Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Joy!

 My sis left today, Josh left Monday, Jenna is working, Dan is at the movies, the babies are at Disneyland having the time of their lives with mom and dad, and I am sitting here remembering the moments of joy...

 ...and catching my breath ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Almost to the Finish Line

The cookies are baked, the house decorated, gifts wrapped, presents under the tree, and just a few more days of "Holiday Cleaning."  I don't know about you but I only deep clean a few times a year. Usually it involves or coincides with when my sister visits.  I figured out a few years ago I was skipping the fall and spring cleaning thing and was hitting it more before Christmas and summer...when people visit.  I do not love to clean, so I put it off till outside pressures force me to get a move on.  The other thing I realized just the other day (true confessions haha) that once my house is spit spot, I want to do all the entertaining I have tended to put off because now all I have left to do is cook!  Which I thoroughly enjoy!  So today some invites went out for New Years Eve.  Blessed are the woman who like to cook and clean, they must enjoy entertaining more often than I ;)

A little photo thrown in for blogland sake. I took my grands out for a quick trip to the mall today to give momma a break and because I was missing the little darlings so much.  I don't know if I mentioned how much of a ham our little miss Avey (aka Sweet Pea) has become.  I know what you are thinking...yes it was a bit crazy to go to the mall with two little ones in tow this week.  I guess you have figured out by now I was finding a charming excuse to avoid housework.  Oh yes indeed you are right,  I would rather go to the mall Christmas week with two little grands in tow then clean my house anyday...there I have said it...the whole world knows!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Come To Me

Come To Me is the title of a new release out of Bethel, Redding,CA.  The full album will be released this January.  I keep stopping during all the holiday hoopla to spend a few minutes listening to this inspiring song.  It usually is at night after a long full day.  This makes my heart sing!!!
At the beginning of December a local church brought in one of my long time favorite worship leaders again out of Bethel, Redding, CA.  Kim Walker Smith and her equally talented husband Skyler Smith led us in an amazing night of worship.  It was not a concert, it was a night of worship for the local body of Christ. It was on a Monday night, it was not promoted, yet over 2,000 folks came out from many denominations around our city to worshiped the King.  Following is a taste of what our night was like.

If you are interested... here are two previous posts I have done on this you will see I had long awaited this amazing night.
How He Loves    
Skyler and Kim

Friday, December 16, 2011

Make Room

Wow as usual the holiday season is whizzing through like a sled going down hill that cannot be stopped.  I am just trying to hang on for the ride.  Apparently the sled is un-steerable too =)  Yesterday my daughter asked if I would babysit while she ran some errands at the mall.  Pregnant with two little ones in tow...I remember those days.  So I said sure!  Low and behold she walks in the door handing me a gingerbread house kit and said the girls really, really want to do this this afternoon.  Hmmm I was thinking more like movies on nana's bed with some snacks and a bit of book reading.  I am not nearly as energetic in the late afternoon as I am before lunch.  Before lunch I can MAKE the gingerbread house from scratch ;)

So I convince my grands as I was making a big pot of coffee to watch a little show first while I chugged a mug down of the delicious black brew.  Then I was ready to tackle the gingerbread kit.  Well it was just all about glueing with pre-made frosting in a tube the candy that came with it in place.  Not too big of a deal.  We giggled along and tried not to eat as much candy as we were attaching to the gingerbread house.  Then I had the great idea to add some more decorations...because...well... perhaps we did eat too much of the provided kit candy.  I found some Christmas sprinkles in my cupboard. While I was trying to add some of the sprinkles to the freshly edged house  Eden said she wanted to try.  Of coarse you do, so I handed her the jar and instead of a sprinkle they all began dumping out of the top rather quickly and bouncing from here to eternity all over the kitchen table to every nook and cranky in my kitchen.  I started to roar it was so funny.  The look on Eden's face was priceless, till she got the gist of my hysterics and then started giggling herself.  Well we finished up the house and it did turn out rather nice.  However I am still stepping on those little round sprinkles every where.

You know I love making room and time for my grand kids.  I wouldn't have missed that moment with them for anything.  I was exhausted by the time mom came back to collect the babies and the gingerbread house, but it was worth it. So very much so!

Just a few nights ago my son in law had the privilege of leading a young man to the Lord.  As this new convert was reading the Christmas story he noted to my son in law how there was no room for Jesus in the inn with all the people, but only room for Jesus outside with the animals.  He concurred that he wanted to make room for Jesus in his heart, especially during this Christmas season.  That so struck a cord in my heart.  I need to make room in my home, my heart, and my life during this hectic holiday season, and to make very sure my Jesus isn't left out in the cold. To make sure I am inviting Him in to be present with me and my family through out this season of tra la la.  To remember that old saying we all know...He is the reason for the season.  I am rejoicing in a new believer who has made a commitment to welcome Him in to his heart.  Lord help me remember to welcome the Christ into our Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Cheer & All that Glitters and Shines

I am re focused.  In the holiday mood.  Decorated and ready for the season!  This year I was drawn like a magnet to everything that glittered.  Martha must be getting to me =)  It started with these adorable acorns.
 Then it was glittery pine cones, and snowman
 Glittery gingerbread men and Merry Christmas signs

 Glitter bows

 See that tree...real or fake?

 Noni's Ivy Elfs
 Yup it is fake!!!!  I am so proud of myself that I have finally converted. Soooo much easier and that was my top priority. This tree literally took three minutes to set up. I don't think this is the same brand but this was how it went together  Easy Set Up  and believe you me it was only a few minutes of fluffing.  I am SOLD!  Now I just need to find a really good candle for scent.
Some really cozy throws from Costco and I am all ready to go.  I don't know if it was not hosting Thanksgiving this year or all my refreshment from my trip, but I am almost completely ready. I  have most of my shopping done.  I am so ahead of myself this year I can hardly believe it.  I am in shock at how relaxed I feel, and really able to enjoy the season.   Hope your holiday season is going well too!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Culture (Mexico Part III)

 When we got off the beaten path the real fun began.  As we wandered around the marina we stumbled into a place that offered a 90 minute swim with dolphins.
   Three of the guys were up for it.  Dan had a great time especially in the free swim.
 We came back later that night and had dinner at Tacos El Muelle.  There was no menu.  The new owners simply started cooking sopes (that looked like these below)

with lots of different yummy toppings. They made us salads, delicious fresh grilled fish and shrimp. They made some yummy cinnamon bread like dessert served with cinnamon flavored Mexican coffee.  We were their main customers and they served us like kings and queens
 The owner and cook Fernado Torves who was an ex reality TV show host in Mexico City and below his lovely wife who was a TV news announcer went all out.  Here they are two weeks into their new business.
 We had fancier meals in lovely restaurants but this truly was a magical night with the most gracious of hosts.  We could have been eating in their private home.  Hospitality is definitely a gift of the Mexican people.
 Another evening at the marina in down town Puerto Vallarta
We enjoyed guacamole made table side by a shy young man
   Below was another gracious host/owner Christian Omar Romero@Tequila Guacamole who went completely out of his way to please us as customers. 
My fresh fish dinner that night as he promised was absolutely delicious...yum!!!

On our last day we took one more quick trip downtown.  In the square I found an amazing local artist that gave me some inspiration to tackle some of our local vineyard scenes. This was a commission for an American couple.

In the center square is a beautiful old church Our Lady of Guadalupe
gorgeous crown on top of the building

This is a view of the Marriott we stayed at for the last weekend.

Not nearly as upscale as our weekday resort, but non the less not too shabby.
poolside as the sun was setting
The hotel served a fabulous morning buffet.  I was intrigued with the local fare of fresh chips, steamed with salsa and topped with cheese, guacamole, fresh cilantro and a fried egg for breakfast.
I think this was fresh guava
Quesadilla with sautéed squash blossoms and fried plantains served on a freshly made tortilla with a side of spicy chili sauce was another intriguing breakfast selection.
the evening view
My last moment in the Mexican sun.  I cannot believe how much I enjoyed my visit to the Mexican Rivera.  I will return someday soon I hope...sooner than later. 

You are probably sick by now of my Mexican vacation, but hopefully I have finally got it out of my system for a bit and can now regroup and focus on Christmas ...
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