~Attended the GEMS Christmas Banquet at Uforia Buffet
~Went to the Victorian Christmas in Thomasville, GA
~Got to watch "Courageous" for free
~finished up Christmas shopping
~got the house mostly cleaned
~enjoyed a few warm days
On the way to Thomasville on Friday night, the moon was coming up over this "mountain" of clouds, but the clouds were moving in faster and soon the moon was covered!
A really cool thing happened that night (a God moment!!)
We were going to meet my sister Chris and her family and spend the evening together roaming the streets. We decided to wait till we got there and call them to see where they were.
You got to understand that when you get to Thomasville you just have to park wherever you can find a spot anywhere around the main event (a fairly large area) It seemed fuller than usual, but we found a spot and just as we were getting out of the van, here Dwayne's pulled into the SAME parking area!! So not only was it a miracle we parked at the same area, but also that we got there at the same time!! :) :) AWESOME!
Tamara enjoying one of T.H.'s chicken pitas served by the Meigs area churches.
The youth from that area also had a fresh made french fry stand to raise money for a future missions trip. My niece's Nicole and Carmen and nephew Tyler were helping here.
Tamara and Heidi with a "snow queen".
Saturday afternoon we went to Marianna. Some local churches bought out the local theater and were offering the movie "Courageous" free of charge to the public. It is well worth watching!!! Our families favorite part was when they caught a gang member and had to put him in the back of the cop car with Javier who was pretending to be another gang member!!! :) That was hilarious!
It was a good reminder to enjoy our children....every moment of every day!!
After the movie we ate at Pizza Hut. The kids had Book-It coupons to use :)
Today we had fellowship meal, communion and then went to sing at the local nursing home. We sang Christmas songs and the residents loved it. There is one couple I love to watch....I don't think they are married....I think they just "like" each other! :) And he has a good bass voice! :)
I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and evening. The house feels cold, so I pulled out a pair of socks that have been sitting in my drawer feeling neglected! :)
They are super comfy!!
This week we are going to try to get in a little extra school work. Dan also finishes up a semester on Friday, then we all get a BREAK!! :) :) :) Yay, can't wait!
We had a few cold nights last week and one night Dan left the soaker hose on around some of our trees and bushes and the next morning the grass was covered in ice! :)
Last Wed. afternoon, Trulan & Darlene M. and family and Cleason M. arrived at our house for the weekend.
They (Good News) came to sing in the prisons during the North FL Prison Crusade.
Mark & Cheryl were staying at a motel, so we didn't see as much of them.
My job was to babysit Trulan's 5 children while they went into the prison's each day and make food for everyone! :) It was different having 7 children instead of 2, but we had lots of fun and the children made good memories!
The days were nice and warm, so the children played outside quite a bit~
And this little guy.....what a cutie!! :) He stole my heart. He smiles and laughs so easily!
Laurie liked to be near me....she would talk to her brother a lot and always made him smile. <3
I heard "I'm thiwsty" from her a lot! She drank lots of water!! :)
Mitchell loved when I'd throw the diaper over his head and then pull it off and say Peekaboo! :)
Friday night after their program in the prison, all of Good News and Mr. Don Stoll ate supper here. I made homemade pizza, a birthday request from Danny.
Saturday was actually his birthday, so after a late brunch of Baked Oatmeal with Apples, he got to open his gifts. Cannot believe he is 13 already! I am really enjoying this stage of his life and seeing him grow in his walk with God!! :) He received so many blessings from important men in his life this weekend and it meant a lot to him! I think this is a birthday he will never forget!!
We gave him a K'nex Rollercoaster and a Tenth Ave. North CD as well as some money towards getting a gun. He wants to go deer hunting....probably next year, but we'll get the gun awhile and have him practice till then! :)
The girls spent a LOT of time in Tamara's room and it was such a mess, but they faithfully cleaned it up every night!
Danny got the whole roller coaster together by bedtime Saturday night!! :)
Callie was a very good helper! She would hold Mitchell and entertain him when he was fussy and I had work to do. She is going to be a strong girl!! :) He's a chunk even for me to hold!
Dan was thrilled to be able to sing with Good News Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning! It blessed him SO much! The encouragement he received this weekend came at the perfect time!! I know it was from God!
Saturday night we all went to the Christmas parade in Blountstown.
The Christmas bus~
From there, we went to the Pioneer Settlement to help carole with our church on the porch of the Yon House.
Darlene and some of her children....looks like Laurie fell asleep! :)
Uh-Oh....what'd he do now? ;)
Emily, Callie, Tamara and Danny
Everyone left Sunday morning after their early service in the prison.
We really enjoy visits from friends from "home"!!
Now in just 19 days, my brother Darrin and his family are coming for a few days! :) They'll be here over Christmas Day!! :) :) :) This will be the first time they come visit us in FL, so I am super excited to show them around this area! Hopefully it'll be warm enough to take a pleasant trip to the beach :)
Today was catch up day....on sleep and wash! :) And we started week 4 of C25K! Whew!! :P I can do this....I think I can, I think I can!
This weekend we have some fun things coming up....hopefully I'll get pics for another update then! :)
It is different being so far from family during the Holidays, but after 6 years, you'd think I would get used to it.
This year we were blessed to be invited 2 different places for Thanksgiving dinner, but we had accepted the first offer, so we had to decline the second.
We went to the Pickron's home and shared lunch and a lazy afternoon....then Kay and I ventured out to Walmart at 10 PM for a bit of Black Friday shopping. My cart was FULL, but I ended up only buying a few things. I had picked up a gridle that I thought was $9 but it turned out to be $18, still a good deal, but not good enough! :) I also put back a 1600 piece box of Legos. Although the extra pieces would have been fun, I think we do have enough floating around! I was disappointed to miss a good deal on a 600ct. sheet set. But that's all part of the adventure, I guess!
Kids excited to spend the day with friends~
I made Kay carve our turkey! I took lessons! ;)
Dan's boss gifted us a turkey and we had our friend, Danny, owner of Pork Barrel BBQ, smoke it for us. It was DELICIOUS!!
Green Bean casserole
Sweet Potato Souffle
Homemade bread and jelly (by Kay)
My plate along with a glass of sweet tea! :)
Dan couldn't keep his eyes open all afternoon and the cat (Spigot) joined him for a snooze.
Right before I took this picture, Dan was sleeping and the cat jumped from the back of the sofa onto his chest. It startled him a bit, but he went back to sawing logs~
The kids had fun riding 4-wheeler, playing Wii & Xbox, card games and in the evening they made a fire and played outside.
Us adults watched part of a video series by Ray Vanderlaan and surfed the internet, napped, ate food and chatted. :)
Today I am dragging a bit from the late night, but I am determined to get SOMETHING done. Next week Good News, the group Dan sang with in PA is coming for the Prison Crusade and some of them will be sleeping next door and spending the days here. So I need to get my house in order and start thinking about food! :)
Today is a special day for Dan and I. 16 years ago he asked me the biggest and most life changing question of our lives....Will You Marry Me?? :) Of course I said yes! I had no idea at the time how God was going to bless us. I think of how young and immature we were and how much we DIDN'T know and I just thank Him for being by our sides on this journey! Looking forward to another 16 years!! :)
Today was pie baking day. I was going to make the crusts yesterday till I realized I didn't have Butter Crisco. I called Mom to see if it mattered if I used regular and she didn't know, so since these are for something special, I decided not to risk it! :)
So after church last night we stopped and picked some up.
My Mom gave me her recipe and taught me how to make pie crusts when we were in PA in August. The first time I tried them by myself at home, they turned out really nice, so I was a little worried that it was beginners luck! :P
Blend 2 c. butter Crisco with 6 c. of Pie and Pastry flour (I bought this bulk in PA).
Blend till the Crisco is pea sized.
Then add 1 1/4- 1 1/2 c. water. (I used about 1 1/4 c.)
And this small ball .......
........made 6 pie crusts! :) AND they all turned out fine! :)
I made 3 wet bottom shoofly pies for the GEMS auction on Saturday.
And one pumpkin pie for fellowship meal on Sunday.
And I still have 2 crusts in the freezer for later!
I also made Banana Bars that will be cut up and sold individually.
We leave first thing tomorrow morning to help unload the truckload of furniture that is coming from OH and IN and get everything set up and ready. :) Then Saturday is the sale! Pray with us that sufficient funds are raised to keep supporting the chaplains that are volunteering in the prisons! This is an important fundraiser for GEMS!!
When we moved here, we had one ceiling fan...in the living room. Over the last year or so, we added 3 more. I just love having a way of circulating air especially when the house gets hot in the summer time. We put one in the kitchen over the table, one in our bedroom and one in Tamara's bedroom. Someday we would like to put one in Danny's room, too, but it will have to be one of the smallest fans available because of where his light fixture is. We found the others on clearance at Lowes and Walmart, so maybe one day we can find one more. :)
I cannot believe how dusty fans get. I don't know if it was in part due to our old AC unit we had. About 2 months ago we got a new unit installed, and I haven't cleaned the fans since, so I'm wondering if we will see a difference. I guess time will tell.
The kitchen fan....
Our bedroom fan...
I didn't get Tamara's fan cleaned yet. We were "kidsitting" yesterday and they were playing in her room. I didn't want to shower them with dust!! :)
I am again taking a break with my 31 days till next Monday and I will pick up where I left off.
The reason....I unexpectedly was able to get tomato's yesterday, so today I am canning salsa and I also have to bake pies and some other things for the GEMS Benefit Auction on Saturday. We are leaving early Friday morning to set up for the auction and will be spending the night in Tallahassee, so everything has to be done by tomorrow night!
Ok, so maybe it's all the rage, but after hearing the success story of a close friend, Dan and I decided to try this program, C25K. We asked the kids if they'd like to join us. They both agreed, though Tamara was a bit skeptical...she does not like exercise, but she does love joining the rest of us in whatever we are doing, so she couldn't say no! :)
So, last Monday was the first day of our first week! OUCH!! Talk about hurting muscles. The first week you walk briskly for 5 minutes, then jog for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds, jog for 60, walk for 90, and so on, till you have walked for 25 minutes. We usually end up walking more like 30 minutes all together.
Each day we went a little farther meaning we picked up the pace a bit. The kids did GREAT with jogging....they and Dan could stay well ahead of me, but they would so kindly jog back to me to make me feel like I was keeping up! :)
Tonight was our first night of the 2nd week....walk briskly for 5 minutes, then jog for 90 seconds and walk for 2 minutes and so on, for 25 minutes again. It's amazing how the first week prepares you for the second. The first week I thought there would be no way I could jog for 30 seconds more each time, but it was do-able!!
It takes us the "5 minute brisk walk" to get from our driveway to the end of our dirt road.
Then we jog across the highway to the paved part of Parrish Lake Rd. That is where we finish the rest of the program, then walk back in our road. Tonight we were still jogging when we got to the dirt stretch, so we made better time! :)
Dan and the kids getting ahead of me! :) But I can handle it! I'm doing what I can! :)
And here they come!! :)
This stretch of the road is very deserted. Tonight we saw about 10 deer, a wild cat of some type...we were too far to tell....probably a coyote or bobcat!??
Then we saw an armadillo crossing the road, so Danny ran up to it and kicked it. If you are familiar with armadillo's, you know that jumping is their defense mechanism (not sure why??) Well, when he kicked it, it jumped up in the air and right into the woods....it looked HILARIOUS!! Wish so bad I had the camera ready!! :) (You might think that sounds mean, but they have hard protective shells! I don't think it hurt it!!)
Oh, and we also saw some cows out on the road!! :O Oops!!
This is going to get intense, but I am determined to stick it out!! The first week I didn't notice any weightloss, but after I ate supper and took a shower, I weighed myself....and I was down almost 2 lbs.....and that was AFTER eating supper. I am not going to allow myself to weigh again till Friday morning! :) Hope to be pleasantly surprised!! :)
Today's challenge was to clean my microwave, stove and refrigerator. It hadn't been real long since I did this so they weren't in too bad of shape....well, the microwave needed help!!
And the stove top needed some cleaning and scraping...
I never did get to the fridge. I must add that to my list tomorrow!
Tomorrow morning the kids and I are going to the second week of the Reptile Education Co-op class. We are taking a friend's two daughters along while she goes to run some errands and then they will come here for lunch and the afternoon.
My challenge for tomorrow is to clean all 4 ceiling fans in the house....and they need it!! :O
I'm loving all this work that is getting done, but for some reason I am lacking the motivation like the first few weeks! :P But I shall keep plugging away!! :)
Dan has been a prison chaplain here in Florida for the past 11 years.
We would appreciate your prayers as we serve in this ministry!
If God lays it on your heart to help support our family financially, you can donate by Paypal below or message us for our address! God knows our needs!
Praying God will bless you for partnering with us!!