Monday, December 28, 2009

My Art Card Giveaway!

Most of you probably know by now that I'm definitely into photography. On the right side-bar is the link to my etsy shop where I'm selling note cards made with photos I have taken.

However... at the moment my friend Kailani is giving away a set of my note cards on her blog, An Island Life. She's written a great review as well! So if this is something you'd like, hop over and enter to win! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Housing Adventures

We've been looking at houses for awhile now and can't seem to find anything we can afford that wouldn't require massive amounts of renovation money. This week our realtor called to let us know a house had just been reduced to close to our price range and we should go look at it.

So, Friday night we did and I swear it was like walking into my childhood home! Other than the fact that it was a mirror image and the kitchen and dining room were switched it is eerily similar! And other than the fact that it's a ways out of town it's actually a "normal" house compared to some we've looked at!

Consider the following: before we made an offer on this house there was one more we wanted to look at. It was in a community much closer to my parent's and that would have been nice. However, the following pictures will give you some small idea as to why we didn't stay more than 10 minutes in the house today.

This was one of the two upstairs "bedrooms". The carpet just made us laugh...

The second bedroom was off of this one... it was obviously an addition to the house because when you walked into the closet you could see where they'd raised the roof... the old roof was still there inside the closet, shingles and all! Plus you could see daylight out of the closet...

Downstairs the main living and dining room were pretty decent, but the kitchen...
There was a countertop range and then this was your only option for an oven:

I'm not sure you could even fit a small cookie sheet inside of it! Also notice the fabulous wall paper! There were a couple of the original cabinets on the walls and the rest were just sitting there unattached. Someone was planning on replacing them because off in a closed in porch area (very poorly done) were a bunch of raw cabinets sitting along the wall.

The list could go on, but our agent didn't even think we could get financing on this house... and my dad suggested it just needed a bulldozer!

Needless to say, this made the normal house look pretty good! We wrote up all the paperwork this afternoon so now we're just sitting on pins and needles, with our toes crossed. Or something like that!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book: The Christmas Lamp

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Christmas Lamp

Zondervan (October 1, 2009)


Lori Copeland


Lori Copeland has been writing for twenty-five years and has over three million copies of her books in print. She began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that she began writing for the Christian book market.

To date, she has more than 95 books published, including Now and Always, Simple Gifts, Unwrapping Christmas, and Monday Morning Faith, which was a finalist for the 2007 Christy Awards. Lori was inducted into the Springfield Writers Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. They have three sons, two daughter-in-laws, and five wonderful grandchildren. Lori and Lance are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.


Christmas trees, twinkling lights, skating in the park, and holiday displays are the hallmark elements for celebrating Jesus birth for the sentimental residents of Nativity, Missouri. Will fiscal responsibility replace Christmas their traditions when times are tough? Though their priorities and methods clash, Roni Elliot and Jake Brisco want the same thing, for the town to prosper. As the two get to know each other better, each begins to gain a new perspective on what the real wealth of Nativity and the season might be.


I've read books by Lori Copeland before and enjoyed them so I'm hoping this one is just as good! Unfortunately it will be one of those I hope to get read over Christmas break as well...

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Lamp, go HERE

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: First Gingerbread House

Someone was more interested in eating the candy than putting it on the house, but eventually he got the hang of it!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Train Ride again!

On Saturday we went downtown for the annual free train ride the first weekend in December, just like last year.

Cory was big enough to sit in his own seat! Unfortunately the seats in this particular car were almost not big enough for Mama, especially with my prego tummy!

Nana had to sit in the box car... and these 2 yahoos made it unlatch or something!
They had to stop the train and call for reinforcements, but we got going again without too much fuss. Cory thought it was pretty cool they were working on the train right behind him.

I told Cory to hold onto his ticket... and right after this picture he dropped it. Oh, the wail! It was so cute except he was so sad! Good thing Daddy was there to rescue it!

All in all, a fabulous day for a train ride down by the river!

Shh, don't tell Cory, but we are going to have a train party next spring for his birthday! You can rent the train for 2 hours and have it all to yourself (3 rides, which are pretty decent). I'm thinking he's going to love it!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Book: The Christmas Glass

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Christmas Glass

GuidepostsBooks (October 1, 2009)


Marci Alborghetti


Marci Alborghetti has been writing only slightly longer than she's been reading. In seventh grade she received her first writing prize for a zany Halloween story. The prize? A five dollar gift certificate to a local bookstore. She was hooked. The Christmas Glass is her fourteenth book, and she is currently at work on a sequel as well as a non-fiction book about service. Some of her other books include: Prayer Power: How to Pray When You Think You Can’t, A Season in the South, and Twelve Strong Women of God.

She and her husband, Charlie Duffy, live in New London, Connecticut, and the San Francisco Bay area. While in New London she facilitates the Saint James Literary Club.


In the tradition of The Christmas Shoes and A Christmas on Jane Street, the heartwarming story of The Christmas Glass shows how, today as always, the Christmas miracle works its wonders in the human heart.

In the early days of World War II in Italy, Anna, a young widow who runs a small orphanage, carefully wraps her most cherished possessions -- a dozen hand-blown, German-made, Christmas ornaments, handed down by her mother -- and sends them to a cousin she hasn't seen in years.

Anna is distressed to part with her only tangible reminder of her mother, but she worries that the ornaments will be lost or destroyed in the war, especially now that her orphanage has begun to secretly shelter Jewish children. Anna's young cousin Filomena is married with two-year-old twins when she receives the box of precious Christmas glass.

After the war, Filomena emigrates to America, where the precious ornaments are passed down through the generations. After more than forty years, twelve people come to possess a piece of Christmas glass, some intimately connected by family bonds, some connected only through the history of the ornaments.

As Christmas Day approaches, readers join each character in a journey of laughter and tears, fractures and healings, as Filomena, now an eighty-four-year-old great-grandmother, brings them all to what will be either a wondrous reunion or a disaster that may shatter them all like the precious glass they cherish.


Sadly, I have not had a chance to even open this book, but hopefully I will take it with me over Christmas break! It looks like a fabulous Christmas read!

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Glass, go HERE

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Blogging Buddies

Milestone: yesterday I met a blogging buddy for the first time ever!

Mrs. Einstein lives about an hour and a half east of me and we'd just never managed to get together despite knowing each other for almost 2 years (from the best we could figure). Her middle child is just a month younger than Cory so he had a blast playing with the girls and we had fun just chatting! Amazingly enough, most of it wasn't about blogging...

Monday, November 30, 2009

22 Weeks

You'll have to excuse the fact that I look like a zombie. This Thanksgiving weekend and just this pregnancy in general are wearing me out!

I discovered, on Thanksgiving, that I must be carrying high because I can't eat more than a snack size meal without feeling ill. I felt ill for most of the day.

Baby boy is not letting up either, kicking me all the time. He especially seems to like my bladder...

How am I going to survive the next 4 months???

Friday, November 27, 2009

Aviation Days revisited

The first weekend of October the local airport always puts on display their old airplanes and many of the private owners have their planes out as well. We went last year and really enjoyed it. This year the weather was a bit nicer so we stayed longer because it wasn't freezing cold out!

Here's a replica of the Miss Veedol, the first plane to cross the Pacific and not stop for refueling. Our local claim to fame is that they landed here. The original was eventually lost in a water crash, but the local aviation buffs have made the replica.

And it's not as big as you might think!!!

Cory really liked all the red planes of course!

This was a racing plane like you see on TV (sponsored by Red Bull I think?). We didn't see it doing any tricks, but talked to the owner. They race at crazy speeds just a hundred and fifty feet off the ground or so!

The thing Cory remembers most from this year though is our experience in the fire house. It's a little trailer that the fire department uses to teach kids about how to safely get out of a house fire. I didn't have time to warn Cory that the alarm was going to go off. He was interested in the (fake) smoke for about 2 seconds and then when the alarm went off started freaking out. He wouldn't out out the small window even though Brian was right there so we had to go back the other way... He still remembers it and we talk about getting out of a house if there is ever smoke so maybe this is a lesson that will stick with him! Here's hoping he never has to use it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Bouncing

This past Saturday we went to an inflatable play spot. Cory loved the bounce house!

(and yes, there is a weird shadow across the bottom, it's because I had to stick my lens through the netting to get a picture, but it was still across my flash)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book: Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie


In 1890, Julia Cavanaugh travels west from New York City to unite orphans in her care with new families. Imagine her horror when she discovers that she's to be "delivered," too -- as bride to an uncouth miner. But with no return fare, Julia's options are bleak.

What does God have planned for her on the lonesome prairies of Montana?
Read more!

My review: I've only gotten about a quarter of the way into this book and while it's a quick read it's one of those books where the foreshadowing tells you what's going to happen 3 steps before the characters find out. That pretty much kills it for me. But if you enjoy old west romance novels then this would be for you!



Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website:

Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Ocieanna on Facebook!

Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie


The authors, Tricia and Ocieanna, have put together one humdinger of a contest for this blog tour! Enter the Fall in Love With Lonesome Prairie Contest and WIN a perty Montana Gift Basket! To enter, simply fill out the entry form, (then tell 5 or more friends about the contest)! The winner will be announced December 14th, just in time for an old-fashioned Montana Christmas. Giddy-up!

The Winner of our ‘Fall in Love with Lonesome Prairie’ giveaway will receive a fantastic Montana Gift Basket, including:

*Winter fleece throw
*Huckleberry chocolate bar
*Paula Dean candle
*Burt’s Bees gift set
*Wild Huckleberry taffy
*Montana stationary notebook
*Montana greeting card set
*Montana ball cap
*Montana apron
*Montana refrigerator magnet
*Charlie Russell 2010 Montana Calendar

This post was written for LitFuse and the book was supplied for review.

Monday, November 23, 2009

County Fair

Back in September we went to the county fair... it was Cory's first time! He was pretty excited that we were going to meet Nana and Papa there, but he found some other things that he liked...

Every time we walked past Sparky the fire dog he had to stop and say "hi". Here he is giving Sparky a "boo ya" with his fist. He was fascinated, but this is about as close as he would get to him!

There were lots of animals that you could pet. Sheep, rabbits, even the pigs!

Of course the best part about the whole place was the tractors displayed that he could climb on...

Making sure it works right, Papa!

We also went with some friends of ours, here are her boys also enjoying the tractors.


Azriel really got into it!

Then we found this water safety dragon that would talk... At first I thought it was pre-recorded, but when he started responding appropriately to the kids and using their names I started trying to figure out how, because it was a male voice and the lady obviously wasn't talking. I finally saw over behind him in one of the empty booths a man with a headset and a microphone in his hand. There must have been a mic on the dragon as well so he could hear. The little jet ski the dragon is in moved and having him talk, all the kids were totally fascinated.

A very fun day at the fair!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Playing with Grandpa

We took a whirlwind trip to Portland this weekend for a birthday party that didn't happen! But we did get to see lots of relatives (and go shopping!). I'm sure the best part for Cory was playing with Grandpa!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Best Big Brother

Cory loves to take my old teddy bear and pretend it's a friend or baby or basically playmate. Here he's reading the bear a story...

I'm thinking he'll make a pretty good big brother!

This is the outfit he picked out for the baby on Friday after our ultrasound...

You can't really tell, but it has a work crane on the side...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bubble Girl

Yes, I freely admit, this is what my friends called me when I was in high school. And for good reason I suppose, but I didn't care.

See, I grew up in a small town, without a TV, and pretty much didn't care about what was "popular", celebrities, styles, etc. I mostly still don't, although I do regret my exclusively t-shirt and jeans wardrobe back then...

But where am I going with all this?

Well, lately the popular thing seems to be getting all riled up about politics. And if you've read my blog for any length of time you'll know that I don't usually talk about controversial or political things. But basically I'm just sick of it all.

I'm sick of the polarization.

I'm sick of the caricaturing of those we don't agree with.

I'm sick of the media hype and the fear-mongering.

Can't we all just get along like rational civilized human beings???

And here's where my Bubble Girl mentality kicks in...

I'm all for being educated on the issues. Read lots of different sources, pay attention to the news, talk to your friends, talk to your legislators, and vote.

However, at some point it seems there is not a whole lot I, as an individual, can do. And at that point I'd rather not hear anything more about it. I'd like to stick my head in the sand like an ostrich.

I want to live in my house with my family, enjoy them, nature, life, and not be constantly bombarded by all the craziness!

I do believe strongly in a few issues and I make my opinions known to my representatives, but I don't go around spouting them all the time. I'm beginning to think we can make more of a difference in our sphere of influence than on the national scene. (Of course if you are well known and have an audience, you may have more influence than I. But I don't aspire to that sort of thing.)

Change the world through how you live. Live simply. Don't rely on your stuff or your circumstances to make you happy. Cherish the moments and people around you.

I'm thinking of how Shaun Groves has downsized his life and made his priority about saving children. Right now he's in El Salvador with Compassion to raise awareness of what we can do in the life of just one child. But here at home, he's moved into a smaller house, making do with less stuff.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not idolizing him. I just think that some of the things he aspires to do in his life are pretty worthwhile. I'm still working on it.

In conclusion, comma, what I think I'm trying to say is this:

Be a friend.

Be a person who looks at others as just like you. Treat them like you would like to be treated.

Live in the now and don't worry as much about the future.

And if you must, be invested in politics, but not so much that you forget that "they" are people too!

Have a blessed weekend! and let me go back to my bubble, pretty please?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Fall

I am at a loss for pictures this week, totally worn out from a crazy last week/weekend. This was also from our trip to The Dalles last month.

Also salute to all the veteran's out there. Thanks for all you've done.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Book: Fit to be Tied

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fit to Be Tied

Zondervan (November 1, 2009)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon.


Cleo Arlington dresses like a cowboy, is fearless and fun-loving, and can ride, rope, and wrangle a horse as well as any man. In 1916, however, those talents aren’t what most young women aspire to. But Cleo isn’t most women. Twenty-nine years old and single, Cleo loves life on her father’s Idaho ranch. Still, she hopes someday to marry and have children.

Enter Sherwood Statham, an English aristocrat whose father has sentenced him to a year of work in America to “straighten him out.” Sherwood, who expected a desk job at a posh spa, isn’t happy to be stuck on an Idaho ranch. And he has no idea how to handle Cleo, who’s been challenged with transforming this uptight playboy into a down-home cowboy, because he has never encountered a woman succeeding in a “man’s world.”

Just about everything either of them says or does leaves the other, well, fit to be tied. Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses but nothing about men. And though Cleo believes God’s plan for her includes a husband, it couldn’t possibly be Sherwood Statham. Could it?

Their bumpy trot into romance is frustrating, exhilarating, and ultimately heartwarming.


While I wouldn't say this is a super realistic book, it was a fun quick read. It's also kind of funny, some of the things they say and positions they manage to get themselves into!
This book is the second in the series, which I didn't realize, the Robin is good about inserting enough details in from the first book that you aren't lost.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fit to Be Tied , go HERE.

Friday, November 06, 2009

PSF: Oregon Gardens

On Monday after being at the coast all week Grandma, Cory, and I went to the Oregon Garden in Silverton.

The gardens are pretty new, but are actually the way the city cools it's runoff water before it joins local water sources. There is a series of something like 23 ponds to allow the water to cool and they have built the gardens around them. In my head I didn't take into account how new this place was (less than 10 years) so I was expecting some taller trees, but other than that I was very impressed by all the work and innovation here.

There are lots of small areas devoted to different things. Like a Children's Garden with whimsical creatures created out of all natural materials. There's even a little hobbit house (which you can see the round door in this picture).

There's a sensory garden which included this fun water feature!

And throughout the garden is a paved road that you can take an open shuttle tour on. It gives information about the garden and plants in it, plus you can get off at many stops so it's nice to get around if there are just a few things you really want to see and they are on opposite sides of the garden!

There weren't actually a whole lot of flowers as it's more of a natural garden, rather than landscaped and manicured, but here is one of my favorites I posted before.

On the way home Grandma decided we should take the back roads through farm country... and we got stuck behind 5 giant harvesters (appropriately tagged 1-5). We followed them for something like 10 miles at about 20 miles an hour. You can see that they took up the entire road so there was no passing.

Cory was in awe though so it was worth it!

Notice the size of the semi which isn't more than 100 feet from the harvester!

The entrance fees to the garden can be a bit steep for just a short visit, but I'd definitely say it's worth going to see!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Emily

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Papa's Little Helper

My dad had knee replacement surgery last week so we are up helping him get better this week. Cory is in charge of the happiness factor!


And if you are so inclined, my friend Grace is having a wager on her blog, when will be the first day it rains in Dubai (yes, she lives there)? So go leave your guess! There are prizes involved!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

18 Weeks

Hard to believe, but I'm almost half way there already. Of course I'm plenty uncomfortable sleeping so that part I believe!

I've been feeling the baby move for the past couple of weeks. That's very reassuring! Also, Cory went with me to my last midwife appointment and he got to hear the heartbeat! Way cool!

Next week we have an ultrasound so if this one wants to cooperate we'll find out if it's a boy or a girl... shall I share or keep it a secret? :)

Oh, and that funky orange and red at the bottom of my shirt is this really cool thing called the Swelly Belly that I won from my friend Grace's blog. At this point it's actually more helpful in keeping my pants up, but will help in the future so that my tummy doesn't hang out below my shirts!

Monday, November 02, 2009

My Little Lion

Our lovely friend Holly loaned us her son's Lion costume that he wore last year and Cory just barely fit into it. (and he is an entire year younger than her son)
Cory was so excited to be a lion! He had his ROAR down pat.

The ROAR face

We went to our church's event called Light the Night. Cory got a glow light necklace from a lady behind us in line and he was more interested in playing with that than saying Trick or Treat.

And he kept wanting to hold onto the candy rather than put it in his bag. Here he's checking out the loot.

We did see some people we knew and of course they were impressed by his ROAR!

A fun time and thankfully not too cold out this year since Cory could only fit a t-shirt under the costume!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PSF: Happy Halloween!

Every year we get pumpkins and every year it seems a race to actually carve them before Halloween... last year I don't think we even made it!

This year, success. Pumpkin size relates to it's owner, although Mama carved Cory's.

Cory doesn't really "get" Halloween, but he loves pumpkins (has been pointing them out to me for weeks), thinks being a lion will be awesome (complete with roar), and of course loves candy!

Now, here's hoping it doesn't snow on Saturday as it can and has been trying to this week!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Carissa