"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."
BJKarrer

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas '09

Part 5

Christmas night at Grandpa and Grandma's house

Brad, not happy with this picture. He said,"Mom, it looks like I'm flipping the bird". Not to mention I caught him with a scowl on his face. Sorry..Brad, I'm posting it :o)

Carly was sooo into opening presents at this point. She'd open one and yell, "MORE"!

Aunt Sandy bought some clothes for Carly. Most of the time, Carly likes getting clothes. Not so much this year! See her checking out the tissue paper?? She was in search of "more" gifts!


She is very happy with this gift. Like all kids, the bigger the gift, the better. Or so they all seem to think.

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Poor Carly. She was back to the doctor the other day. She woke me up at 4:30am on Tuesday asking to go to the "doctor". She told me her throat and tongue hurt. When I put her to bed Monday night, I already knew we were going to be heading to the doctor come Tuesday. Carly had started to run a temp. She rarely runs a temp. Long story short, she is back on antibiotics. On the 18th she was diagnosed with Strep throat. Tuesday, her throat was red streaks and the doc said, "we're just going to treat her again". Today she is MUCH better. Back to eating and drinking like a champ.

A couple of cute stories. 1- Paul was talking to Carly last night about school. He asked her if she was ready to go back to school next week and see her friends. Carly answered, "NO. All done"
2- Ashleigh was laying on the couch the other night. Carly, like always, insisted on climbing up on top of Ashleigh. Planting herself on Ashleigh's legs. Eventually, Ashleigh's leg were stretched out over top of Carly's lap. (My crazy older two wear shorts yearly around here. Keep in mind, our wind chill has been in the teens all week.) Anyway, Carly looks at Ashleigh's knee and asked, "What's that"? Ashleigh says, "it's a scar. Want me to tell you how I got it" To which Carly replies, "No, (while shrugging her shoulders and shaking her head)" Too funny! Ashleigh and I laughed our butts off. It was like, Carly really could have care less about the nastly looking scar on her sisters knee.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas '09

Part 4~

These pictures are pretty self explanatory.


Carefully tearing off ribbon.


Looking a little unsure of these Elmo hands!


Now she's interested in the Elmo hands. Actually, she LOVES these things. I think I mentioned before that they come with a dance along DVD.



Ick, sticky stuff on her fingers.



Checking out her new Cookin' Cookies game.

Carefully checking out another present.


As I sort through all my Christmas pictures, I realized that I do mainly take pictures of Carly.

Guess I'd better get on the ball and snap a few pic's of Ashleigh and Brad every once in awhile! Although, I do have oodles and oodles of snap shots of them in picture albums. Even in shoe boxes! Our older kids really don't mind that my pictures are mainly of little Miss Carly. I do have some pictures of them on Christmas morning, but most are of Carly. Plus, the older kids would kill me if I posted any early morning pics of them!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas '09

Part 3~

Two sister's. Loving Christmas Eve time together.


This is how Carly spends most days with her "sissy" Whenever "sissy" is home.

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"Sissy", much to Carly's dismay, will be heading back to Kalamazoo to begin her new job. Thankfully, not until the 3rd of January. The day after Carly turns 8 YEARS OLD!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas '09

Part 2~

As far as we can tell. So far, these are Carly's favorite Christmas gifts this year.


This game is lots of fun. Kept her busy and laughing for quite some time


These are Trio's. Great for OT skills. She loves them!


I think we've watched this 5 times already! A BIG hit with all of us. I highly recommend it!


Elmo's hands...too funny! Carly has had a riot with these. They come with a DVD Dance Along with Elmo. Watching Carly in action has kept us cracking up for sure.
Wait till you see Miss Carly "in action" with her guitar and microphone. Probably her favorite gift of all!
This Fisher Price Kids Digital Camera is GREAT! This gift is running a close second to the microphone. Carly has taken over 400 pictures!!! I'll have to load them on the computer and show off her photography skills!
Fisher Price's Computer Cool School. This is a BIG hit also. Carly LOVES the computer and she LOVES to learn. Perfect gift!



Needless to say, one little girl had a Very Merry Christmas!

More pictures to come!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas '09

Part 1~


Glorious...


Calm...


Blessed...

Christmas...

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Is there anything more precious than Christmas with family?

The above pic was snapped after Carly had already ripped into several packages. Normally, I snap a pic of the tree surrounded with all the presents. Carly had other ideas..plus, she beat me to the living room and was NOT about to wait! See the empty spot to the left?? Carly had removed several gifts and started opening them. Even a couple of gifts that weren't hers. Oops!

I'll be back with more pictures soon :o)

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Graduate!

Finally...she is DONE with college! ! ! However, she informed us that she is likely going to go on to Grad School....Let's hope she lands a job that will pay for Grad School!


These are pictures that my mom took with her camera. I just realized that! I was too busy wiping tears from my eyes to snap pics after graduation.


Very happy gal in the above picture!



Mom snapped a couple of pic's after we had our celebratory dinner in downtown K'zoo. It was freezing outside.

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I have several more pictures. Although, I haven't had much time to mess with them. It's getting busy, busy, busy around here. As Christmas is vastly approaching!

At any rate, I just wanted to share some of our excitement with you all!
Happy Monday everyone! I'm off to the store to purchase food for Christmas dinner.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The second time around...

Yesterday, Dec 17th, was our anniversary. It was our 10th year. The second time around! For those of you who don't know our history. Boring to some and interesting to others...here it goes. Paul and I started dating while in high school. I was 17. Paul was 18. We married in May 1986, the first time around, at the tender age of 20 & 21. Ashleigh was born at the end of that same year. Bradley came along in Nov of 1989.

Fast forward to 1991. Paul and I divorced. We sold our brand new home and went our separate ways. The kids with me. I rented a small house that my parents owned. Paul moved to the Detroit area.

Moving right along to 1997. By this time, our anger toward one another finally started to subside. Our kids were constantly begging both of us to go with them to the fair, movies, school activities...etc. We both caved each time they asked both of us to do things with them. Eventually, Paul and I decided that we were getting along very well. After many conversations and spending lots of time together, we decided to try living together. Our thoughts were, if we could get along so well, we owed it to our kids to at least try one more time. And so we did.

By the time Paul moved back in. I had bought some land and had a modular home put on it. The kids and I had been living here about 1 year. We all were together again. Boy did we have one happy little boy. Bradley was in HEAVEN having his daddy back home. Ashleigh was too, but it was just different for Brad.

December 17, 1999. Paul and I headed to the court house with my brother and sister in-law as witnesses, and got married...the second time around. The kids knew we were getting married again, but opted out of going to the court with us. It was Christmas time and their school parties were going on that day. Plus, they thought it was cheesy!

Now, here's a question for you all. Which anniversary would you celebrate? We really don't celebrate either. Maybe because we aren't sure which one we should be celebrating! HaHa! At any rate, the second time around for us, has proven to be so much better than the first time around.

The best result of our getting re-married is of course CARLY! I think Ashleigh and Brad would agree also :0)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

So much going on these last few days. I've been busy shopping and wrapping Christmas gifts. I'm nearly done! WOO WHOO!! Paul and I are meeting at the mall after he gets out of work today. My hopes are to get DONE! Honestly, I don't have much left to buy. I have our kids done. Which is a huge accomplishment for me. I even have all their gifts wrapped already. Another HUGE accomplishment for me. My goal is to get everything bought and wrapped this week. Then, next week, when Carly is off for Christmas break, we can bake and make cookies.

I will likely be absent from blogging over the next several days. We have so much going on. Not just finishing up with all the shopping. I have Carly's Christmas party at school on Friday. Saturday we are heading to Kalamazoo, bright and early. Ashleigh graduates from WMU at noon! Then we're all heading out to eat and celebrate. Which reminds me...I need to get her a graduation gift. Sure hope I can find a Congratulations to the Graduate card this time of year.

The following recipes are a couple that Carly and I will be making next week.

Golden Caramels

1/2 lb butter (2 cups)
1 lb sugar (2 cups)
1 C light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 C broken/chopped nuts

Melt butter and add rest of ingredients. Stir constantly. Using a candy thermometer, allow temp to reach 240. Remove from heat and add nuts and vanilla. Pour mixture into buttered pan and cut into squares. Wrap each square in wax paper.



Turtles

2 pecan halves on un-greased pan. Place a caramel (store bought, not the above caramels). Place in oven at 325 for 5 minutes. Pull out of oven and press down on the caramel with the backside of a buttered spoon. Work quickly. Then place a Hershey kiss on top!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today, our first born has turned 23 years old. Can I tell you how much that freaks me out?? It's almost unbelievable. Where does the time go?

Ashleigh has grown into a wonderful gal. Who at times, I'm positive, has it more together than her old ma! She is wise beyond her years. Always has been. She is strong willed. Determined to succeed. Has a HUGE heart. She is loyal. Compassionate. Empathetic. She is always the one who will go that extra mile. Whether it be for family or friends. She is hard working all the way around. Be it at school or at her job/jobs. Yes, this girl has carried a full load for the last 4.5 years. She has been a full time college student working 2 jobs.

At times, she gets very frustrated with us. As we try to steer her toward the bigger "picture of life". Although, I'm sure she is very capable and really doesn't require much input from her parents...we still feel the need to parent her! I must admit, there have been times we, her parents, have steered her wrong. For example: making her attend a Community College her first year out of High School. Which in turn, resulted in her having to go an extra semester after transferring to Western Michigan University. Ashleigh is quick to remind us of that too!

Happy Birthday Ashleigh!! Like it or not, you will always be our little girl. Age makes no difference!

Gingerbread house.

Now that my computer is up and running again...this time due to a tower outage, not our dog...I'm finally able to get back online this morning!

Carly and I made a Gingerbread house on Saturday. Her ability to stay focused with the task on hand, has improved greatly in the last couple of months. We worked on our Gingerbread house for over 1.5 hrs. Miss Carly was into it the entire time. It wasn't all that long ago, Carly's attention span would last a mere 20 minutes give or take. Now, she is up to close to 2 hours. Which is a wonderful accomplishment.

~Our finished product~
Click to enlarge!
Carly was thrilled with how our Gingerbread house turned out.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Wonderland.

We went to bed last night knowing we would likely wake to the beautiful white fluffy blanket of snow.

It's very cold here today. Temp of 21 wind chill of -12.
Carly was VERY excited this morning. We bundled her up and headed out to the bus. She giggled the entire time.
Had I been on the ball this morning at 7:40, I would have taken a picture of Carly dressed in her winter wear from head to toe. Next time!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cool giveaway.

Hop on over here to enter Kelly's giveaway. Very cool!!

Frosted Pecan Bites

These are Paul's most favorite snacks during Christmas.

1 pound pecan halves
1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275. Toast pecans for 10 - 15 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
Fold sugar, salt and pecans into egg whites. Increase your oven temp to 325. Melt butter on a sheet pan. Spread the nut mixture over the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Be sure to stir every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whew..

...what a weekend! I've been out of touch with the world wide web for several days. Our internet went out. Thanks to our DOG! He ate the wires that run along the outside of our house. No internet since Sunday morning. He ate that wire after he had already eaten through our cable wire on Friday. Causing us to have no TV all weekend. GRRRRRRRRRRR! Will this puppy stage ever end? For the record. This WILL be our very last puppy. EVER! We've never had a puppy this destructive.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Carmel Corn Recipe

This is another HUGE hit around here.. I make this a couple of times a year. But seem to make it every Christmas. It's a recipe that I got many years ago. Way back when I was in High School taking Home Economics Class.

Oven Carmel Corn:

3 & 3/4 C pop corn (15 cups popped)
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C margarine (or butter)
1/4 C light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 200. Place popped corn on large cookie sheet. (I use 2, 9x13 cake pans). Heat sugar, margarine, corn syrup & salt. Stirring occasionally, until bubbly around the edges. Continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat add baking soda and stir until foamy. Pour mixture over top of popped corn. (I stir it up a bit to make sure popcorn is coated nicely). Place in heated oven and bake for 1 hour. Stirring every 15 minutes. When done, let popcorn cool a bit and then place it in a large bowl and enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ouch!

When I got up and around this morning, I did as I often do. Headed to my computer to check up on all the blogs I follow. :o)

As the morning went on. I found a blog that I follow had a new post. I naturally clicked on the link, anxious to check out her most recent post. I was very surprised to read her very long drawn out letter that she posted to Tiger Woods. I decided to leave a comment. It wasn't at all a nasty, negative comment. It was simply my opinion. Imagine my surprise when I received an email from this blogger. Wow. Let's just say, I had my very first negative experience with a fellow blogger today. Unbelievable.

I wont mention any names, because, well that's just me. I'm very disappointed in this blogger. I have followed her blog for quite some time. Way before I was a blogger myself. This particular blogger has had a sick child born a year ago, with a horrible heart defect. I can so relate to that. Maybe that's what drew me into her blog. Although, I must say, I have enjoyed many of her posts. Actually, most of her posts. Until today.

For some reason, this particular blogger felt the need to write a letter to Tiger Woods. A letter posted on her blog for her many, many followers to view. She left her comment section open. She wanted her followers to leave comments. She even tweeted about it, to draw people to her blog. Now to me, and this is only my opinion, but this is a story that is sure to stir the pot. I read through some of the comments before leaving mine. I let my opinion be known. In a nut shell I said, "shame on you Tiger Woods".

Well.....this blogger emailed me. She let me know she did not like what I had to say. Seriously?!?! Um, she is the one who tweeted, that she wanted to know other peoples take on this letter written by her, to Tiger Woods. A letter that she herself posted on her blog. This blogger preached to me, about how God will forgive Tiger Woods and how it's such a wonderful thing to be able to be forgiven. Yes. It is. I agree. It will be fabulous for Mr Woods to be forgiven. If Mr Woods even knows God. How do we know? We don't. Besides that, if Mr. Woods truly did have extra marital affairs, he should most definitely feel some sort of quilt and shame. Although this blogger disagrees with that. I believe Mr. Woods so much as said, that he did feel some quilt and shame when he released his statement to the media.. Not in those exact words, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to read between the lines. I may be wrong here, and PLEASE correct me if I am. But, isn't one of the 10 commandments Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery? It was when I learned the commandments.

Whatever the case may be regarding Mr. Tiger Woods. It's a very sad situation for all involved. People who are involved are going to be dragged straight into the media for the whole entire world to judge. Sad.

The whole thing is just crazy. Why on earth would anyone post a letter to Tiger Woods about his own private business? As if he's going to read it. Crazy!

As for this fellow blogger. I'm so very disappointed in her response to me. I've prayed for her family and her child many times. Now, I don't know what to think about her. I do feel as if this fellow blogger gave me a 'virtual slap to the face' today. Yes, it still stings. OUCH! ;o)

Christmas candy

Today, I'm sharing with you another family favorite. My kids (the oldest two) have loved these since they were little. This recipe came from my grandmother. She passed away 6 years ago. She had so many recipes. She was always baking and making candies. When I got married, my grandma started giving us a candy dish full to the brim with homemade chocolate covered peanuts each year for Christmas. They were so darn good! Many times she would include this delicious treat too.

Church Windows
Melt together 1 stick of margarine (or butter) and 1 - 12oz pkg., of chocolate chips. Remove from heat and let cool for 1/2hr to 1hr. Once cooled add 1 pkg., of mini colored marshmallows. Stir them until all are covered nicely. Divided the mixture in half. Just eye ball it! Place each mixture on 2 pieces of wax paper. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Form each half to look like a loaf or log by using your hands. Roll up in the waxed paper and store in fridge until chilled. They are then, ready to eat. Slice and enjoy these very yummy treats. And pretty too!
** helpful hint ~ I roll into the log shape and then sprinkle on the powered sugar**

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...sort of!

click collage to enlarge.
This little girl just melts my heart!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas candy

During the month of December, I thought I would share a few family favorites. Favorites meaning, recipes for candies and cookies and all kinds of yummy treats. Time seems to really fly from the first of December right up till Christmas Day. Everyone scurrying around looking for all those great deals. Families trying to squeeze in a 'baking day'. Making sure homes are decorated. Kids in front of the TV watching all those holiday shows. Ah...Christmas, a wonderfully crazy time of year.

Since it is a crazy time of year and I too am very busy trying to get things done. I thought I would share some of our family favorites. In terms of yummy candy, cookies and treats. Today I'm sharing a recipe that I got several years ago from my cousin. I call it Heath Bar candy, but the recipe says it's Toffee. Which ever you call it, it's sure to be a big hit around your home. Plus, it's simple!

1 C sugar
1 C water
1 C butter (real butter not margarine)
1 C finely chopped nuts (optional)
1 package semi sweet chocolate chips
1 large cookie sheet (I use a sheet cake pan)
Tin foil

Add sugar, water & butter into heavy pot. Using a candy thermometer, let mixture reach 300 degrees. Make sure to continue to stir often. Once the temp reaches 300, pour in finely chopped nuts and stir till blended. Pour entire mixture onto a tin foil lined cookie sheet. You will want to make sure that you fold all four sides of the tin foil up, forming an edge all the way around. Immediately cover with your package of chocolate chips. Once the chips begin to melt, spread carefully over the top. Let sit until cool. Break into pieces and enjoy!

**helpful hint~I spray my tin foil with butter flavored cooking spray.**