Friday, December 27, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Today we had to say goodbye to my parents who were flying back home to Tennessee. 
It was great having them here.  Dad got Bonnie's computer updated and her internet security system working properly.  Mom and I baked alot, too much in fact. 

We still have way to many cookies around.  Good thing the Harpers will be here in a few days.  They have teenage boys that can help alleviate that problem. 

I can't believe we still have another week of break.  I am not complaining.  It just feels like we have been on break for two weeks already.  I will cherish this time and get motivated for another semester of school.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Merry Christmas Everyone!  The James family had a blast celebrating Christmas with Papaw and Mamaw who came over to visit us from Tennessee. 
Everyone liked their gifts and enjoyed the morning.

My new toy was a camera.  My dad had heard me complain enough about our big, bulky camera that was hard to lug around, so he got me a little camera that has tons of bells and whistles.  I played around with last night to see what it can do.  One cool feature is that it shoots in black and white but will highlight a particular color, like red.....

I shot this picture with the soft light feature...
Bryce liked the smile feature.   The camera won't take a picture until it detects a smile.  Bryce had fun making faces to see if he could make the camera go off.
After our family Christmas, we headed over to my in-laws for  the Ells Christmas.  The grand kids were surprised when their cousin, Kyle, showed up.  He entered the army earlier this and the kids didn't think he would be able to come home.
I took this picture of my nephew's girlfriend and their baby. 

All the Ells grandkids posed for their annual group photo...Bonnie, Kevin, Ariah, Summer (Kevin's girlfriend), Andrew, Ashley, Brian, Bryce, Kyle and Kyle's fiance, Athena.

The day ended with everyone sedated from two rounds of ham dinners, a viewing of Switchmas, and another game of Phase 10 in which Todd lost again for the umpteenth time.  sigh...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Living Nativity

Last night our family was asked to be a part of the Nazarene Church's Living Nativity.
I got to be one of the Heavenly Host, while the boys and Todd were shepherds.

Bonnie was a manger angel, which means she stood on the balcony above the manger during the whole enactment and waved her arms back and forth with the music.  She was cold and tired by the fourth performance so she switched places with me.  As Heavenly Host, I only had to run out when Gabriel announces the birth of the Christ to the shepherds and then leave.  In other words the Heavenly Host is only outside five minutes.

We had fun and the kids had great attitudes.  There were about 40 people involved in the enactment.  Some, like us, did all four showings.  Others did one or two.  Lots of little kids participated as shepherds and angels and Mary and Joseph were couples with babies.  

As a family we will go back tonight to watch it with my parents following our Christmas Eve service.

Christmas Visitors

My parents are coming to visit us this Christmas.  In fact, they are in the state RIGHT NOW!  Unfortunately, they are stranded in Seattle.  The clouds are so thick and so low that their flight to Wenatchee was cancelled til tomorrow morning, so Todd is driving over to pick them up.  He should have gotten them by now, but Seattle traffic is slowing him down.

On Saturday, I took advantage of the day to do some prep work.  I made some whole wheat bread....

granola....packed with dried apricots and cherries that I dried myself....

and my homemade salsa.....

We have held off on baking all of the Christmas goodies until Mamaw arrives. You can guess what we will be doing the rest of this week.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Distinguished Young Women

I will try to keep this brief.  As a junior in high school, Bonnie is eligible to participate in the Distinguished Young Women's program (formally known as Junior Miss).  My niece, Ashely, won the title of DYW for Leavenworth two years ago and represented our town at the state competition in Pullman.  If you win state then you go on to compete nationally in Alabama.  All kinds of scholarships are available for the girls who compete in the program.  We gave Bonnie our permission to enroll in the program but didn't know how far she would go.  Today Bonnie and I sat through a two hour meeting with the president of our local DYW organization.  As of right now, Bonnie is the only girl from Leavenworth who is still interested in competing.  Actually, there is another girl in her school who wants to compete as well but she actually lives in the town of Cashmere, so she would also participate but would represent her town.  So what does that mean?  Well, Bonnie and her friend from Cashmere, Morgan, will be trained by our local group on how to best compete...i.e. talent, fitness, Q & A sessions, etc and they would travel to the Tri-Cities area to compete in what is called the At Large program for young women who don't have a local competition.  (We have to have five girls to have a local competition.)  The At Large program will determine whether or not Bonnie and Morgan meet all of the qualifications required to compete in the DWY program. If they meet all of the qualifications they will then go to the state competition in Pullman next August and represent their towns.  Bonnie will also be Leavenworth's DYW representative which means she will participate in all of the parades - Maifest, Apple Blossom in Wenatchee, Founder's Day in Cashmere, and Autumn Leaf in Leavenworth.  Basically everywhere Leavenworth takes their float, Bonnie will be invited to walk with it.  She will also be apart of most of the local festivals - Christkindlemart, Christmas Lighting, etc.   The big thing is that Bonnie will be able to add this to her resume and it will should help her with obtaining college scholarships.  I am excited for her....nervous....but excited.

ok..that wasn't too brief.  Oh well, I will keep you posted on further developments.  We will know more in January.

A week in review

Todd wanted to make sure I included a picture of him carver the Thanksgiving turkey.  So here it is.

This week started off all wrong.  Sunday morning as Todd was leaving for church his car wouldn't start.  It has been very cold here.  Near zero most nights , sometimes below, so the fact that his car wouldn't start seemed to be related to the cold.  We figured the battery must have died.  After church, he set to work to get his car running.  (We really needed his car to run because Bonnie was working at Camas Meadows Bible Camp in the mountains and four wheel drive is recommended.). Anyway,
he took off to the auto store to get a new battery.  When he came out of the store, he saw that the van tire had gone completely flat, to the rim flat.  He had to pull out the spare to get home and realized we would have to get all new tires for the van $$$$.  He again set to work on the Blazer but found out his battery was not dead, something else was wrong.  Monday night,Todd and I towed the car to the mechanics, something I HATE to do, to turn it over to a professional's hands.  Two days in the shop, he couldn't figure out anything, except the Blazer started working and has been running ever since.   Must have been the cold. (Oh, Bonnie had to find someone to bring her home since we had no working vehicles.)
Thursday, Todd took his dad out for lunch.  Todd has been taking his dad every Thursday so his mom can go to the ladies' Bible study, or in the case of this Thursday it was the ladies' Christmas luncheon.   The restaurant they went to is the one where Don's mom served as cook, The Squirrel Tree.    Don's Alzheimer's is getting much worse.  He is hallucinating now.  It's sad.  I am glad Todd was able to give his mom a break.

While Todd and his dad where eating lunch at the Squirrel Tree, I was with Susan and the other ladies from our church at our Christmas luncheon.  We had a great time, one of the ladies made jeweled scarves for all of us, and we had delicious food.  One of the gals, made this creamy, fluffy dessert that was decorated with strawberry and kiwi slices.  As soon as I took a bite of the kiwi, I realized something was not right.  The kiwi "burned" my mouth.  You know, like too acidic.  I wondered if she had treated it with something beside lemon juice to keep it fresh.  Anyway,  after I ate everything, my throat started to swell and felt very raw.  I just felt off, you know what I mean.  I suspected I was having a reaction, but everyone else seemed to be fine.  It didn't appear to bother anyone but me.  I could still breathe so I wasn't in too much of a panic, but I knew I needed to get home.  Fortunately, I had caught a ride with my mother in law and she had to be home early so I was more than ready to go.  I feel bad that I did not do a good pastor's wife job of saying my farewells to everyone.  I was a little distracted, if you know what I mean.
Once I got home, I took some Benadryl and called the nurse's hotline, Oh, and I called Todd and told him he needed to come home asap.  Of course, the nurse told me to go to the ER, but after spending a lot of $$$ on the cars I really didn't want to add to the bill and pay that ER copay.  We managed into talking the clinic into fitting me in.  It wasn't long before I was hugging the toilet and purging everything in my system.  I felt a lot better so we cancelled the clinic visit.  My throat was still swollen. It took about 24 hours for that to go down, and it has been 36 hours and my stomach has finally settled down as well.  For whatever reason, when Todd asked me what he could get for me to help me feel better I told him a Butterfingers sounded real nice.  He took off and came back with a coke, a Butterfinger and a Butterfinger blizzard.  lol  I haven't had any of that stuff for over a year.  What a treat!  (BTW....I googled kiwi as a food allergen and people are highly allergic to it.)

To end the week, we celebrated Friday the 13th in typical James fashion with Oreo cookies.  In fact, that night at our Christmas Elder's Party we gave all of our elders and their wives Oreo cookie treats. lol

Well, that was our week.  I didn't mention all of the school drama.  Not going there right now.  Bonnie finished her first quarter exams.  whew!!!  Now she is on winter break from the college but still has her class at the high school.  Today, we get ready for my parents to visit.  That means lots of baking and cleaning.  So here we go, finishing off this week and getting ready to start another one.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Growing old

My progressives came in today.  My nearsightedness is not as bad as it used to be, but I can no longer focus on things up close.  Writing checks or filling out paperwork is getting harder and harder.  I haven't worn glasses in over three years so it is taking some adjustment to be wearing them again.  I also have to learn which part of the glasses to look through ..the bifocals or the nearsighted section.... Over all I am enjoying them.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Decorating Day

The day after Thanksgiving has become our traditional day to decorate.
This year Todd wanted to add lights to the outside of the house.  Not just any lights, but LED lights.  After a couple of trips to the hardware store, I finally got what he wanted.  Todd and Brian then headed to the roof to start stringing them. We only did the bottom roof line.  Next year, we will add the top roof line.

Bryce is my one kid who can't wait to decorate.  He was up bright and early ready to get things started.  Bonnie and I had already been to town to do some Christmas shopping at 4am and had returned home by 7:30, so we let Bryce do all the living room prep while we ate breakfast.  He then got out the tree by himself.  Bonnie helped him fluff it up and I helped him string on the lights.

Eventually Brian joined us ( out of bed) and ended up on the roof with his dad.
Bonnie took on the job of decorating the banisters.  She did a great job adding bows and decorations to the garland.  She did a better job than I would have done.  (I almost said "much better," which is improper grammar.  I know that because I have taught Language for ten years now.)

Once Brian was off the roof,  he joined in to finish off decorating the tree.
We all had a fun time getting into the holiday spirit.

My kids are all growing up.  They are all taller than me, and before long the boys will be taller than their big sister.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Tradition?

 Todd and his brother, Joe, took off early this morning to participate in Wenatchee's Turkey Run, a
12k or 7.2 mile run.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bored at Work and other stuff

It is 9:30 am at the office and I am bored!!!  My bulletin is set up for the next Sunday, my songs are arranged for youth group and my office is organized and cleaned.  I guess what I need to do is tear down the Thanksgiving bulletin board and set up the Christmas one. 

Brian is on break waiting for his computer class to start at 10:00 am.  I really don't think he is getting a great education this year.  He can complete a class assignment in 15 minutes (that includes geometry.) A quiz takes about five minutes and a test about 15 - 20 minutes.  Within less than an hour this morning Brian read through his PE assignment, read his geometry and took a quiz, did his English vocabulary and took a science test.  His grades aren't as good as they could be.  He is maintaining a B in just about everything but science.  His science grade is low because in the first month he failed to submit notes from his live class sessions.  However, his test, quiz, and lab scores are on average a "B."  He just couldn't care.  If he did care he could bring all of his grades up to an "A".  Do I recommend WAVA?  It would depend on the child.

Bryce is on break, as well, at the moment.  He completed his math which took him an hour to do. That is pretty normal for him.  My big push for Bryce this year is reading and writing- our two struggle areas.  I am having him write a summary of each chapter he reads for literature.  He just finished Swiss Family Robinson and I have decided his next book is David Copperfield.  He tolerates reading (I can't say "likes"  because he Hates reading) the Great Illustrated Classics mainly because they are large print and he can focus better.  I was in 6th grade when my teacher, Mrs. Carson, had me read the Great Illustrated Classics books.  That is when I fell in love with Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers. 

I am excited for the short school week.  I can't wait for Wednesday to roll around.  Thanksgiving morning Todd is participating in Wenatchee's Turkey Run which is a 7k.  I guess that means I will miss the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  : (    After the run, we will head over to my mother-in-law's house for the Thanksgiving meal with all of the family.  Sad to say, but I am a little apprehensive about this year's family gathering.  One of the families is going through a lot of stress right now and I don't know how that is going to impact our time together. I have decided that I am going to have our own Thanksgiving feast with our traditional dishes either Wednesday or Thursday  evening.  I like having all of the leftovers. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Time to catch up

Now that I can blog and post pictures again, I figured I should do some catching up.
In October, we celebrated Bryce's 12th birthday.
This year he made his own cake from scratch and decorated it himself.  He insisted on having green icing and since his birthday is in the fall, he decided to make orange pumpkins out of fondant to decorate it.

 He made 12 pumpkins and put a candle in each one.  He then made a fondant person for the middle.  
 Happy 12th birthday, Bryce.  One more year and we will have a house full of teenagers.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Night at Home

It's rare for all of us to have a night at home together.  Todd decided to take advantage of it and have the boys take apart an engine he found on the property.  Once they got rid of the fire ants that built a nest inside of it, they were able to explore the different parts of the engine.
Bonnie, on the other hand, was busy working on her homework.  While I cleaned up the kitchen and made some energy bites.  

I like it when we are all at home.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Silly People

Last month we had Crazy Hat Night at AWANA.  Lucky for us, we have the Hat Shop in Leavenworth.  I got a few crazy hats to give as prizes to the clubbers who had the craziest hat.  Todd thought he should model the hat for the clubbers.  What you think?  He could be Elmo's dad.

Todd couldn't resist dressing up with the kids for Halloween night.  
Bonnie raided the drama club's costume closet and came home with this fur coat.  She wanted to be CruElla DeVille (101 Dalmations).  She was my candy dispenser until her friend showed up at the front door at which point Bonnie left me to hit the streets.  

I live with a bunch of silly people.  Halloween is a blast in Leavenworth.  One mom told me that I should just put a bowl of candy at the front door and join the fun.  I might just do that.