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.