Wednesday, January 10, 2018


We are starting off the New Year with a bang!  Our youngest is engaged!  It's been a whirlwind since he met Miss Right.  They go to the same school but didn't really know each other until last summer, when they were both in New Reign, a singing group, and traveled together with the group recruiting for the college.

He's been planning ever since then and popped the question Saturday night.  It was at our home and her parents flew in from Portland.  Another brother came in from Denver and a sister from Las Vegas.  She has another brother and sis-in-law that live here.  So lots of love and travel went into this event.

He popped the question at our house, because there's a construction project they've already been working on in progress in our driveway... a tiny house!  Kinda crazy, especially since the walls have just gotten up over Christmas break, but they knew they both wanted to live in a tiny house and are both really hard workers and decided to make it happen.  With the help of some family and friends, he decorated it inside and asked her "come see something." With brother being the photographer, he proposed while we were all hiding inside our house to surprise her.  It turned out great!

Our son wanted me to make a fajita dinner and I'm so glad he suggested it because we got to really talk and relax with most everyone - not like being at a restaurant.  HERE is my favorite recipe that I found a couple of years ago and love.  I made it along with all the trimmings, and also some special cookies made with cookie cutters that look like them!  It was a fun night.  

The cookie cutters were a Christmas gift our son gave to them, so I had to try to use them!  You send in a picture and they are made out of plastic.  I think they really look like them!  No lie, they weren't easy to use, but they turned out!

Mom helped me!

A home-made gift from a roommate!

Decorations in the tiny house

The parents and the happy couple!

Friday, January 5, 2018


Finishing up Europe trip posts!

Our final stop was in Germany, in a small town that seemed right out of the Beauty and the Beast movie!  Our main reason for going here was the Euro-American  Family Retreat, which is a yearly event for missionaries in Europe.  That deserves its own post, when I can get around to it!

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber is a small walled town that dates back to Roman times.  Ob Der Tauber means "on the river." It's important to know that because there is another city in Germany named Rothenburg!  The town has a rich history which we learned about on the Night Watchman Tour.  The reason it is so well preserved was that after being routed by various groups in the 1600s, the town was so small and poor it could not really rebuild.  So it remained as it was, untouched until 1873 when artists discovered Rothenburg's beauty and classic German architecture!  It was protected during the World Wars from destruction.  Today it is a tourist attraction, a quaint German town with bright colored houses and old churches, along with the Rathaus clock tower.  It's now known as a stop on the "Romantic road" and a great place to see an authentic German town, eat and shop.  There's also a bridge nearby that was filmed in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

It's way off the beaten path, in fact, we had to take several small local trains to get there.  We stayed at a neat place with a lot of charm.  While there we walked on top of the wall, toured St. James Church, climbed the Rathaus clock tower, gawked at everything in the Kathe Wolfarte Christmas stores, toured the Medieval Crime Museum, ate schneeballen and took about million photos of the cute town.

Hard to keep it brief, but here's some favorite photos:

Steps up to the walkway on the wall - it is covered too, so nice to walk along.

This was in our hotel dining room - kinda funny, kinda creepy!

St. James church

Town Square getting ready for Christmas!

Inside and outside the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas stores - yes, there was more than one! There were all kinds of ornaments I had never seen before - got a neat one!  There were artists set up in several areas carving wood and painting ornaments.  It was like Disney-Christmas!  

Giant advent calendar
The Rathaus tower was only open for weekends so we lucked out!  It was a crazy climb - only 20 people are allowed up there at once because it's so small.  Here I am squeezing through the last climb to reach the top.  It was freezing cold and windy, but we got these great views of the town!


The Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum was surprisingly interesting.  This necklace was a punishment for those who fell asleep in church!  The sinner had to wear it outside the church building at the next church service!!!  It's large and heavy.  

Last morning there - one more walk on the wall.

Every building - so cute!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


This year I wanted to do something with maps.  For one reason, we have several that are leftover from vacations that I felt I would never use again!  I also wanted to do something with our state shape because I love the t-shirts and other things I have seen like this.  So here's what I came up with:

 State blocks - really easy when you have leftover wood pieces.  I sanded the edges, used spray adhesive to glue the state shape onto the block, then added a little heart sticker to indicate the area where our relatives live.  
 I also made these Santa ornaments from some seed pods in our yard - painted them, and added a jute loop with hot glue.  I collected the pods in late summer.
These pencil cups are for those in our family who don't live in OK - just made from cans, spray adhesived the map strips, then also did a 2 inch strip inside the can.  

I didn't get a good picture of the homemade gifts from the extended family - we didn't have a big get-together this year but I will tell you the other gifts were Home-made spaghetti sauce in a jar, a little tree made with musical note-paper, and a garland.

Now for the Grand Finale!
My kids (and their spouses) made me a beautiful gift!  They recorded a few songs on a CD!  My daughter-in-law did the artwork - a watercolor snowflake!  Love hearing their beautiful voices whenever I want.  

Saturday, December 23, 2017


This Christmas we ended up hosting three parties - yes, I planned it that way!  My philosophy is if you decide to do one, you might as well do more!  Once the house is decorated and cleaned you really don't have to do much more for the other parties.

We wanted to play a different game - no, we didn't throw out Dirty Santa.  We played this one in addition to it.  We always like to warm people up with a few fast games, before Dirty Santa comes into play and some people turn crazy!

I found this game on Pinterest and we just added to it.  I supplied 20 dollar store-type gifts, wrapped. (With the first party we actually only played this game with $5 generic gifts they brought) With the Roll the Dice game, after playing it with two groups of 20 people, we found both times as we went round the circle taking turns rolling the dice to see whether you would pass the gift right or left, or open, etc. there seemed to be one number you either got stuck on, or hardly ever rolled.  So after two rounds, we would declare the next person to roll a ________, whatever had not been rolled much, would be the end of the game.

The TWIST we added after the end and let everyone open, if it wasn't already, was this:  We gave the "Christmas is about giving" speech.  We told everyone they just thought the gift they just opened was theirs.  Now, we will go around the circle and give your gift to someone you think would like it.  We went one at a time, so everyone could see what the mysterious gifts were they had been feeling as they went around the circle.  It was fun and added another dimension to the game.  Some men who got kitchen-y gifts were giving theirs to the ladies and the ladies who ended up with a beef jerky stick gladly gave to a man.  :)  There were a few toys in there for the one pre-teen and he raked in several gifts as a result.  The few who didn't get one were okay with it, you see, they didn't have their gift very long anyway.  For the first party where they supplied the $5 gifts, we did say to look around the circle to see who didn't have a gift yet so everyone did take a gift home.

Hope I explained it well!  It was kind of hard to take pictures while keeping the game going!


Tuesday, December 19, 2017


So I guess any day on vacation in Europe is better than a work day at home, RIGHT?  

So the truth...Salzburg was...not our favorite.  By the time we left we were enjoying it, but we just didn't get the best vibes from the people there.  Couldn't find a simple map of the town in English.  So yeah, we wandered around a lot. I had been there and done the Sound of Music tour back in the 80's, so that was out.  The Hubs wasn't interested in doing it.  Maybe, just maybe, we needed a day of rest at this point in our trip...YES, I think so.

We did eventually get our bearings and enjoyed these things:

The Salzburg Fortress sits high above the city, and has been added onto throughout the centuries.  It has an amazing history!  We took the funicular ride up there and toured it - there were several museums housed in the fortress and it had great views of the city.  One of the museums was a marionette museum that was interesting.  Another thing I loved was ice skating in Mozartplatz!  It was just me and little kids; The Hubs decided to be the photographer for this outing. The atmosphere was magical with Christmas music playing and then the church bells ringing in the background!  We also found a great traditional Austrian restaurant within a block of our hotel and we ate there two nights in a row.  It was called Zum Fidelen which translates to the Lucky Monkey.

We took a day trip to Berchtesgaden.  We toured a salt mine and it was really interesting and fun!  The fun thing about it was that you get to ride through a lot of the parts of the cave.  We also slid down two slides to lower levels of the cave.  They projected images onto the walls to show how the salt was mined.  No pictures were allowed so we did buy the slide picture!  After lunch we went to Lake Konigsee outside of Berchtesgaden.  They have a boat ride that has several interesting views - Hitler's summer home and other things - and then a stop at a little church where you can eat in the restaurant or just walk around until the next boat comes.  It was a fun day but we had to switch a lot of buses to do it, and I think that stressed The Hubs out. The last morning we were there we hiked a trail up Kapuzinerberg Mountain for a great view of the Fortress, then came back down and found a delightful coffee shop, and ended our time there with a bit of the SternAdvent Christmas Market that was opening that day!

Window shopping in Old Town Salzburg - lots of fancy stores

Ice skating in Mozartplatz - the polar bear has handles on it for children

Looking up at the Fortress
Marionette museum in the Fortress

Zum Fidelen

Berchtesgaden - picture spot outside the salt mine

One of the slides we went down in the mine

St. Bart's church on Lake Konigsee

Clear water at Berchtesgaden
While on the boat ride they demonstrated Echo Mountain with a bugle player

The Fortress
Hiking up Kapuzinerberg to see the Fortress

My first roasted chestnuts

Stern Advent Christmas Market