Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Cookie Part-ee

Meet Mark and Michelle. They love Christmas cookies, and they love sharing! Yesterday, they shared with the Keena Family, by bringing us a Christmas Cookie Party. They both are professional cookie decorator's here.

They had baked a box full of cookies, made a dozen bottles of Royal Icing, and included a multitude of sugars, sprinkles, and edible decorations.

After just a bit on instruction, we were off on our own.

Grace made some beautifully personalized cookies for her BFFs.

Jim's favorite creation. We kind of thought it looked like Grandpa Keena.

Some of our finished fancies.

We may not quite be ready for Fancy Flours, but we sure had fun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a Skype Christmas

Last night we hooked up to Skype, as did Doug and Danae in Chicago.

We all huddled around the computer in our bedroom, with much anticipation as we were about to celebrate Christmas with the Castles.

One by one, we sat in the seat of opening and each opened presents from the Castles.

Jim got an awesome Chicago mug with different Chicago landmarks etched in the side. It's gorgeous, although I am confused as to why there is a very small baseball player on the mug. I don't remember anything about any great Chicago baseball teams!

Emily was most excited about her non-planner.

It was the next best thing to being there. Okay, not really, the next best thing would be for them to be here. But it worked! Great idea 'Nae!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter, Anyone?

This was the view from my kitchen window yesterday afternoon. The temperature had risen all the way to -8. But since I was in my toasty kitchen, I didn't fret over the temperature, but rather, enjoyed the view of the snow-covered Bridger Mountains.

Are we supposed to put away patio furniture here in the winter?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What a Week!

This has been a great week. Lots of Christmas preparations and celebrations. And a birthday party thrown in the mix for fun!

Jim started out the week in Tulsa, with the Clark's.

I sent along an early Christmas present for Caden.
A onesie with a special Christmas greeting.

On Tuesday, Jim flew home, and we had a first-ever in the Keena family; an early birthday party. Because of Grace's frenzied social calendar, we celebrated her 14th birthday three days early. (Please don't tell the older children!)

I'm sure her one of her favorite gifts was this shirt, from one of her favorite Chicago sisters!

We also had a little "congratulations" gift for Jim. He had just defended his proposal for his Phd, and is now an official PhD candidate. How appropriate that he should have a pair of PhD socks!

Friday night we attended our first ever Staff Christmas Party..seriously, seventeen years in the ministry, and our first Staff Christmas Party. There was plenty of good food and bubbly drinks, and my favorite, a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Now, if you know me at all, you know I like "to win". And you may have never really thought about there being any winners at a White Elephant Gift Exchange. I beg to differ. After much prudent forethought, tactical planning, and deliberate stealing, I'd say Jim and I both came away as winners. See below.
My prize was two sets of beautiful note cards photographed by our church secretary, Becky. One set of flowers, one set of animals. Lovely.

Jim won two boxes of Nories Candies. Six ounces each of handmade chocolates by a lady in our church. I'm sure the boxes were identical to begin with, but let me just point out how one of the boxes is missing the Assorted Chocolates label, and one piece of chocolate. Jim promised me he did not take a piece of the chocolate out. Consider yourself forewarned; never leave properly won boxes of handmade chocolates unattended, especially around church staff!

While Jim and I were white-elephanting, Grace had a proper birthday party. She and three of her Best Buds went to the Ellen Theater's production of A Christmas Carol. A night on the town proved to be a great time for these lovelies!

One sleepover later, they may appear a little less lovely, however a night on the living room floor is hard on anyone! Notice Grace's lovely attire, both hat and jammies were gifts from the BFFs.

The morning after also brought a blanket of white. A very large blanket, mind you. It's absolutely wonderful...just ask Mikaela!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Cheer

After spending a portion of this snowy day making a list, checking it twice, and wrapping Christmas presents I got a call from Christa. She told me to check out the website below. And there on the cover of the magazine was the most beautiful baby Jesus I have ever seen. I think it probably helps that his daddy is the magazine editor!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Celebrating Thanks!

The Keena family spent Thanksgiving at the home of Steve and Vickie. What a treat! These fine folks are the ones that also invited the Keena family boating, soon after we arrived in Bozeman. (The story of Andrew and Emily jumping off a 50-foot cliff that day was recanted at the meal table for those that had missed it.) Along with the DeBoer's and the Keenas, there were other guests as well. A total of 15 of us, I believe.

The meal was crowned with a 30-pound Hutterite turkey. "Hutterites are a communal branch of Anabaptists who, like the Amish and Mennonites, trace their roots to the Radical Reformation of the 16th century." And apparently, the Hutterites really know how to raise turkeys! It was the first fresh turkey I've ever had. Yummo!

Steve carved the turkey right at the table. A first for me, as well.

My contribution to the meal; whole wheat butterhorn rolls and pumpkin sage buns.

The weather was sunny and cold. Vickie and I went on a two-mile stroll after lunch. I was one frozen popsicle by the time I got back.

We are thankful for these people!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Project

In the past, when Jim has gone out of town for several days, I've found some sort of project to do, i.e. painting a room, ripping up carpet, planting a garden. Well, that's a little hard to do in a rental. So when I found myself with five Jim-less days, and no project in mind, I realized that our house is getting colder as the temperature drops, and maybe some curtains on our windows would help. So I dashed off to Target to browse the domestic section, only to realize that to cover our two living room windows was going to cost me about $100. $75 for curtains. $31 for one curtain rod for the large window. That would never do, not in these tight economic times!

So I turned to my next option; buying curtains or material or anything I could make into curtains from the thrift store. So I went to three thrift stores. No luck.

My last option was to buy material and make them. I felt sure this was out of the question, because you really can't make anything cheaper than you can get it second-hand. But there it was. A bolt of lovely red material for only $2.00 a yard. Now, if you could have seen me trying to do the math in the fabric section, you might have thought that I had never attended math class. Armed with a pencil, the back of some receipt, the window measurements and my rusty math skills, it took me a good fifteen minutes to figure, and refigure, and refigure how much of this material I would need. I hestitantly took the material to the clerk and told her I needed six yards, no better make it six and a half, no better make it seven! Cut. Done. Thread bought, and I'm on my way to see if my sewing machine even still works. Purred like a kitten!

Since I had no pattern to work with, my usual sewing method, I measured, and remeasured, and remeasured. Cut. Done. Now I needed the curtain rod. Mistakenly I had not looked for rods at the thrift stores the first go-round, so back to Bozeman Community Thrift I went. Success! I left with 5 curtain rods (they were bundled) for $1.50. Woot! The longest of the rods, the one I would use for the front window, was missing the end "decorative" pieces. As you may or may not know, these end balls, or globes, or whatever they are called, are not only there for decoration, but to actually hold the rod in place. So off to Ace Hardware I go. "May I help you?" the fine gentleman inquired. With rod in hand, I told him I needed a miracle. "Something to rig up this rod." With great prowess, he galloped from aisle to aisle until, sure enough, he had a great idea for rigging my rod. Two bolts, two cabinet pulls, and I would be in business. I was right there with him, understanding everything he told me to do, until he said the word "drill". I inquired "If I have a drill, and I do, does that mean I have drill bits?" He assured me I did. But at this point Gorilla Glue was looking pretty good to me. Instead, I took a deep breath, made my purchases ($1.21) and headed for home, wondering if I even remembered what drill bits looked like. Jim's tool box was full of lots of heavy, shiny, metal things, and one drill bit. The exact size I needed.
So approximately $20 and six-trips-to-the-store later, VOILA! New curtains. And a pillow. And enough material left over to make various and sundry Christmas presents of some sort. So much for my math!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Lot!

Here's a brief overview of our recent trip to Tulsa. In case some of you have not heard, the purpose of the visit was to see my new grandson, Caden James. Oh, you already know? Just making sure! So what did we do for 10 days in the Sooner State? A lot!

We looked at this one a lot!

Can you blame us?

We took a lot of pictures.

We posed a lot for pictures.

We laughed a lot!

Christa and Jason started a mosaic business.
Emily was impressed a lot!

Andrew, Kelsey and Emily decorated a lot for Christmas!

There was a lot more posing for pictures.

Oh, yeah. And I held the baby a lot!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Church on Sunday

Jason and Christa are attending a new church since they have recently moved. I got to visit on Sunday, and in sure tourist-fashion I took the camera along. Mostly to take pictures of them, but I was so surprised/impressed with their church building, I thought I would share.
The church meets in a former mall. This is the center of the mall-now-church, and you can see that this church has things marked far better than any mall I've ever been in!

The booths set up are in preparation for a Christmas market that the church will host,
for all of Tulsa.

This shot is for Jim. They have their mission statement clearly and creatively visible. "Glorifying God by helping all people, all ages, all the time advance in their journey for Christ." I also saw this statement in their bulletin.

So to not look to touristic, I had Christa sit by the mall fountain turned baptismal fount.
No kidding. This is where they do baptisms.

The worship service was very rock-star.

This is the check-in station for the Nursery. The small machine prints out a "receipt" for your child, that you absolutley must show in order to remove your child from the Nursery.

This was the first impression I got, when I walked in.
Any wonder I snapped a few photos?
As impressed as I was with the facility, I must say how impressed I have been with the people. Christa's small group has been bringing meals a couple times a week, and will continue to do so all November. Seems like a great place for Jason and Christa to be!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time Travel

Today I visited Siloam Springs. It's a different feeling everytime I go. Over the four years we were in Chicago, our visits to Siloam brought everything from we-are-glad-we-are-outta-here to we-really-miss-this-place kind of feelings. Today we basically drove to Siloam to see Andrew and Trish & Sam. Our plans were to make a JBU stop, a Steph stop, a Youmans stop, a Happy Birthday, Mrs. Caldwell stop, and of course, a Barnett's stop. We were planning on seeing about five people we knew.

Our first stop at JBU we not only saw Megan, our Financial Aid assistant, but in the same building saw Terri, Don, Susan, Rebekah, and Hannah.

At the Steph stop we saw Steph, Jill, Pam, Wanda, and Barb.

The Youmans stop included all people Youmans, minus the doctor.

The Birthday stop included Barb and Deborah.

The Barnett's stop included Reid, and some fine AAA stangers who gave our dead battery a jump.

Just as when we lived there Siloam was more than we bargained for, so our trip today was more than we had planned. But tonight I sit filled to the brim with the wonderfulness of the people of Siloam. I am glad to have called that place home, yet I am also glad for the new home we have, and the wonderfulness of people there. I'm thankful that God leads us to wonderful people.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Love This

Sugar and spice and everything nice?!