Friday, February 26, 2010

....and this is my friend

A week or so ago when I visited my Mom we had occasion to talk while Joel took my Dad to a Dr.s appointment. We chatted about Joel and I and how I just like to be with him, anytime, anywhere. I could see that it visibly made my Mom happy that we enjoyed being together so much and she remarked that she could tell that he was indeed my BEST FRIEND.

That made me smile and meant a great deal to hear her say that.

So as I clean up this morning and pack our few special things that make a trip and night away fun for us, you would THINK we were invited to the White House instead of camping out at a hotel in Akron. I am guessing the desk clerk will see our smiles and have a "wing" for couples like us..........

(These hilarious stretched pics were sent to me yesterday from Joel's webcam just before he came home for lunch!)

Anticipation is literally dripping off the walls.

We have wanted a night away since Alayna was born almost 8 months ago and it is finally here. Maybe we aren't exactly the "norm" but we so look forward to talking and talking and talking and talking some more until we have exhausted each and every topic of prayer or discussion possibly known to man.

So without further ado, I leave you for a few days and ask that you pray for us. Please pray that God will work in and through us touching every single person we come in contact with. Please pray that the Couple's Simulcast enables us to learn a great deal to help our marriage become a better picture of Christ and His love for the church, and of course that we have a B-L-A-S-T together........

But considering who we are dealing with......

I'd say "Having a Blast" is on the menu! And yes, we did sit in a tiny seat and get our picture taken at Chuck E. Cheese!

Song. of Sol. 5:16- "This is my beloved, and this is my friend,..."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm thinkin'...

I'm thinkin'.

Be afraid,

Be VERY afraid.

I am thinking about the kiddos. I am thinking about them and this morning when one of them was curled at my feet with his blanket on top of the covers and the other was hugging my back like I just love, while we were under the covers at (Gasp*) 8:15 listening to the radio and staying warm.

And enjoying life.

And now I am feeling reflective and jotting down what I was contemplating at that moment when we were cozy and had synchronized sighs with intermittent smiles.

Perhaps it is because Joel and I are leaving for a whole day and night away without them. Perhaps it is because I am actually showered, dressed and in my right mind all before nine.
Perhaps it is because I am the only Sanguine Melancholy I have ever heard of who can laugh and cry at the same time.
Perhaps it is because I have a serious lack of caramel in my diet.

For whatever reason I am thinking that today they are growing, and fast at that. They are living, and growing, and understanding more and I am able to be a part of that.

My four-year old has outgrown his blanket, though he will not be the first to tell you that. Well he is actually four and a half. The funny thing is that he actually has three blankets which have descended from his older siblings who were foolish enough to leave theirs lying around while he was a toddler. So he can have one on the couch, one downstairs and one in the kitchen and feel "surround-security." Mainly though, he enjoys them all piled in is bed, in a dirty heap and will just lie there until the Lord's return.

The arrival of his eminent fifth birthday and hence the possibility of Kindergarten does little to dissuade him from his need of the "beenuh." I was becoming concerned until I found that Nathan comes by this trait honestly. It seems we have blanket issues dating way back into the 50's I dare say when another five year old decided that he too would have this same "No way are you takin' the blanket" standoff with his Mother. Of course I am not one to leak out the information which would lead you to find out on which side of the family this standoff occurred, but Joel's Dad might be privy to it.

Just sayin'.

So this morning Nathan again had the blanket, and today I will not fight the battle.

Today we will enjoy him being four.

And a half.

Today we will declare a cease fire, lay down our arms and enjoy him and his still hanging on to four year old ways, which presently has him holding the large lid to my stockpot as a shield and marching in step with his 2 year old sister Anna who is blowing reveille with an attachment from the vacuum.

Yeah, I was getting to her next.

The other day in the library a woman asked me if she was four. "Um no, " I replied. "She's two....and a half." She was apparently telling this lady her whole life story, which she does come by honestly from MY side of the family I dare to admit. If I talked this much at 2 and this often I need to find a better Mother's Day gift for my obliging Mother. Ok so she is two and a half, but really, she could talk the hind leg off a mule. While her playmates are being coaxed to sing the first line of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," she is spouting, "Can I fix your hair? It will be nice. I will do it nice, come here and let me do it. Do you obey? Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Let's go over there and get a book. I can read it to you. Sit down here and I will read it." I have even caught some of them giving her the "And where on earth did YOU come from?" look. I have tried not to notice that as much anymore.

I have decided to take more notice of her stuffing her coat pockets with tracts to hand out, her one lop-sided pig tail, the way she eats an entire sandwich avoiding the crust, the way she turns her request for a drink into a song when no one answers her the millionth time she asks it, her sincere pleas to "Go out on a date" with Joel and I when we leave her with the babysitter, and her keen response when asked what one does on a date, "You talk and eat candy."

Today we will enjoy her being two.

And a half.

I will enjoy my little "halfs" and squeeze all the littleness out of them before their next whole number arrives and makes them a little more grown up.

Just a thought.....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winner, winner chicken dinner! YOU could be a winner in a contest you didn't even know you were in!!

By far this February has been the best celebration for Joel and I. Last week we were planning a meal, when a sweet friend gave Joel and I an unbelievable gift certificate for a local restaurant. So we did like any normal couple who just happened to have someone take the younger 4 kids for the afternoon and evening. We hit the restaurant lickety-sizzle and got some MORE crab cakes and sighed in between each and every bite. One of us was even tempted to steal the elderly lady's crab cake next to them when theirs was devoured.

Not gonna rat them out but I will say that Joel is just the kindest, sweetest man, but has been known to get a serious disposition around his fav foods.

Just sayin.'

So, Joel and I are hittin' the road again this weekend for a MUCH anticipated, long awaited weekend get-a-way. We are attending a Couple's simulcast in Akron where TONZ of our fav speakers will be (via Satellite) speaking.

Gary Chapman

Francis Chan

In the same room,

Speaking to ME in the same afternoon?


And in honor of this weekend, and in honor of those who made this Valentine's Month better than ever for their hubby's, I have decided to make their day a bit brighter. You see, I have waited for someone, anyone to comment telling me either on here or via email that they went "the extra mile" this month and treated their sweetheart like (pardon the pun) "Royalty."
And some did! And those who did have won their very own copy of one of my FAVORITE books, "The Five Love Languages," by Gary Chapman. So you all were in a little contest of mine and you didn't even know it! Yeah, pretty sneaky I know......

So...without further ado...

Congrats to Mary T, and Becky C, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for being the sweet homemakers you are! You are a joy to know and I am tickled to be able to send you a small token of my friendship! Please email me at: and send me your address so I can get this book into your hands!!!

You will love it.

I LOVE IT, and I will be thinking of you all when I listen to Gary Chapman himself this weekend!!!!!

Yeah I am way excited......


Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentine's AWOL

Hello everyone who reads this........

Yes I know I know,

No pictures, no Friday night posting,



I know I know.


Sorry about that.


I have received a new computer, celebrated two people's birthdays and have been worried about my sweet Mom who is battling a strange illness. I just wanted you all to know that I will be back probably later today with a full explanation and such, but for now, Sweet Hubby is taking us all out to breakfast because it is his day off and the kiddos have off school!

Later gator!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Night Fabulous Feasting Part II

Hello all.....we did it again this week. We WERE tempted to head over to Cracker Barrel for their Friday Fish Fry for our date, but alas! We would have left you all high and dry and missed out on another fab feast here on Haywood.

So without further delay, come and see this weeks Valentine's meal! The Menu included:

Maryland Style Crab Cakes with Spicy Cream Sauce
Garlic Roasted Yellow Squash, Zucchini and Baby Green Beans
Cedar Plank Grilled Sockeye Salmon with Sweet Citrus and Spice Rub
And One De-lish Idaho Baked Potato (well just plain "Baked Potato" looked a little lonely... :)

Now the decor was a tribute to the hoodlums, complete with table ornaments made by them and some of their candy that they were willing to part with. Oh and the FLOWERS! Well, those were from my Sweetie for Valentine's Day, sent EARLY so they would all be opened BY Valentine's Day. C'mon now, THAT is somethin'! Irises and Mini Red Tulips perfected the table for us. We used what we had and made it special for us. Of course we still liked the idea of taking half of the table leaves out and sitting by the window so we implemented that again!

This week's dinner was my fav so far. Two words. CRAB CAKES. We L-o-v-e seafood and I seriously ponder things like wondering if the "little cake" the Widow Woman made Elisha was just like the one I ate today. Ok Yeah, I think crazy things like that. Think about it, no wonder he asked her to make one for him first! Okay I tease, but it does get the ole' imagination goin'..... Take a look at what hit our "Happy Spots"....

Ok so Elisha's cake would have to have been a JUMBO cake to slightly resemble mine but who's really comparing??.... Wow, just looking at this again makes me hungry.....

This salmon was just THE BEST. The cedar plank had to be soaked and then dried in the oven before it was used and it was so cool that I will admit that when a friend stopped over I made HIM look in the oven at it! Everything was soo good!

Pr 15:17 "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith."

Now by using this verse I am not leaking out next week's menu, though herbs might be involved. I AM noting that when you have a house full of love, anything tastes good!

Happy Valentine's Day Friends!

.....and be sure to let me in on YOUR adventures this month!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ode to Aging

Nearing the ripe old age of 33, I began thinking that as the years pass me by, and as I inch towards the big 4-0, there will be a time when I look back on things I used to do.

And eventually there will be a last time for things.

You know, like thinking about the last time I rode a bike.

Or the last time I roller skated.

How about the last time I roller bladed? Well if you know me, you know the last time I did this I ended up with Val in the ER.... LOL

Already many wives and Mom's my age have given up doing these fun things, which makes me sad. Am I getting older? Of course. Do I want to see the day when some part of my older getting body cannot handle fun activities?????

No way Jose.


I know there WILL be a day when I cannot or WILL NOT do those old familiar fun things anymore....

But that will not be today.

Perhaps tomorrow......., but definitely not today.

Tomorrow there may be hot pads, Tylenol and muscle cream.......... but today there will be fun.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Night Fabulous Feasting Part I

Well we pulled it off! I say "we" because Joel decided it would be fun to make our special dinner together tonight and I "Amen" that. It was fun. Hard yes, but fun and came out well we thought.

Lets review the Menu for tonight:

Pasta with Citrus Cream Sauce
Veal Medallions with Lemon on a Bed of Spinach
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cakes
Orange-Lemon Shakes

Basically tonight was a citrus lover's dream.

Well, a little caramel never hurt anyone either.

Now on to the decor for this evening.......

We took two leaves out of the dining room table, moved it in front of a window to watch the snow, covered it with my favorite throw that usually adorns the blue chair. I then got the notion to cut out some tissue paper hearts to sprinkle on the table. Once that was done I thought that piece of tissue paper would sure double as a nice romantic lamp shade! I bought the candles which were a whopping 2 dollars and found this nifty centerpiece just begging to be used. Any guesses as to what it might be???

It is a dress that Alayna grew out of!!! Seriously!! Those cute little arm holes sure worked great for my candles! Necessity is indeed the mother of invention folks!! Throw all these things together, cook a fantastic meal with your Hubby, thank God for MIL and FIL for watching the kiddos, and........

...Whalah! An evening fit for Royalty!

Now which of you are joinin' me next Friday? Tam? Mary????



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Send HIM a Valentine......

I LOVE Valentine's Day.


I love everything about it. I love red. It's my favorite color. I love pink. I adore rows of boxes of chocolates. I love flowers, all different kinds of roses and what not. I love having an excuse to act like a newly married couple again. I love dates. I love heart shaped anything. I love old love songs, like 30's not 80's. :) Truthfully, as my sweet sis Dawn and I used to say to each other:

"I just love, LOVE!"

And I finally have some proof to show just HOW MUCH I truly adore anything and everything Valentines. I guess you can say that Valentines is IN MY BLOOD. hee hee

So get a good look at my right wrist......... Yep, that's a heart folks. And no I am not getting into some, "Take pics of parts of me to post," But c'mon, THIS is somethin'. Here's one more just so you can get a second look:

It's a heart, no doubt about it. Of COURSE I have known this was here just in case you were wondering! While getting check-up's when they check my pulse I show them and say that my "Heart" beats for Joel.

Yes I am pathetic.

So back to V-Day and it's mysteries.

This year I am deciding to post each Friday in February to let you all in on the happenings here on Haywood to hopefully inspire and challenge you use Valentine's this year as an excuse to celebrate ALL MONTH, smothering your spouse with affection and having a ton of fun yourself.

You up for it???


Ok here's my romantic plan. Now by romantic I mean, "Fun, cheap, and special to us." What's romantic to us is quite possibly hilarious to you and vice versa. Who cares! Just have fun!

I started something last year which I love and decided to implement it again this year. I celebrated Valentine's each Friday in February by having something special for Joel at work. I gave my gifts to our secretary at church and had them numbered so she would know which gift to place on his desk each week. She would put the items on his desk during chapel when she knew he would not stumble upon them while she was being my sneaky deliverer.

This year I found these dandy cards at a bookstore going out of business. The price on the back says 3 dollars, but I got them for 50 cents a piece. Be creative and find a deal. A great idea are those handy little cards you find by the wrapping paper. You know the ones. They are meant to coordinate with the paper and meant as tags to go with the gift you wrap. I use these all the time folks. I love that they are small and inexpensive. You usually can find ones with a heart on it or even just a solid color one. So these cards I found this year are perfect. Here is how my Friday surprises are goin' down.

I decided to take the familiar phrase, "I love you in BIG ways, I love you in small ways, I love you this minute and I'll love you always," and let this represent my gifts each Friday. This Friday the gifts will be jumbo candy bars and such. The second week will be small almost insignificant items that would only mean something to him. The third week I am getting him a watch because he has needed one for months now since his broke. This just is too perfect for the "this minute" part of the poem. The last week will again be just a small token of some sort, something he loves and doesn't buy himself.

You can wrap these gifts, but I usually just slap a bow on or around whatever the item is and attach the card. Now really, how easy is this? These gifts can be presented each morning before he leaves, with a different special breakfast item, or whatever. You can be creative there. I find that children's books are a great resource for fun, creative ideas like this one which I just LOVE.

It has given me terrific ideas. Now along with my surprise gifts I have added a new element this year. I am cooking Joel a romantic dinner each week, and yes it is Friday also....This just works for us and will be so special to have the gifts and dinner on the same day. I got the idea from this book:
Is is a Rachel Ray cookbook and has some great date night dinners. Now you can join me in this friends!! If you do not have a sitter or place for your kiddos, you can feed them first something they will enjoy :-) and then have a camp out downstairs or fort for them to play in while you have your dinner upstairs. Just enough time to light some candles and pretend you are at an exquisite restaurant. For us this week our menu is:

Pasta with Citrus Cream Sauce
Veal Medallions with Lemon on a Bed of Spinach
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cakes

These things are like Food Network level and intimidating yet exciting for me to attempt. Check back late Friday night to see how I do! I will show you pics of my dinner each Friday and would love to see yours if you decide to jump on board!!

And now I leave you friends with a favorite poem of mine from a favorite poet in hopes to rekindle that excitement for Valentine's Day!

Send Her (or HIM) a Valentine

Send her a valentine to say
You love her in the same old way.
Just drop the long familiar ways
And live again the old-time ways
When love was new and youth was bright
And all was laughter and delight,
And treat her as you would if she
Were still the girl that used to be.

Pretend that all the years have passed
Without one cold and wintry blast;
That you are coming still to woo
Your sweetheart as you used to do;
Forget that you have walked along
The paths of life where right and wrong
And joy and grief in battle are,
And play the heart without a scar.

Be what you were when youth was fine
And send to her a valentine;
Forget the burdens and the woe
That have been given you to know
And to the wife, so find a true,
The pledges of the past renew.
'Twill cure her life of every ill
To find that you're her sweetheart still.

Edgar A. Guest

Monday, February 1, 2010

40 Years and Counting...

Yesterday we Celebrated a milestone for Dad and Mom Royalty....40 years of Marriage. It was such fun to see the church come together to honor them and this momentous occasion. Thought you would like to see some pics ~!

We'll start with a few pics from the slide show we made for them from their wedding pictures...

We set the slide show to a song they had sung at their wedding, The Wedding Prayer, and I think it turned out beautifully. Now here are some pics from last night!

I had this crazy idea to try to replicate their cake table from 40 years ago, and think we did quite well!

The CAKE. Which at one point I might add, resided on top of a car. Yeah Val and I will NOT be going into the wedding planning business any time soon. :-)

I love this pic!

And this one....

And THIS one!

There was cake cutting,

There was...

cake feeding...

But we did NOT have cake smashing, despite failed attempts by a crazed photographer who will remain anonymous....

There was remembering, there were tears, and there were a lot of people thankful that these people have reached this 40 year marker in their life.

And I was definitely one of them!

Happy 40th Mom and Dad, we sure love you!