Wings As Eagles: December 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Finishing up with 2008 Kids Klub

2009 is almost here and it's time for me to get the last of our 2008 Kid's Klub posts up. We finished up the Fruit of the Spirit and you can see the last few fruits here, here, here and here.

We had our final evening for the year on the 10th which included our Christmas party. Jena had such fun getting all the food and decorations prepared for it and she did a beautiful job! It was so fun for us as well as the kids and a great way to end the year!

Here's a last look at our fruit trees for this semester:

orchid of fruit trees

some of the kids just stuck the fruit on their trees...

...and others were a little creative! :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Moments 2008!

We had a wonderful Christmas! Krissa's friend Caroline, is spending several days with us and it's been fun having four girls in the house! Plus we went to Grandma's house Christmas day and enjoyed that time spent with Mom's family!

Here's pics from our family Christmas!

Jena, me, Krissa, Caroline

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The true Reason for the Season

This is one a my favorite Christmas songs among so many wonderful ones! I hope you have a blessed Christmas keeping in mind the True Reason for the Season - the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

What A Strange Way to Save the World

I’m sure he must have been surprised
At where this road had taken him
Cause never in a million lives
Would he have dreamed of Bethlehem

And standing at the manger
He saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel come to life
And Joseph said

Why me, I’m just a simple man of trade
Why Him with all the rulers in the world
Why here inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she’s just an ordinary girl
Now I’m not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the World

To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth

But Joseph knew the
Reason love had to reach so far
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must have thought


Now, I’m not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But this is such a strange
Way to save the world
Such a strange way, this is
Such a strange way
A strange way to save the world
A strange way to save the world

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A recap of the week...

It's been a little crazy around here because I've been madly trying to get as much done as I can this week so I can actually take off a few days around Christmas and call it a vacation. It probably won't turn out to be that way, but I can at least say I had good intentions! :)

To catch you up on my events of the week, which usually are much the same week after week, here's just a little of what went on around our house. Considering that Dad and I were the only ones home all week, it was rather quiet and uneventful, except for never know what she might be carrying around that house that could cause an uproar! :)

Monday: Check email (this includes business, personal, facebook, bloglines, all those daily stops!), ship orders, answer email, update Latte Quilt class database, answer email, upload shopping class coupons, answer email. (Yeah, I know, answering email can take a large part of my day - it's usually not just a 10 minute process! :))

Tuesday: Check email, unpack and restock inventory, answer email, place fabric orders, answer email, cook noodle soup, change the downstairs to a studio to check lighting, background, camera settings, etc. for video taping, go to Meade Lumber to pick up lights, Bible Study with Tim and Erin from church, answer email.

Wednesday: Check email, ship orders, check on fabric shipments, answer email, write and send out newsletter, cook lasanga, blogging, answer email, plan quilt class video, finish video taping quilt introduction, package and wrap gifts, unpack and figure out my new camera.

Thursday: Check email, ship orders (Christmas is next week, so orders need to be out in time for Christmas Day!), drop of some embroidery I stitched for Stacie in Dodge, visit with Stacie about photography lighting, grocery and Christmas shopping, unpack and put away all the groceries, play with the various settings on my new camera. You know, owning a business does it have it's perks - like deductions for purchases! :)

Friday: Check email, ship orders (a large batch today!), mail gifts, online research on green chroma key screens and studio backgrounds, answer email, do laundry, plan next week's menu and food to take to Grandma's for Christmas, call Grandma, answer email, watch Dad installing lights while talking on the phone (see photo below!), write Christmas cards, play with the new flash of my new camera, answer email.

Saturday: Check email, plan food for church dinner on Sunday, bake cake, upload new inventory, photograph satins and upload to website, answer email, go to the church to help with meal preparations for Sunday noon, frost cake (that ended up taking a little longer than planned!), get stuff ready for SS, answer email.

Sunday: Get up and get dressed for church, start cooking dressing in crockpot (I decided the kitchen instead of the car this time! :)), leave for church, teach SS, finish meal details, serve the meal with Jena and Megan at church, wash tables, put away decorations, clean kitchen, etc. at church, come home and fall asleep for over 2 hours (I was exhausted at this point!), check email (personal only this time and check a few blogs!), plan what I am doing this next week.

I think that just about sums it up - it may be lifeless and dull around our house with the same routine day in and day out, but no one ever said we, or rather I should say - I, ever get bored with nothing to do.

Jena was in Oklahoma City all last week spending time with one of her girlfriends from Meade, shopping, going out to eat and having a good time chatting and laughing, and apparently going to Wal-Mart as she mentions here.

This last week was Krissa's last week at work and with her hectic work schedule, she was glad when Friday rolled around! One of her friends, Caroline from Florida, flew to Birmingham Friday evening and is spending the weekend with her. Tomorrow she's packing and then both she and Caroline are coming home to Kansas for a few days to spend Christmas here.

Dad....well, he pretty much did the same thing this week that he did last week, except he worked on putting in my lights downstairs which was a new thing for the week. Plus the windmill pipe froze and burst this week, so he's been debating where to move the cattle, so they will have feed, water, shelter from the wind, etc.

His usual daily activities include checking the cattle, breaking the ice in the water tanks, feeding them if needed, standing in front of the fireplace getting warmed up after being outside in the freezing weather, studying for his weekly Sunday School lesson, taking a nap in the afternoon as needed and keeping up with all us girls. Oh, and don't forget checking the mail, snail mail delivered in the mailbox...that is a daily noon routine for him. Now, doesn't answering email several times a day sound a little more exciting than that?!?! :)

Dad talking on the phone

yeah, all those wires hanging down looks a little scary - I'm glad Dad knows what he's doing!

Church Christmas Dinner

We usually serve our yearly big church dinner at Thanksgiving, but this year moved it to Christmas. Friday and Saturday were the decorating and food preparation days. There are some wonderful ladies (and gentlemen as well!) who always do such a terrific job of decorating, planning and completing each and every detail for events such as this! I'm always amazed at all the things they do!

Jena, Megan and I served the meat and potatoes for the meal, which is always a fun treat for us! The meal was excellent as always and we had a large crowd of about 120 people! It's always lots of work, but always enjoyable.

When I got home (with plenty of turkey, potato, gravy and dessert leftovers!), I grabbed my computer, sat on the couch and started watching the last bit of the Chiefs football game. The next thing I knew it was after 5:00. I must have been exhausted cause it didn't take long and I was sound asleep.

I gave Dad a crash course on using my new camera to take pictures at church today and he did a pretty good job! Digital cameras and all the little buttons are still quite a mystery to him. :) Here's a few shots from the day....

Btw, Dave, if you are reading this, here's a glimpse of the activity! We missed seeing you there! :)

cutting desserts during church

beautiful, beautiful!

setting up the dessert and drinks tables

Let's eat!

the line goes on and on...

Greg, Susie and Roma - the master decorators and organizers!

Jeannette (master kitchen planner!), Megan, Jena and I...after just about everyone had gone through the was now our turn!

the table where Dad sat

the kitchen staff table! :)

A yummy chocolate and vanilla cake

You know you always have an idea of what kind of cake you are going to bake and then by the time it's finished, it always seems to turn out different than you planned? At least that's they way it usually works for me!

I usually use a cake mix and then add a few extras ingredient, but this time I baked a cake from scratch, but still added a few extras to the original recipe.

Chocolate & Vanilla Swirled Cake

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 box vanilla pudding
4 oz. vanilla yogurt
6 oz. melted semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pans with nonstick spray.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one. Add vanilla and mix. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to batter alternatly with milk, mixing well. Continue beating one minute. Divide batter in half. Stir melted chocolate into half the batter; mix well.

Use a pan set with circle divider and alternate chocolate and vanilla batter into sections, dividing batter evenly into the three pans. Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool and remove from pan. Freeze until ready to frost.

Assemble cake by layering circular cakes in order desired according to swirled colors. Spread icing between layers. Frost top and sides.

Serves 20.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup shortning
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 TBSP milk

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Add more powdered sugar or milk until you get desired consistency.

I baked the cake Saturday morning, froze it until after I got home from church and then frosted it. I layered the layers, spread frosting in between the layers, cut off the crusty edge around the cake and straightened it for easier frosting.

And then I realized that when I layered the cake, I put two chocolates together instead of chocolate, vanilla, chocolate. And I stuck those three layers together really well. Being the perfectionist I am, I "unstuck" the layers, layered them correctly and refrosted it. Yeah, you knew that was coming, right? I mean you can't leave a cake with uneven chocolate and vanilla layers, can you????

see the crispy and uneven edges?

I know this looks deadly, but I really am good with a knife - on food anyway!!

See how I cut the edges off?

A slightly unbalanced, but evenly layered cake.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Creamy Potato Soup

Linda requested that I post the potato soup recipe I was cooking in the crockpot in the car a week or so ago and so here it is! It is one where I combined several recipes and I am still improving on it. Many times I will cook this version of potato soup, but if I want something without all the extras, this is the one I use.

Creamy Potato Soup

4 cups cubed potatoes (4-5 medium potatoes)
3 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 - 1/2 cup leftover ham juice/drippings
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in water until half done. To make a white sauce, melt the butter; then cut in the flour with the butter. Add milk, water and ham juice and stir well. Add seasoned salt, celery salt, salt and pepper and cook on low until sauce thickens. Add potatoes and cook until thickened and potatoes are done. More milk may be added if needed.

The above is for cooking on the stove, but if I am doing it in the crockpot, I put everything in (potatoes are already half done) and mix it together. Then I usually cook on high for about 30 minutes and then let it simmer on low for 3-4 hours until potatoes are done.

Also, if I need it to be really quick, I buy the frozen cubed potatoes and use that instead of peeling and boiling potatoes. Quick and easy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kids Klub Christmas Party

Our Kids Klub Christmas part was a fun evening and a perfect end to the year! Here's a few glimpses from the evening!

Jena created these little gingerbread nativity scenes that
are completely edible. Aren't they just so cute! :)

festive tables!

red & green jello!

ready to eat!

the girls table

the boys table

pin on the star!

the kids had lots of fun with this!

having fun!

picking prizes for their memory work for the year...

Bits and pieces

Today has been freezing. I mean freezing cold! Dad just came in from checking the cattle this afternoon and said it was 13 degrees without the wind chill. With that cold wind blowing right by you, it's probably around zero. Whatever it is, it's cold!

Jena left for Oklahoma City this morning. She is spending several days with Briann, one of her friends from the hospital, who is going to college there. They plan on doing some shopping and spending some good times together. They should have plenty of time considering that she's not coming home til Friday.

Last week we had our Kid's Club Christmas party. It was such fun and the kids enjoyed the last evening of the year! And it's nice for us to have a Christmas break. I've got some pics and other details to share, but since Jena has the pics on her camera and of course her camera and computer are with her down south, I can't post them. But I will soon!

Speaking of her computer...everyone who has a computer, listen up! (Kinda silly remark considering that you must have computer to be reading this! :)) Be SURE you have antivirus software on your computer! I spent several hours last week trying to get all the virus and hacks off Jena's. Her computer was so bogged down with all of it, that it kept doing weird things as suddenly freezing, shutting down, etc. To make it even more difficult, it locked me out of the Internet, which made it all the harder trying to track down the problems and fix them. There's still a bunch of work left to do on it to get it back in running order, but at least she can get online and do a few things.

So keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Yes, it does cost $40-$100 every year, but it is most certainly worth it! Especially if I'm the one who has to do the repair work. Did I mention that I charge $100 an hour for computer repair? :) Trust me; it's much more cost effective to prevent the viruses as much as possible in the beginning than trying to fix it later!

And for those of you who use Internet Explorer, switch to FireFox. I know it takes a bit of getting used to, but it is well worth it. Most of us, me included, just use IE because that is what is on every computer that we buy. I got so frustrated with IE and finally completely moved over to FF, which is much easier, much more secure and has more fun options to it's browser. Most certainly worth it!

Well, Dad and I went to church this morning, ate at Arby's for lunch and have been home for the rest of the day. I've watched my game of football for the day. Took a nap for the week (Sunday is about the only day I allow myself to take a nap in the afternoon!). Planned my Sunday School lesson for next week. Now I'm ready to finish up a few Christmas cards and by then I'm sure the day will be nearing the end.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's up for today?

This week it seems I've had very little computer time available. Monday and Tuesday seem like ages ago and I'm not quite sure exactly what I did those days, but I know I was busy. Wednesday was our Kid's Club Christmas party and I spent part of the day getting my lesson material ready for Thursday.

Thursday I taught an extension meeting with Janice Unruh on Wearable Art & Embellishment. It went really well and we had a variety of different garments and wearables to show ways for embellishment. Half of the day I was in Dodge and then the other half I spent at Grandma's.

Friday I had planned to get some things done in the kitchen and finish up with some Christmas decorations in the family room, but instead I spent my time doing computer work, catching up from being offline Wednesday and Thursday, and moved my other stuff to today.

First I made a coconut cream pie for someone at church. Thank goodness for neighbors who had some coconut as I disocvered we were out, right when I was in the middle of baking the filling!

I thought it turned out very well!

We haven't had meatloaf for a while, and since I had thawed several pounds of hamburger to cook, I took some of that and made a loaf for this week and then a couple smaller loaves to put in the freezer for future use.

I tried a new recipe for the meatloaf so we'll see how it turns out. I was never a fan of the way Mom made it, so I hope this is an improvement.


Then I cooked several pounds of hamburger to keep in the freezer. I used the last of my cooked hamb. before Thanksgiving, but haven't had a chance to cook some more until now. Coming up with some quick recipes without hamb. the last couple of weeks have been a challenge! :) But I did manage to use up quite a few things I had in the freezer.

cooked hamb. ready for the freezer

With some of the hamburger I was going to make lasanga to put in the oven during church tomorrow, but Dad decided that he wanted to eat out after church so I didn't do that. But I was trying to find the lasanga recipe I used last time. I was sure I found it on, but I hunted my recipe box there and didn't find it. I scoured all my cookbooks and Mom's books looking for it and finally found it!

It's a good thing I didn't plan on making it today as by the time I finished looking for the recipe, it was time to move onto something else. And the reason for that was that I got a little distracted while looking online. Never fails. If I ever need to kill time, just get online.

The day I have time to kill will never come, but I sure know how to do it if I would ever need to in the future! :)


I put up most of our Christmas decorations last week, but needed a little something extra to fill in the bookcase shelves. I found a few extra things and combined those with some odds and ins we had and came up with this.

The snowmen on the top and third shelves we've had for quite a while and some of them are my favorites! But I added the little gingerbread collection. Those figures of sugary confection and just so cute and yummy looking! I just love them! Then the candy cane striped candles just added the right touch! Hobby Lobby had such cute things and their weekly half price deals make them even better!

glowing snowing shelves!

Just look at those!

And I love the pom-pom legs!

Perhaps I really need to...

...unbox and stock my inventory shelves? Yes, I think so. Especially since I'm expecting quilt a load from UPS, USPS and FedEx this week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I love driving curved highways - for the CHALLENGE and the REMINDER!

I love driving on curved highways and interstates! You know how the highways curve and the exits twirl around to merge into another highway? I always challenge myself to navigate those curves as smoothly as I can get it. Whether I am going only 20 mph or 75 mph, as soon as I see one of the challenging curves ahead, I sit up and really concentrate on driving. (That doesn't mean I'm not concentrating on driving at any other time, although you just never know what can be done while driving! :))

I've learned that if you keep your eyes on the road in general, you can't effectively get a smooth curve. The vehicle I'm driving is completing the curve, but in jerky, bulky increments that make riding along that curve not the most pleasant experience. But if I keep my eye on the little white line that curves on the right side of the road, I can navigate that curve smoothly and efficiently no matter what speed I am at. I can't let my eyes drift to the center of the road or to oncoming traffic as it's so tempting to do, but must keep my focus on the white line.

As we were coming home from Alabama last week, I drove for several hours and encountered some of those curved highways. As soon as I could see that next curve coming up, I held onto the steering wheel with both hands and focused my eyes on that white line, never letting my eye drift away until I was again driving in a straight line.

Sometimes the road of my Christian life is full of those curves, more at certain times than others. Those curves God allows in my life seem to go on forever and it seems as though that straight lane in the highway will never come. Those curves seem to come when I'm at my worst, feeling stressed, overwhelmed, have too much planned in my schedule and am so wrapped up in crossing off my list of things to do that I allow myself to just focus on the road, the huge amount of traffic coming my way.

My focus in life shifts to the temporal, the seemingly important things in life that the world throws at me, but really are unessential in my Christian walk. As Pastor Kirk said in church yesterday, "The world gets you caught up in so many things that are just hay and stubble. They hold no eternal value. Matthew 6:19-20"

There are days (seemingly just about everyday the past month!) when my eyes are only on the road. Just on what I can get accomplished today. My challenge is to see how many things can I cram into 16 hours. And when I don't meet those expectations for myself, I grow frustrated and feel like I'm running behind and always trying to catch back up. I'm looking just at the road, at the long line of traffic ahead. My mind is dwelling on the seemingly important things that can't wait to be done - the things in life that in God's eyes are just temporal. Nonessential. Not worth keeping my mind on 24/7.

I'm not keeping my focus on where it should be - the little narrow white line. When my relationship with the Lord is where is should be, my eyes focused on Christ, studying daily in His Word, navigating those curves makes for a much less bumpy road than when I'm trying to do it all myself. When things get busy, I tend to spend less time on the more important spiritual things and more time on those temporal things that pop up everyday.

And there are days that those curved roads are not a very smooth ride. I am so consumed with the things I "have to" that I lose track of the more important things God has given me to do. Often those challenging moments God brings into my life are to make me sit up, concentrate, take notice of what I'm doing and what I need to keep my focus on.

Many times I will go to bed Sunday night after a long week working, thinking to to myself that this week will be different. That this week I won't stay up so late working. That this week I'll confine my work day to only 8-10 hours instead of 12. But if I try to do that in and of myself, nothing changes. Only through the help of Jesus Christ can I keep those nonessential things under control and navigate a smooth, unbroken curved highway.

You know how when you put the things God would have you to do at the top at the list instead of the bottom, how God puts everything into place? Sure, not everything is a easy, smooth ride, but those lists that seemed so long just seem get done. When my priorities are right before God, those curved roads are a much more pleasant journey through life than attempting it on my own.

I need that white line on the side of the road to navigate that curve, just like my mind needs to be centered on Jesus Christ through the journey of life to take out the bumps and wobbles. Trust me; it makes for a much smoother ride!

Every time I maneuver through a curved highway, I love the challenge of it in driving as well as the reminder where my life focus should be! Colossians 3:2, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I think this is the latest date we have ever put up Christmas decorations. Almost every year, we start putting up everything the day after Thanksgiving. Mom always made us wait until after Thanksgiving. But it seems the last few years with Krissa gone, and Jena and I busier than ever, it usually is later than it used to be.

Since Jena's social and working calendar is full just about til Christmas, the task was left to me. I decided yesterday would be the day! So here's a peek at our collection of Nativity scenes above the fireplace and there's more on my online photo album!

In the light, you can see the scenes...

...and at night it just glows!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snow, bread, cookies, pizza and potato soup

It was the perfect day for cooking and baking. I started early in the morning after my morning routine of checking email and all my online stops. Little snowflakes started to fall and slightly cover the ground and I'm thinking how wonderful it would be to stay home for the evening instead of shopping in Dodge and then my quilt guild Christmas party (although I was looking forward to that!). Who wants to get outside in the snow and wind??? :)

There really ARE snowflakes in the air!

Snow, snow, snow!

Anyway, I had to fix potato soup, bread rolls and cookies to fulfill my part of our guild's Christmas party. I was rather concerned about exactly how I was going to keep the soup hot since I had some shopping to do in town before my meeting.

I love to use the crock pot, so fixing the soup in that was no big deal, and even transporting it for 30 minutes into town would be no big issue. It can easily stay simmering hot for that long. But what about keeping it hot in the car with it blowing snow outside for 3 hours? I wasn't quite sure about that until.....I thought of my power outlet!

I always keep a power outlet in the car. It's just one of those things you have to have when you are driving. Just like my purse, cell phone, Ipod and computer. Now, I know I can use my computer when driving (even though Dad thinks I can't - I did on our Alabama trip and it worked just fine. :)) If I can do that, surely I can plug in a crock pot and keep soup hot or even cook soup!

Guess what?!?! It worked! And not only did it work, but it kept the soup hot! Although while I was shopping I did envision walking back out to the car, seeing it engulfed in flames or climbing into the front seat only to discover that I blew a fuse somewhere and my car wouldn't start (I DID do that one time with two computers plugged in!).

But to my relief every time I checked it as I got back in the car, all was well. Now I have all kinds of ideas for things I can do while in the car. If I have electricity, then there's not much you can't do. Although now there just needs to be some kind of universal wireless Internet available US wide. Then I'll be completely happy!

Oh...the next time you see a silver car on the Interstate, with the driver curling her hair while watching a DVD, that's me! Just wave and if I have a free hand I'll wave back! :) (Ok, I'm just kidding about the curling iron and DVD part.)

bread rolls - yummy!

pizza for lunch

M&M cookies which didn't turn out quite so well...

potato soup