Congratulations to our Graduates!

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Well, it’s taken me a little while, but I’m finally getting around to posting about our graduates! We are so proud of these two sons as they have achieved two important milestones in their lives – graduating this spring from college and high school!  Ryan completed his Bachelor of Science in Ministry Leadership from Moody Bible College and Tommy has earned his High School Diploma from our home school.  They have both worked so hard and a special dinner celebration was in order.  We took them out for a nice steak and Mexican dinner and were joined by our family, which made for a lovely evening.

I decorated the long main dining table at the restaurant, as well as a side table with framed pictures of the graduates, and another which held dessert and gifts. On the main table, I used a burlap runner, sprinkled with Hershey’s kisses, and then added candles, green plants, and an assortment of wisdom/advice quotes.

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Jeff gave a nice speech with teary eyes and Ryan spoke for a little bit too. We presented Tommy with his high school diploma and took some pictures (all photo credits to our daughter Sarah!). It was a very wonderful and special evening!

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We’re so excited to see where the Lord takes these two in the coming years. They are quite a blessing to our family!

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Blessings,
Nancy

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My Family Page is Updated!! (Finally)

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I’ve been tweaking and testing things around the blog this week, trying to reaquaint myself with things, and am feeling a bit more comfortable on the whole.  One area that has been so woefully neglected over the past few years is my Family page.  My children have chided me on numerous occasions about how outdated it was and pleaded with me to please do something about it.  “Mommmm!  It still says I’m 14 years old!!!” (spoken by the current 17 year old).  “Mommmm!  You neeeed to add Jessica to the family page soon!!” (spoken by her youngest sister-in-law and flower girl).  “Mommmm!  I gave up ice skating two years ago! (spoken by the soon-to-be high school graduate).

In my own defense, I haven’t written a blog post in a year (until this week), and so I certainly wasn’t thinking about being up to date on everyone’s statuses.  But – I am now proud to announce – that I have finally taken the time, tackled the challenge, and typed in the updated information for all of these sweet little baby chicks in my coop.  You can hop over and take a look, if you’re interested, by clicking on the “My Family” tab at the top of this page.

I’m sure that my children will all sleep easier tonight once they know that they are finally current and all is well with the world.

Blessings,

Nancy

Happy Birthday Matthew!

Happy 21st Birthday to my sweet Mattie! You are a wonderful young man and I am so proud of you. You are a blessing in my life and I thank God for His special gift of you to me twenty-one years ago today!

Happy Happy Birthday!!

Love,
Mom

Anna’s Snickerdoodles

Anna is working on the cookie baking badge for her Keepers of the Faith club. She needs to bake 6 different types of cookies to earn the badge. She has already made Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies for us and now has added Snickerdoodles to her list. We got the recipe from this book ~

This is a wonderful cookbook that I found at Half Price Books a few years back, and which Jeff bought me for a Christmas present. Many great recipes from everyday cooks around the country! This recipe is credited to Michelle Goddard of Memorial Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Anna almost didn’t get to make these the other night when I realized that I had no cream of tartar, called for in the recipe. I decided to just go ahead and let her try them without it and see how they turned out. I am happy to report that they were just fine, delicious in fact! And Anna was quite proud of herself as she served them to the family. Here is the recipe ~

Snickerdoodles

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Additional sugar and cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cream the shortening, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract. shape into balls the size of walnuts. Roll each ball in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes; watch carefully so they don’t burn. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

This was a good learning recipe for Anna, and she had a great time with it!

Blessings,
Nancy

Nature Day

Our second Summer Theme Day this month was Nature Day, originally scheduled for last week, but moved to earlier this week. We started the special activities with a picnic lunch in the yard. While we ate, I read a couple of chapters from “The Story Book of Science” by Jean Henri Fabre, a wonderful storytelling book that celebrates the wonders of God’s creation.

When we finished lunch, it was time for a nature scavenger hunt. The kids took their lists and paper sacks all over the yard looking for rocks, leaves, seeds, insects and flowers, to name a few of the items. We were able to find everything on our lists except for a feather, and clover (which seems to have only been around in the spring).

It was a very hot day, but there was a strong breeze and nice shady trees overhead that made it bearable to be outside. Eventually, though, we were ready to head back into the air conditioning to cool off.

My next plan didn’t turn out so well. We piled into the van and drove about a half an hour to visit a natural science museum. We were looking forward to exploring the indoor exhibits and to walking on the nature trails. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the only discovery we made was that the museum was closed for the day. Oh well, next time I’ll remember to check the schedule before I burn up my gas! We got back in the car and started for home again – with a stop by Sonic for slushes to make the trip not a total waste!

The extra time when we got home turned out to be a good thing, because we had more time to work on our nature craft. Everyone sketched something on a small sheet of paper that they had seen in the yard that day. Then we painted wooden picture frames to put our sketches in.

We enjoyed a trail mix snack while we worked on our craft –

A few of their sketches, which they decided needed paint as well –

No, we did not see a volcano in the yard! That last one isn’t a volcano, but rather a picture of an Autumn tree – and no, we did not see an Autumn tree in the yard on this Summer day! We did see the tree, however, and this particular child decided that she preferred to paint it in Fall colors. 🙂

A few more colorful frames –

Jeff grilled out some Teriyaki chicken tenders for dinner, which we ate with brown rice and grilled zucchini and onions from the garden. For dessert, I made these yummy “Dirt Cups” to go with our nature theme. They were a huge success!

Nature day turned out to be a great day, although I was dissappointed that we had to miss the nature museum. We will make plans to go another day – when we know it will be open! – sometime soon. I’ll post the recipe for the dirt cups as soon as I can – super simple and fun!

Have a wonderful day!

Blessings,
Nancy

Anna’s Ballet Recital

Anna’s first year of ballet lessons culminated a week or so ago in an end of the year ballet recital. It was quite a busy day for us. The day of the recital was also our oldest son, Robert’s 26th birthday, so we started the day by meeting him for pizza at lunchtime. After lunch, we hurried back home with just enough time to dress Anna in her recital dress, put her hair up in a braided bun, and run out the door to her dress rehearsal. Sarah went along with us. We arrived in time for dress rehearsal, and then spent the next few hours enjoying watching all of the different classes practice and admiring their beautiful costumes.

At the end of dress rehearsal, Anna changed back into street clothes and the two girls and I walked down the small town main street to a nearby restaurant. We had such a good time just spending “girl time” and enjoying a delicious and filling Mexican dinner. Soon enough it was time to head back down the street and get Anna dressed up again and ready for the performance. As we waited for curtain time, we were joined by the rest of the family, as well as Anna’s aunt and uncle, who also happen to live just down the street from where we were.

The recital went very well and Anna danced beautifully, as did all of the other dancers. Jeff presented Anna a lovely pink bouquet of flowers at the end and she was all smiles. All of the girls in Anna’s class danced with their baby dolls, so that is why she is holding “Ramona” in this picture.

Soon it was time to leave and we all went down the street again – this time to the old bank building – aka my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s home – for cake and ice cream and a nice visit. Anna kept her costume on the rest of the evening and all the way home. I think she would have slept in it if I would have allowed it!

We arrived home late and tired, but it was a lovely day that I know Anna will always remember.

Blessings,
Nancy

Some random pictures . . .

I finally uploaded the pictures from my phone that I had taken here and there – whenever my “real” camera wasn’t around (although I sometimes think that my phone actually takes better pictures!) Here is some of what I found –

Anna cheerleading in the Upwards program – she is the first one on the back row to the left ~

Michael and Jeff during a basketball game – Jeff coached Michael’s team this year ~

Some pretty ice crystals on the car window – you can tell this was a while back, probably from January or February ~

We saw the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile one day when we were out and about – how fun! ~

Some of the kids playing with toys in a bucket of water on a recent warm day – it was their solution to my “no” about swimming in the too cold big pool ~

My “Grandmama bench” on the front porch – called that because it is identical to one that my Grandmother had on her screened porch – sporting a new pillow for the new outdoor season ~

Pretty jars of homemade Strawberry preserves cooling on the counter ~

Anna and Sarah at American Girl posing in an exhibit for this year’s Doll of the Year ~

A Luna moth on the wall of a building I spotted while out one day ~

I also found some sweet ballet pictures and I have some of Tommy’s skate competition this past weekend, but I’m saving those for posts of their own. Be back soon!

Blessings,
Nancy