Thursday, December 18, 2014


I'm thankful for Christmas cards taped to my wall, Christmas lights and decorations in our home and around town, and Christmas music playing just about everywhere we go.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Naomi and I usually throw bandanas on our heads when we go for a run, but this morning she asked if we could wear some of our Santa hats. I said that was fine and she gave me a giant hug of gratitude, which was a good reminder to say "yes" in parenting as much as possible. We took a picture to document the festive occasion, then took off.

Well, those hats not only made her happy, helped keep us both warm in 42 degree weather, and made more people smile than usual as they drove or walked past us, but hers helped her run faster. Her previous three mile record pace was 12:52 and today she ran a 12:09. Stud!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I got to spend Sunday afternoon and evening with Silas. Our ultimate destination was the A Christmas Together concert that he bought me a ticket for as a Christmas gift, but we left home early for some pre-concert fun.

We made a quick stop at the library, filled the gas tank, then headed to Cold Stone. I had a free ice cream on my punch card and he had a gift card he earned when he climbed South Sister with some friends over the summer. He busted out of his strawberry blonde rut to try coffee ice cream with Twix and I enjoyed a festive candy cane ice cream with brownies mixed in. Yum!

I needed to buy toilet paper, so our next stop was Costco. I regularly take the little Ws grocery shopping with me and it's fine, but with only one kid in tow and time to kill we decided to browse the aisles while enjoying samples. I don't remember the last time I leisurely roamed the aisles there and it was fun to do.

Silas picked up the tab for dinner on the way out, though neither of us was super hungry because we'd had ice cream not too long before. He had a hot dog, I had a smoothie, and we shared a churro. Nutrition was certainly not the theme of our food choices for the day, but it all tasted good!

We headed to the concert after Costco, but we were really early. We chatted in the parking lot for a while, then grabbed spots three and four in the line that formed before the doors opened, chatting with other people in the cold for an hour while we waited.

We finally got inside, warmed up, visited with friends for a while, and enjoyed a fantastic concert from front row seats. A variety of musical styles, challenging lyrics and poetry, Christmas tunes, impressive art, and memories made. Such a fantastic gift from a great kid!

Monday, December 15, 2014


We headed out for church the morning of Teebs' birthday, but he got the traditional doughnut date with Tim that afternoon.

We attended a Christmas party with our old home group that night, something all the kids wanted to do, so we just took the birthday cake with us as part of our potluck contribution. Teebs is super aware of flags right now, spotting them everywhere we go, so he got a flag cake (plus a huge cupcake from the home group host). The stars look a bit like flowers and the blue field is too small, but that's fine. My goal is always that the birthday kid can identify what the cake is, which he immediately did, and I was able to make do with sprinkles we had at home, so we're calling it a success. 

No little W birthday is complete until pictures have been taken in the birthday outfits, so here are a couple shots of Teebs sporting some clothes that are way too big. The kids always have fun with this tradition!

We love this little guy!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

MENU: 12/11/14 - 12/17/14

I don't have any new recipes to share with you this week, but I suppose that's balanced out by the four I had last week. So, without further ado, here's what we'll be eating in the coming week.

ADVANCED COOKING (These aren't always planned, so they'll often be things I did the previous week.)
* I bought several green bell peppers that I chopped and froze for future use.
* I roasted a bunch of squash, then popped it in the freezer.
* I'll make peanut butter and crockpot beans, just like I do once or twice every week.

blueberry sour cream pancakes
* doughnuts at church
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, homemade peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fresh or frozen fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings x5

* tomato & navy bean soup (using dried beans I previously cooked and froze)/e-z drop biscuits
* roast with onion soup mix/squash & potato mash/frozen peas
* new recipe/roasted broccoli (this got skipped last week because Tim surprised us with pizza one night)
* lentils & rice
* kale & feta casserole/rice/carrot sticks/black bean dip (dip from the freezer, everything served at December's open house)
* tacos - seasoned meat, crockpot beans from the freezer, and some other toppings served in a tortilla, bowl, as a salad over a pile of greens, or with mound of rice
* leftovers (last week that meant taking leftover oats, turning them into pancakes, and covering them in warmed strawberries from the freezer for a super yummy dinner)

* chocolate covered macadamia nuts (open house treat)
* chocolate chip peanut butter bars
* potato wedges
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department that get popped in my Lodge Dutch oven, but you can see my thoughts on both the wonderful Dutch oven and the fantastic West Bend Stir Crazy in this post)

(This post contains affiliate links.)


I'm thankful for flexible schedules.

What's something that you're thankful for?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

MOVIES I WATCHED: 10/24/14 - 11/30/14

The titles and pictures are linked in case you want more info on any of these movies. 

The First Grader
I saw this listed in the "other movies viewers liked" section of IMDb or something while I was looking up a different movie. I loved it, but somehow managed to forget to add it to my last movie post. A friend recommended it to me on Facebook and I realized my mistake, so here it is. It's the true story of a Kenyan man in his eighties who, after previously being denied an education, fights for admittance to a first grade class.

Secrets of the Dead: Slave Ship Mutiny
I saw this on the library site when I was looking for stuff about Madagascar for the little Ws' presentation on the country. It's a dramatized documentary about a group of slaves from Madagascar that took control of the ship taking them to Cape Town. It's not a "happily ever after" ending, but it was an interesting story that I'd previously known nothing about.

Spirit of St. Louis
My dad recommended this movie and we watched it as a family one night. Starring James Stewart, it's the story of Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic. We all enjoyed it.

Million Dollar Arm
This movie is based on the true story of a man who went to India in search of a cricket player who could become a professional baseball pitcher in America. Tim and I both liked it, but heads up that one character is known for one night stands. Although there aren't any sex scenes, there are women leaving the house in the morning a couple of times. Do what you want with that info before watching it or as you determine if your kids can watch it.

As a sidenote, IMDb has a really handy parents guide for every movie, an objective list of what a movie contains in the categories of sex/nudity, violence/gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes that helps you determine if it's a movie you're comfortable watching and/or having your kids watch. I find those lists more efficient and useful than the sites that give a subjective review of those categories and try to persuade you whether or not to see the movie.

(This post contains affiliate links.)