Wednesday, January 28, 2015

{Not so} Wordless Wednesday: The "Weekend" Project

This home improvement project started in October.  Rip up the laminate flooring, put down backerboard and tile the entrance.  We've tiled before.  Easy.

The thing about weekend projects is that kids have places to be, naps must be taken, job challenges worked around, sneak in a date-night, small group night, yada yada yada.

We're more than 50% done with the mastic and tiling -- Dave accidentally dropped the tile cutter and broke the support arm, so I think we're going to be in the market for a new tile cutter.  *insert sad face here*  However, Lowe's rocked and cut our 10 pieces of tile to Dave's measurements so that we can at least finish this project.....another weekend.

Do your weekend projects really last just a weekend?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Serving those who serve

Our family recently gathered with other families from our Trail Life USA troop (an adventure/ scouting program for boys of all ages with a Biblical basis) as well as 200+ others from the Seacoast area of New Hamsphire and Maine to welcome to American soil a plane of 70 service men and women from Oklahoma.  This particular group had been in Afghanistan for 6 months and was on their multi-legged return trip home.

The Pease Greeters organization is a unique program however.  Unlike other groups who gather to welcome troops home, none of the men or women who arrived from overseas actually live in our area. Nine and a half years ago, the Pease Greeters just recognized that these men and women, who are on a refueling layover here in New Hampshire, might enjoy a cup of coffee and doughnut while they wait.   The program has blossomed to include free foods of all types, free gift tables that the men and women can use to gather a gift for a special child at home, free phone calls anywhere... and a loud, joyful welcome to American soil.  The group we welcomed on Sunday had flown from Afghanistan to Romania (with a 3 day wait), then on to Iceland (they did not get off the plane) then to Pease International Airport in New Hampshire. When they took off they were headed to Fort Bliss for debriefing before heading home to family.  One of the men I talked with guessed he'd be home by January 6.

Yes, I cried.  And shook hands and cheered and thanked the men and women and wished them a happy New Year.  

Here they come down the Hero's Walk towards food, restrooms, phones and stuffed animals!

It was awesome, and I'm glad we finally went.  I wish we hadn't waited for such a long time to go out and greet these fine Americans.

Before re-boarding the plane, the organizers of the program held a short ceremony for the men and women.  It was inspiring.

Then, we headed out to the end of the runway be part of the Fence Force -- holding American flags and waving and cheering as they taxied to the runway and took off.

I hope our family has a chance to do this again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

{Not so Wordless Wednesday} Christmas Celebrated: Our Little Craft

Levi, Luke and I made holiday gift tags this year.  Simple supplies, not a lot of time invested per tag, but there were appreciated and we had fun doing it:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Celebrated: Cookies!

Last year, the boys and I were enjoying a tropical, warm, excited Christmas in the Bahamas and Orlando with my mom and dad:

Christmas 2013 The boys with Chip and Dale aboard the Disney Dream

When we returned from our trip we had exactly THREE days to get into the holiday spirit, New England style.  For me, this meant that I needed to get over myself and adjust to the fact that I would be cold for the next few months.  I also only had a few days to finish shopping and decorate whatever else I wanted done (I think we had put the tree up before we left).  

No cruise for us this year, so I have plenty of time to search Pinterest for fun and delish cookie recipes, shopping for family and friends, and getting into the spirit.  

Levi was my assistant cook.  He is good at taking direction and LOVES to help.  He and I searched for cookie recipes and came up with the following (You can find links to the recipes at my Pinterest page):

1.  Christmas Colored Bark*
2.  Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
3.  Candied Pretzel Rods*
4.  2 ingredient Fudge*
5.  Candy Cane Kiss cookies*
6.  Colorful Slice and Bake Swirl Cookies* 
7.  Homemade Reeses Cookies*
8.  sugar cookies
9.  Pretzel Turtles*

Absent is my favorite Chocolate Covered Toffee.  This recipe is a gift to know.  The confection it creates is a gift to share.  The woman who shared it with me years ago (thank you, Micky) is a wonderful mentor (I don't know if she realized she served in that role for me) and I look forward to spending eternity worshipping our savior with her!

Truly, it is wonderful.  However, in the interest if variety, I'm not making it this year.

So how did our plan go?

1.  My planning ahead worked.  I am the proud owner of a year's subscription to Plan to Eat, and it makes LOVELY shopping lists for your recipes and ingredients are keyed to the recipes, so you can know at a glance which ingredient goes with which recipe.  It is a beautiful thing.  I had no problem knowing what I needed from the store with this program.  I think I'm going to LOVE it.

2. Time.  There wass not enough time.  Besides making cookies, I needed to finish shopping and do some last minute grading for the end of the semester.  Plus some parties to attend.  In reality, we made SEVEN types of cookies (those with the asterisks).  Until I just counted them out while writing this, I didn't realize we'd made so. many. cookies.  No wonder I did not want to eat cookies, think about cookies, nor look at cookies through New Year's Eve.

3. Other random lessons:

  • Planning is key.  (worthy of a repeat)
  • Cookie swaps are the way to stay sane during Christmas.  
  • I like peanut butter (it is a theme that runs throughout a lot of our cookie choices).  
  • I'm glad we picked some cookie types that could be made in the microwave while other types were in the oven.  
  • I enjoyed all the cooking with Levi (and Luke joined in a little), so I have no regrets.  
  • The good thing about planning ahead and not making all the cookies we planned? We still have LOTS of ingredients for more cookies later on!