. Otherwise? It might have to wait - and I hate to say… there is gray now.

3. I think I would rather have all gray hair than this "I don't know what to call the color" of my hair currently. Then I would tell myself that it was "Ash Blonde"!!! :)

4. I LOVE frozen peaches. I just ate some with my hubs and I LOVE them. They are better than a bowl of ice cream. Of course, these are no standard frozen peaches. They are made by my mom and I don't know what she does to them, but they are goooooooooooooood. The ones from the store are not. This may have been my last bowl of frozen peaches, though. My mom learned how to can peaches this past summer and she says she prefers them canned and doesn't plan to freeze any more. I know - cry a river… But, I will miss her peaches. I think it is how she cuts them. Then I eat them when they are still a little bit slushy!! YUM!

5. I don't really like to talk on the phone. BUT, when I do get on the phone, I have a hard time getting off the phone. But, the thought of talking on the phone sends shivers up my spine and I cringe. I don't think I always felt that way. I used to talk on the phone for hours. But, I was a teenager then. I am of the text/email persuasion. Send me a text. Send me an email. I'll get back to you. Leave me a voicemail and you probably won't hear back. Unless I email you.

6. I wish that my cellphone number was a secret. I don't like feeling like I can be reached anywhere and at anytime. I want to have a cell phone to get a hold of someone to come help if I have car trouble or am lost or the like. But, I would rather not have a number that anyone knows! Of course, that means that #5 isn't entirely accurate. Email me.

7. I feel like I am sounding anti-social. I don't think that I am anti-social. I just don't like to have answers to questions immediately. I want to read the question and ponder it and mull about it and then respond. I don't really like chitter chatter. Well, I like to chit chat with my mom. But, we like to beat a dead horse on the same topics, usually. No surprises. Comfortable.

8. For one of my college jobs, I worked as a bartender at a dance hall. I loved it. It was fun to listen to people talk about … every.thing. I enjoyed learning about a variety of mixed drinks. I laughed at one point because the nights of the week brought different crowds. One night of the week was country & western, one night was big band or polka, one night was rock and one night was often a wedding reception. I knew what kinds of drinks would be ordered based on the "theme" of the evening. I still can't get over how many gin & tonics old men drink!! YUCK. Cowboys with a drawl drink Coors and that is pronounced "Kirrrrrrrrrrrs". 

9. I do not like movies that are scary, action, tense, suspenseful. I do not particularly like animated movies. I don't like all chick flicks. I don't like all comedies. I am a picky movie watcher. I don't watch television. I do not like the news because it is too scary to see what is happening in our world. I read the weekly newspaper, listen to the radio, and rely on my husband to tell me if there is any "big" news.

10. I love listening to talks about faith. I love amazing conversion stories. A couple years ago I drove from Illinois to Jackson, WY alone. I left our children with my parents and drove all that way and met Pops there (he flew in from Las Vegas for work, I think). The whole way I listened to inspiring faith filled talks and was ready to listen the whole way back. Pops was done listening after 3 CDs! He was ready for simple music. Hmmmm. I should have put him on a plane and drove by myself again! It might have had something to do with not being able to sit and listen uninterrupted during the regular days of my life! Something about being needed by one of those precious tree kids!?!

11. And just for good measure, I'll share that I prefer to write VERY conversationally and I really dislike editing. If I edit, I tend to not put anything up here because it all sounds like silliness to me!

OK - so, I think that most of the blog writers that I read have received this award. I would love to give it to you if you haven't received it! Or perhaps their blog is more focused than this little journal of mine. BUT, if you have a blog and want to play… let me know and I will link to you here!!

1. YOU!
2. You!
3. …