Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Countdown to a New Year

Two and a half days left of 2010.  What amazing year this has been.  Who would have thought that we would be living in Leavenworth, WA. this time last year?!  So many wonderful, amazing, still-can't-believe events that have occurred in 2010.

Today has been pretty full.  It began with me checking in on Bonnie who has been sick since Monday.  She started complaining about a sore throat Monday evening and gave us quite a scare when she showed us that her tongue had turned white.  Yuck!  Tuesday was spent talking to a nurse to figure out what was going on with my daughter and we both concluded that she had a viral infection and just needed time to heal.  So far that diagnoses has been right.  Bonnie's tongue is returning to normal and her throat is not as inflamed but she is still pretty congested and weak.  She has been quarantined in her room since we have been babysitting our neighbor girl and don't want her to get sick.  After checking in on Bonnie, Autumn  came over while her mom went to work, and I began preparing different dishes for the Harpers who are coming over for our New Year's celebration. 

Mike and Sue are friends of ours from Michigan.  Todd met both Mike and Sue at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  A week after Todd and I got married so did they.  When we lived in Michigan they would always come over to our house for New Year's Eve until we moved to North Carolina.  About six months after we left Michigan they left as well and moved to Seattle, Washington.  Now that we are all in the same state again we are excited to continue our New Year's celebrations with them and their children. 

I am looking forward to their visit, good food, fun times in the snow, and great fellowship.  I have missed our end of year get together and can't wait for their arrival tomorrow.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Christmas morning!

6 AM
The boys eagerly stood by the bed wating for the alarm to go off so that they could start the celebration.

Off to wake their sister while I nudged Todd and soon they were all gathered around the tree.

Todd got the coffee perking, grabbed his Bible, and we all listened as he read the Christmas story found in Luke 2.

Then time to open presents.

Everyone was excited with their new gifts.  \

My favorite gift was one that Bryce "bought" at Awana.  The kids at our Awana earn bucks for scripture memorization and participation in the club.  With their "bucks" the can purchase items from our Awana store.  The store keeper has been encouraging the children to use their bucks to buy items for their family members for Christmas.  She even gift wrapped the presents.  Pretty awesome!

Bryce used his bucks to have a custome made napkin holder made for me.

They traced his hand and then the store keeper's (Nettie) son used that pattern to make this one-of-a-kind napkin holder.  Neat, huh!

Christmas afternoon was spent at my in-laws down the road. 

More Christmas presents, great food, and fun company.

It was a wonderful Christmas day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve and all is quiet.
The boys are outside in the rain removing the snow that has built up in front of the driveway.  Our entrance and exit is getting smaller everytime they shovel so they are widening the opening.
Bonnie is getting ready for the Candelight service tonight.
Todd is at church putting the final touches on tonight's service and getting ready for Sunday morning. 
Christmas specials are playing on the tv and the anticipation is building for tomorrow morning.

I always find that the few hours before the Christmas Eve service are the longest. You've munched all you can on the Christmas goodies, you are all dressed up and ready for church but way too early so now you don't want to do anything that will get you all yucky.  The kids won't admit it but they are already ready for bed.  The strain of waiting for night time is weary them out and the fact that they have been staying up too late and playing hard all week has finally caught up with them.

So we sit and wait for the big morning.  It has been a long time since we have had Christmas morning in our own house with just us.  I am excited for tomorrow, but miss my family.  Even they are having a different Christmas with everyone congregating in Alabama at my brother's house.  Regardless of where we are the reason for this season does not change.  My prayer is that you have a Merry Christmas and remember that Christ came as a baby so that He could one day be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and provide a way for us to come God. 

"For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Goodies

Whew!  I am finally getting caught up with the activities from the last week and a half.  If you are just tuning in you might want to scroll down and take a peak of a few of the highlights from the past week.  Between birthday parties, snow falls, Christmas programs, and fun activities we seem to have been really busy.  By the end of the day I just didn't have it in me to sit down and blog.  But the time has come to load up the pictures and give you a few highlights. 

Today, I invited the youth group to come over to the house to make Christmas goodies with me.  I love baking and creating in the kitchen but I don't need to have a counter full of sugary goodies tempting me and getting in the way of my weight loss journey.  So I decided to invite the youth to come over, help make all the goodies, and then let them take the goodies home with them.  Five teens decided to come over and join in the fun and we did have some fun.

We made chocolate covered reindeer, snowmen, peanut butter balls, peanut butter blossoms, and lady fingers. The kids also played some foosball, pictionary, and just had fun being silly.

Our first goodie was the reindeer cookies.  These are nutter butter cookies covered in chocolate bark with pretzels for antlers, a red hot nose, and sugar eyes.  Most of these  look they way they are supposed to but leave it to teenagers to press the boundaries and you get this....

  or this....
I think you can call this one Road Kill!

Even the peanut butter balls took on unique shapes.  Ariah made a snowman out of her, Jordan made a heart, and Bonnie created a pyramid.  Oh well.  They taste the same no matter what shape they take.

Then there were the snowmen.  These were also made out of nutter butters but this time covered in white chocolate with chocolate chips for buttons and buttercream frosting for scarfs, hats, and whatever the kids cold dream up.

Susan joined in on the fun.  She kept the kitchen in order and helped to keep things running smoothly.

Everyone went home with a plate for a variety of goodies and I got to spend a fun day with some really cool kids.

Tubing on Ski Hill

Yesterday, three Grace churches met up in Leavenworth to spend a fun day in the snow.  Our family and a couple of kids from our youth group joined in the fun and spent the day with several other middle schoolers.  The highlight of our time together was going up to Ski Hill to go tubing.  You couldn't ask for a better day to go tubing.  We had gotten a few inches of new snow the night before and it continued to snow all day long.  I figured we got about four inches yesterday.  Fresh snow with hard snow pack underneath made for a fast run down the hill.

I have never done tubing like this before.  After waiting in line, you finally got your tube which was hooked up to a pulley system.  The pulleys pulled you and your tube to the top of the hill where a worker unhooked you and you went soaring down the hill.  Let me tell you, you went down fast.  It kind of freaked me out at first but after the first run it was a real blast.  The kids had so much fun.  An extra treat was that our friend Drew was there with his church.  We are hoping that Drew and his family will get to come back to Leavenworth next week to spend New Year's Eve with us.

Christmas Program

For the past several weeks, I have been working with the kids in our church every Sunday to put on a Christmas program.  We are a small church and don't have a lot of kids but we had enough to do something special for Christmas.  What we decided to do is a living nativity.  Susan, my mother-in-law, read through Luke 2 and the kids, who dressed up as Mary and Joseph, shepherds, angels, and wise men, recited the passages of scripture that referred to their character and then placed themselves in the stable around the manger.

I was really excited to be able to use the skills I learned this summer from making our VBS props to create a stable for our stage.

Joseph and Mary

 Our three wise men and our star.  Poor Shawn, he was a real trooper.  He carried the star to the stable and lifted it high up about the wall.  I was able to plug it in so that it was all lit up with 150 Christmas lights but the poor guy had to hold it up while we sang some Christmas songs.  That star got quite heavy, but he silently held it high til the end. 
 The Shepherds were quite a crew.  They ranged in age from five to nine and were full of energy. 

The angels

We  had a really good turnout for the program and Todd was able to follow it up with a gospel presentation.  Our continued prayer for our church and our community is that they be impacted with the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

Now that the program is over, I can relax a bit.  All I have left to do now is tear it all down and pack it away for another year.

Where to Begin

Busy, busy, busy.  Finally a break to sit down and let you know all that has been happening with the James clan.  The question now is where to begin.  I think I will start with about nine days ago - Christian's birthday party.
Christian is a young boy from church who invited us to attend his ninth birthday party which was being held at Icicle Junction in Leavenworth.  Icicle Junction is our mini version of Chuckie Cheese.  Cheryl, Christian's mom, had several games planned for the kids to play in the party room, lunch to eat, and then everyone got tokens to play all the arcade games they could and rack up as many tickets as possible so that they could "buy" toys at the ticket counter.

At the junction is also Leavenworth's own theatre.  I figured that while we were there it would be fun to see the latest Narnia movie so I purchased tickets and the kids and I with Todd saw the movie.  While all of this was going on snow was dumping outside.  In fact, in that four hours that we were at the junction about a foot of snow fell outside. 

When we got home Todd got busy shoveling our driveway and three other neighbor's driveways.  Five hours later he was still working and the snow was still falling although now it was turning into rain.  For the next thirty six hours after dumping over 14 inches of snow it rained.  The light fluffy snow turned to thick, heavy, wet snow.  It was a mess but beautiful.

The kids are having a blast with all of the snow.  Their snow forts are getting bigger and bigger every day.  With all of this new snow the boys built a second fort on the other side of the house.  Then last week bulldozers came through town to remove all of the snow build up  that was lining all of the streets and blocking all of the street parking.  The dozers scooped up the excess snow and dumped a huge pile of it in our yard.  I am talking a pile that is about 10 feet high.  My boys were drooling with excitement.  It was all I could do to get them to finish their schoolwork before they headed outside to build the fort of all forts.  This massive snow pile now has tunnels running through it and is quite the master piece. 

So this was the start of our busy time - birthday parties, snow, but that is not all.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm In For It Now

Well, I am in for it now.  The Christmas present that I ordered for Todd and myself just arrived.  Todd won't let me wait until Christmas to open it.  He wants to have it now.

The present is the P90X workout series, complete with fitness guide and nutrition guide.  If you do it right you will be in much better shape in about 90 days.  My personal goal is to lose 40 pounds and drop 2 dress sizes.  I have done it before when I was going to the gym but this is a little different.  I don't know why, but I have a hard time working out at home.  But for the love of my husband and a desperate desire to fit into my clothes again, I will do it. 

(deep breath) So here we go.  Hopefully, I will survive this journey.  Thank goodness there is a jacuzzi tub in the master bath.  I have a feeling I will be there a lot in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


While shoveling off this last night's snow I overheard from the kids....

Brian: "Hey, Bryce, why aren't you using all the snow mom dumped in the fort instead of the snow on the outside?"

Bryce: "I'm just trying to use all of my natural resources."

Ha ha : )


We did get a lot of snow last night.  Several inches dumped on us in the evening and everyone went outside to shovel off the sidewalks and driveways.  Then when we woke up this morning we found out that several more inches dumped during the night.  Instead of going for our morning walk, Todd and I shoveled off the driveways and sidewalks again.  The plows have yet to come through our roads but when they do, the kids will have another load of snow to add to their snow fort.  Right now their fort includes three rooms each connected by tunnels that they can crawl through. 

Pretty impressive.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Would You Do?

Have you ever seen that show on TV, "What Would You Do?"  You is the one where they have actors act out a scenario in public and see how the public responds.  Do they help the person in distress?  Do the stand up to the bully? 

Well, yesterday I had a "what would you do" moment.  I was walking down the street heading to the post office when a truck drove by.  As the truck passed me a large box slid off the open tailgate and crashed to the pavement.  When I say crashed I mean crashed.  Inside the box was a toilet that broke into a million pieces and scattered across the road.   My first thought was bummer.  Glad that is not me.  Next the thought when through my head should I help or just continue on my way.  I am ashamed to say that I started to walk off but then the truck turned around and I saw the driver and realized I needed to stop.  I use the word need and not should because I have been thoroughly convicted that every thing that happens in life is a door of opportunity to share the Gospel.  If I had walked on by I would have ruined my testimony in this town with that driver and any neighbors who were watching.  Also, I would have hurt my relationship with God by not sharing His love to those around me.  So I turned around and went back to help pick up the scattered remains of the toilet. 

Another neighbor who was outing walking his dog also came over to help.  Between the driver, the neighbor and myself we got it all picked up and back on the truck.  This time we made sure the tailgate was tightly latched. 

I didn't get the driver's name nor the neighbors, but being a small town I know I will see them again.  I will also know that I can continue to share God's love, and the door is still wide open for me to tell them of God's salvation that He offers. 

I am glad I didn't walk away, but my question is would you have?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Lighting in Leavenworth

This weekend Leavenworth kicked off the Christmas season with their Christmas Lighting Festival.  Everything and I mean everything is covered in lights downtown.  To make a dramatic affect, the lights are kept off until dusk when they are magically turned on.  People from all over come to see this event.  But the lights are just the climax of the night.  Leavenworth wants everyone to have a memorable experience here so they do a whole lot more than just turn on the lights.  It starts around noon when the band and carolers fill the gazebo to play Christmas tunes from both here and Europe.  The town also has people dressed up as Christmas characters walking around town to greet people. 

We were asked last week if we would like to participate in this event by dressing up as some of the characters.

I got to be Mrs. Clause ( My hat is way too big.  If only I could have had a wig, it would have been ok, but, oh well.)

Bonnie ended up dressing up as Frosty.

Bryce was an Elf.
And Brian....well....he was supposed to be an another elf, but they didn't have another elf costume so he opted to go home and stay warm.
 (btw...that is Rudolf in the background.)

 For two hours, we walked around town mingling with the tourist.  Bonnie was very popular.  She was not allowed to talk but had a lot fun with the crowd.  People were constantly stopping her to take their picture with her.  Bryce and I had several photo ops as well. 

My favorite moment of the night was when a mother pulled me aside and thanked me for my mashed potato recipe (wink, wink).  It was the only potatoes that her three year old would eat.  The three year old stood there wide eyed at me, and I told him how glad I was that he liked my mashed potatoes and that he needed to eat them so that he could get big and strong. He agreed and his mom said that Mrs. Claus's potatoes were his favorite. lol 

By 4:30, the cannons started going off marking the start of the lighting, the star carriers and bell ringers then started to walk down the street and as they passed each building the lights came on.  All the while, carolers are leading the crowd into singing Christmas carolers. 

I loved standing there in costume and singing Christmas carols, while snow fell and the lights came on.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Walk of Faith

This morning we rented our house in North Carolina. 

If I was in charge I would have sold it, but since we placed this house in God's hands, I have decided to trust in Him and let Him continue to lead us on this walk of faith.  The gal who will be renting our house lived there before us.  She knows the house and all of its quirks and is excited to see the improvements that we have made.  When she is able she would like to purchase the house.

In other news, it is amazing how quiet the house is with one child gone.  Bonnie went with another family to the other side, i.e. Seattle, yesterday to see a play/movie ( I forget which) that is being put on by Seattle Pacific University.  Since a snow storm was coming through, our friends decided it would be best to spend the night over there and come back home this morning.  I know she is having a blast.

Our snow storm was supposed to drop up to two feet of snow but I think we only got about 4 inches.  Still enough to cover the sledding hills to make for some fun sledding.  The kids and I have been trying to get done with school by 2pm so that we can hit the sledding hill before the kids get out of school.  Yesterday, I took a few turns down the hill while the kids played down at the bottom.  Finally, I had enough of frozen toes and we headed back home so that I could shovel of the driveway and sidewalks.  Boy, those plows really build up the snow at the end of the driveway.  Thank goodness for four-wheel drive.

Time to shower and get these boys started on school.  It is going to be another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest!

Friday, November 26, 2010


When school work and chores are done it is time to go out and play.
And there is no better place to go but downtown to go sledding.
This being Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend, the sledding hill was packed with kids.
Bonnie and our neighbor joined the masses of children to have fun sliding down the hill.

Just a few feet away from where we stood is the gazebo 
where a brass ensemble entertained us with Christmas tunes.

It is so cool being in town with all the lights, music, and festive spirit.

As the evening wore on, the brass ensemble was replaced with a choral  group who led the crowd in singing
Christmas carols.  I would have loved to stay to sing songs but it was time to go home and fix dinner.
But we will back for more fun.  Next weekend starts the official Christmas lighting.  The kids and I will be
participating in the lighting dressed up as Christmas characters.  We will get to mingle with the tourists, sing
carols, and have fun.

What a great place to live.


This year was the first time in sixteen years that we celebrated Thanksgiving with Todd's family.

Everyone was there minus Todd's sister, LaRee, and her husband, Bob, who live in Maine.

Todd's mom served up a grand feast of Turkey, taters, gravy, veggies, and homemade fruit pies.  We were all stuffed when we were done eating.

Afterwards, all the grandkids pitched in to clean up.  The grand finale of the day was the money jar.

The money jar is an Ells tradition.  All year long, they put all of their loose change into a jar.  After the Thanksgiving feast, the grandkids take turns putting their hand into the jar to see how much money than can pull out in one fist full.  The opening to the jar is fist wide so there is not a lot of room to maneuver around in.  Whatever the kids pull out they can keep.  Ashleigh was the big winner of the evening by pulling out $20 in change. 

It was a nice Thanksgiving.  I miss my family and our traditions but am thankful to be with Todd's family this year and allowing our children to experience these holidays with them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It is a tradition in my family to have homemade noodles with your turkey and mashed potatoes.  I don't know who started this tradition but I know that my mom, her sister, and my dad's sister all do it. 

This year we will be having Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's family so I am off the hook with all the cooking.  However, I do enjoy cooking a big turkey and all the extra meat and broth it provides for other meals, so I decided to go ahead and bake my own turkey just for the fun of it. 

Last night I baked my turkey, and it was my best turkey yet.  It was a sixteen pounder. We got a lot of meat off of it, and I saved all the drippings to make broth with.  Today I made noodles so that tonight we can have our homemade noodles cooked in turkey broth with turkey meat inside.  We also like to serve it on top of mashed potatoes, again I don't know why, but we do.  So fortunately, I have some left over mashed potatoes from last night as well to serve with it.

I am looking forward to dinner tonight.

Nose Hair Freezing Cold

It is COLD outside.  Zero degrees cold.  Nose hair freezing cold.  AND I love it!!


Because of this.......

..... a wood stove. 

It is so toasty and warm inside that I can barely stand it.  For so long we froze in the winter.  I would tell Todd we need a wood stove when we lived in North Carolina but he did not want to mess with it.  Now we are back in Washington and a wood stove to boot! 

 I went outside yesterday and stood outside our house to get this snapshot.  Snow has covered everything.  The branches of all the pines, furs, and spruces are all weighted down with the weight of it.  The streets are white with snow and everything looks clean and beautiful.  It is amazing how snow can even make some one's junk look pretty.

The kids built a snowman during the first snow fall.  Our yard collects so little snow due to a huge maple tree that they had to scrape the sidewalks to get all the snow they could.   Now the poor snowman has been gutted out and has been turned into a one man fort.

I keep telling them that the snow is going to be around for a few more months so don't fret.  They will get plenty of snow time.  We went back downtown yesterday, when all of our school work was done, to do some more sledding.  I really need to find a couple of more sleds.  Those round disc sleds are the best for this snow.  The kids can really fly on them.  I have a feeling we will probably head back down to the sledding hill again today. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Week In Paradise

I really need to get outside and get some pictures.  It is beautiful here.  Since Friday we have had snow off and on.  Everything is white. It is not too deep, just an inch or two, but enough to make everything sparkle.  The kids have enjoyed it.  The boys have already made a snow man and went downtown to sled with the other kids in the area.  When we get enough snow we will head uphill to ski hill where they have a tubing hill and skiing.  I have a feeling that Brian is going to be my snowboarder.

This is a short week with Thanksgiving on Thursday.  My lazy side wants to take the whole week off but we won't do that.  Since we just finished science I decided not to start a new module til next week so we will drop off one subject but that is all.  Everything is on target to continue.

Todd's school however isn't have "school" Tuesday or Wednesday although they are still meeting.  Evidently they are doing educational activities those days but not in the books.  So at least he will get a little break from lesson planning.  Last night, he spoke for the community evangelistic association, and said it went well.  Today he gets to head to Wenatchee to get new tires for the Blazer.  I will feel a whole lot better when we get those on.  It is a bit slick here but that is another thing I like about Leavenworth. The whole pace of life slows down in the winter.  People drive slower and are more cautious.  Unlike Michigan, where everyone still tries to drive like speed racer with snow and  ice on the roads.

Oh, we go off to another fantastic week.  God bless

Oh..btw...the bite on our house fell through.  bummer.  still praying for a buyer or renter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Did I Bite Off Too Much?

Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking when I open my mouth.

Here we are in our new church and already I find myself volunteering to do things that maybe....well....
The Christmas season is coming and I thought it would be great for the kids to put on a Christmas program.  We don't have a lot of kids but enough to do a small production.  Production might be too big of a word.  Presentation might be a better one. 

Basically, the kids are going to act out Luke 2 and Matthew 2.  Susan, my mother in law, will read through the passage and at certain points the kids, dressed in character, will enter the scene and  make their way to the stable which will be on center stage.  A different points in the scripture, we will have the congregation sing Christmas hymns.  I have given the kids verses to memorize for the characters, such as, the angels will say their verses and the shepherds will say theirs. 

It should go over well.  I know the parents are really excited about it all.  The church already has the costumes and I made a barn for VBS this past summer so I feel pretty confident that I can build another one for the stage.  We have most of the materials on hand and I have asked the teens help me to build it.

Today was our first practice and I though it went well.  I have to give a big thank you to Lori Lawing and Karyn Haddox who directed our Shakespeare plays for the past four years in NC.  Watching them direct really helped me to know how to direct this group.

We have three more Sunday morning to practice and hopefully it will go well.  We shall soon see.  If I let myself think about it I get scared that I bit off more than I can chew.  But then I think back to VBS and how I bit off a big project of constructing the VBS props and in the end it turned out so well.  So I figure you never know if you don't try. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quick Review I have about ten minutes before school so here is a quick flash back to our week.

In school, we have been studying the cultures and religions of ancient India.  Primarily, we have focused on Hinduism and Buddhism.  It  has been a really good study.  All three children wrote comparison/contrast papers on the two religions.  With the study we have been reading the book, Buddha Stories.  Buddha has several stories that all end with a moral, a lot like Aesop's Fables.  What was interesting to note was that all of his morals are also found in the Bible.  So what is the lesson?  Satan wants to lead us astray from the Truth so he puts a lot of fake religions out there.  Just like in art, the real deal is priceless and the fake is worthless, so it is with what we believe in.  God and His Word is the real deal and is priceless.  All the other stuff may look like Him, may sound similar to Him but it is nothing but a fake and worthless.

Today, Bonnie and Brian finish module four in science.  They have been learning about simple machines and will start studying for their test.  Bryce finished his chapter on birds and will be tested on it today.  In math, Bonnie is dealing with positive and negative numbers while the boys are both working on the metric system.  All in all a pretty descent week.

In other areas, we have been busy moving all the split wood that Todd had hauled out of the mountains to his parent's house and stacking it in their shed.  They now have a full shed and all of the extra is at our house.  We still are not sure if we have enough.  He might head back in the mountains tomorrow to get one more cord, that is if the snow isn't too bad up there.  The weather man is predicting temps as low as 0 next week so we want to stay warm.

With our church, we are still hosting a Monday night Bible study in our home.  We had a great discussion this past week.  The people who come are really searching for answers and have a desire to know God more.  Wednesday night is Awana and I got another Cubbie, making my total of Cubbies six.  Not bad for our size club.  Thursday night is our youth Bible study.  We are doing the series, Dare to Be a Daniel   which is put out by the Billy Graham Evang. Assoc.  We average ten teenagers which is pretty awesome.  The first night we met I was really concerned that nobody would come but we had nine kids show up.  They say they really enjoy it but I would appreciate your prayers over this group. 

That brings us to today.  Today we start studying ancient China and will keep progressing through our other studies.  Bonnie and I have been invited out to lunch with some ladies from church and then this evening Bonnie is having a couple of girls over to spend the night.  They have informed me that they are going to take over the living room so I am trying to get prepared for it.  Looks like I will need to run to the grocery store and stock up on some snackies.

Well, my ten minutes are up and I need to round up the crew, pour myself a cup of coffee and get our day going. 

O...btw....we have another bite on our house in NC.  Please keep praying.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Since moving to Washington I have been trying to figure out the best way to coupon.  It was a lot easier in North Carolina where I had several stores within fifteen minutes of me.  Between Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, and Wal-Mart, I could get some good deals.  Plus Bi-Lo and Harris Teeter doubled and tripled my coupons which resulted in free food.  Things are very different here.  In Leavenworth I have two stores - Safeway which is a chain store and Dan's Food Mart which is locally owned.  Dan's is not good for couponing.  For one thing they won't take internet coupons which is a big source of my coupons and secondly their prices are so high the coupon just makes the products the same as Safeway's normal price so I might as well go there to coupon. 

My other problem besides lack of store choices is that the local paper only carries the Smart Source coupons.  You won't find Red Plum or P & G coupons here, unless I get the Seattle Times and then I have to remember to get it before it sells out.  Aargghh! 

What I have found which has been very helpful is electronic coupons.  Electronic coupons is where you can add coupons from the internet straight to your grocery store cards.  No more paper coupons to cut and organize in your notebook.  Just go online to your favorite coupon site, click on savings card, and add coupons to your card.  It is that simple.  Then print out a list of what is on your card so you can match up the sales with your coupons and save big.  Also, Safeway has their own site and I can get coupons from their site for their products to add to my card.  For example, right now they have their chocolate chips on sale for $1.69.  From their website, I was able to add to my Safeway card a coupon for $.50 off the chips, so that when I swiped my card at the register I got the chips for $1.19.  My savings were a total of $1.10 from the original price.  Pretty good deal.

Some locals would tell me I just need to drive 21 miles down the road to Wenatchee where there are several stores, one of which, Albertson's, doubles coupons;  and then I could probably get a lot better deals than Safeway, but for me and for now it is not worth the gas and time it would take to shop there. 

I really like the convenience of electronic coupons.  You can do it with all your grocery store cards.  You might want to check it out.  The site I got started on was  You can also do it from and I am sure coupon mom does the same thing.  Also check out your local stores own website.   You can always get extra good deals there as well. 

Good Luck on Saving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Daddy Time

For the past eleven years, Todd has had to work two jobs which meant the kids got very little time with him.  So when Todd offered for the boys to go up with him into the mountains to get firewood I willingly cancelled school for the boys so they could have this much needed time with dad.

Thursday and Friday the boys set off at 8am to ride in grandpa's pick up truck and headed into the Cascades.  They layered on the clothes, put on their snow pants, gloves, and hats and brought extra socks to make sure they were warm and dry since there would be snow where they were headed.  A sack lunch and a thermos full of hot chocolate and they were good to go.  The boys had fun and got to see what men do to provide for their family. Todd has not handed over the ax to them yet to start splitting the wood but that time will come soon enough. 

Todd went back up today to get another cord of wood minus the boys, but today we will go stack wood at Todd's parent's house.  Todd figures he will get one more permit to get four more cords of wood to be on the safe side.  He may not go up and get all four cords but at least we will have the option to do so. 

At Home Physics

It is great having a physics teacher in the home, especially when my husband brings his work home with him.  Todd had a gentleman from our church make some marble shooters but before Todd took them to school, he had the children try them out.

First, you draw a target on a piece of paper. Then you place your target on the floor where you calculated your marble will land and place a piece of carbon paper on top to help mark the spot.

Now you are ready to load the shooter.  Place your marble on the shooter and let go.  Let's hope it lands on the target.

Looks like you hit the paper.  Remove the carbon paper and you will find a clear purple spot marking the area where the marble hit.  Let's hope it was on target.  If not, move the target and try again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm a lumber jack......

Ok, I know that is not the best of songs, but for some reason every guy I ever liked or dated knew it and would sing at random, so as my husband spends his time cutting down trees, hauling timber, and splitting wood I can't get the song out of my head.

Our school day got interrupted this afternoon due to snow.  Yes, you heard me, snow!  It was exciting to see the snow coming down and slowly stick to the ground but it also reminded us how we weren't ready for it yet.  My husband quickly sent everyone outside to finish gathering up the leaves that were piled up on the yard while he got busy splitting more firewood.  The leaves were supposed to have gotten picked up yesterday but the boys had made a leaf fort and wanted just one more day to play in it.  Now it has to go before it gets frozen to the ground.

While the boys bagged up the leaves ( I think it took about six or seven bags.  There were a lot of leaves.) Bonnie stacked all the firewood that Todd split.

Todd is hoping to go out on Thursday to get at least one more cord, that is if the weather permits.  There is another pile of wood behind the shed still in rounds but I guess you can never have too much wood. I have to say it is really nice to have a warm house. 

After the leaves were bagged and the wood was split and stacked it was back to work on school. Now how does that song go again....?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back in the Groove

Last week was one of those weeks when everyone was sick.  It started with Halloween when Bryce came down sick, followed by Brian on Monday, Bonnie had the queasies all day Monday but never became full blown sick, Brian had a relapse on Wednesday and I fought it all week but finally came down sick Thursday night.  Nothing like a whole week when nobody feels on top of their game.

This week, however, we are back in the groove.  I am pretty excited because we start Unit 2 in our Tapestry of Grace curriculum, which begins with the study of ancient India.  Last time we went through TOG Year 1 I discovered an awesome resource site on the Internet. is an awesome site for history.  Geared towards elementary and middle school grades, this site gives not only all the info you need for the time period you are studying but also give links to other sites as well.  I plan on using this site a lot this week.  One of the links he gives for the study of ancient India is to which has a fun interactive game your kids can play to help them learn about the Indus Valley.  Pretty cool stuff.  Check it out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Topsy Turvy Day

Today was an interesting day. 

Today I went to work while Todd stayed home with the kids.

Todd teaches at the local Christian school and every other Friday they have extra-curricular activities.  These activities are things like skiing (when there is snow), going on ropes courses, hiking, and today it was paintball. On these off Fridays, Todd doesn't have to go in to school which is really nice because he needs the extra morning to get caught up on school and church paperwork.  Now you may be saying, but today isn't Friday and your right, it's Thursday.  However, this was the day they could schedule for the paintball so it was treated like Friday which meant Todd had the day off.  This is sounding more and more confusing.  In short, the school needed someone to watch over Todd's middle schoolers in the morning before the high schoolers left to play paintball.  That brings you to me.  The Sub. 

It was pretty fun being in the classroom.  I actually got to teach Pre-Alg, Algebra, and General Science this morning.  It was also very encouraging to me to realize that all the material they were covering my kids have already covered.  In fact, if they walked into the classroom today, they could easily do the work.  That makes me feel better.

While I was busy subbing, Todd had the kids do their math and language and then they headed out to pick up firewood.  The kids unloaded two truck loads of firewood.  It sounds like a lot, but only time will tell.  Todd will probably head back up into the woods this weekend to get some more.  Everyone expects to have snow by Thanksgiving.  Right now, we are having a fire about every morning to warm up the house and then we are good for the rest of the day.

So that was our topsy turvy day.  Now I just need to finish putting  up pumpkin for some bread and pies and get ready for youth group tonight.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat

Who can't resist a day where you get to dress up and parade around town with the bonus of getting paid in candy for your effort and bravery of humiliating yourself in front of others? 
The young and the not so young have fun dressing up.  After church, our friend, Nettie, stopped in to show us her Energizer Bunny costume.  We all got a big kick out of it.  She was heading to town to walk around the "mall" where her daughter-in-law owns a shop. 
As dusk began to set in Bonnie, Brian, and their friend, Dante, got ready to hit the streets.  Bryce, unfortunately, came down sick with the stomach flu earlier in the day and was sent to bed.  I don't know why but this is not the first halloween that someone has come down sick.  If you notice, Brian is in costume.  He did not want to dress up but he did want to get candy.  He was informed that to do the later he had to dress up, so he put on his dad's referee uniform for a costume.  Bonnie, in case you didn't know, is the ghost of Marie Antoinette (with her head still intact).
I was informed by my teenage daughter that we started out a bit early.  "This is when the little kids start," she said.  But they still got candy.  Our plan was to trick or treat the four or five blocks to the Nazarene church where they were having a carnival and then trick or treat on the way home.  The carnival started at 6 and we wanted to allow for time to stop along the way to visit friends and gather candy so we left about 45 minutes early.  Of course, we had to stop off at grandma's house to get all of her goodies.
Just past grandma's we saw this monstrosity.  This grim reaper had to be about ten feet tall.  A teenage boy was inside pushing a cart that the reaper was attached to. 
I think my teenager felt a little better when we ran into her friends, Jordan and Stephen.  Of course, they weren't trick or treating yet.  Did you see how spiked Jordan's hair is?  It reaches all the way to the street sign.  Both boys are really nice and have a heart for the Lord.
We eventually made it to the Nazarene church where they had hot dogs, cider, hot chocolate, carmel apples, popcorn, and games to play with lots of candy for prizes.  We spent quite a bit of time there and then headed back home to hit all the houses we skipped on the way up.  Of course, by this time it was black outside.  The one house everyone wanted to visit was the "haunted" house which happens to be three doors down from our own house.  These people went all out.  They created a maze with hay bales through their yard to get to the front door.  Fog machines created a mist that covered everything.  Tombstones stuck out of the ground and ghouls and monsters popped out of no where scarring the kids.  We heard screams from the house late into the night.
The kids had fun.  Everyone shared their candy with Bryce so he didn't miss out too much.  By eight o'clock we ran out of candy, turned out the lights, locked the doors, and retired upstairs.  Of course, now Bonnie is starting to feel sick.  Bummer.