Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate fixes everything...

"All you really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

~Lucy Van Pelt, Infamous Peanuts Character~

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Photo Hunt: Squeaky

The theme for this week's PhotoHunt is squeaky! This door is a perfect example -- I know exactly when the door is opened and closed to send the dogs outside!

Visit tnchick to see more PhotoHunt masterpieces!! I love all of the different photos~

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Sun and Blue Skies~

After today's snow storm, it was GREAT to see the sun and blue sky!

STUCK in the snowglobe again -- who keeps shaking it?!

We have had major snow falling for the past few hours. It's coming down so fast with HUGE's like someone is shaking the snowglobe non stop!! Look for yourself.... and then dream with me about yesterday's post!

view off of the front porch

my car's out there!

the backyard swing

bird bath and dogs' piddle path maze

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts of Spring...

....and pictures of the spring flowers....might keep me going til the snow melts here! I know they're under the snow somewhere and will come out to greet me when the timing is right~

Enjoy these beautiful pictures, compliments of FreeFoto.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gratitude Friday list...

1. As much as I'm tired of it, the beauty of the snow! The sun was out for about 20 minutes today and the snow glistened with all of the crystally flakes.

2. The animals that surround me! "Dogpiling" on the couch has a whole new meaning when there's four dogs on the couch with me....I definitely stay warmer with them!

3. The wonderful extended family I have -- my aunts, uncles and cousins are the greatest! (We don't get to experience Zimmer family get together this year due to the snow storm and pass condtions. I will miss seeing everyone!)

4. Friends who stop by just because! I was blessed with de-icer this week~ how fun to turn on the tea kettle when friends stop by.

5. A full cupboard and pantry of food, a refrigerat0r/freezer full of food & being able to share with our neighbors in need.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lessons from "Marley and Me"

A quote from "Marley and Me"

(by author John Grogan)

"What I really wanted to say was how this animal touched our souls and taught us some of the most important lessons of our lives. A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exhuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things. As he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly he taught me about friendship, selflessness and above all else, unwavering loyalty."

Simply said today...

Froehliche Weihnachten!

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dec 24, 1983 Our Engagement!

Today is our 25th engagement anniversary!
Here's a glimpse into the past from our scrapbook -- Christmas Eve 1983!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Holy Night!

We sang "O Holy Night!" on Saturday night at church and I just sat to listen to the words (My hubbie was singing next to me & his voice sounds AMAZING with this song!!! So I was quiet and listened!) There's two lines that touched my heart -- "Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices" and "The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our friend!"

I really thought about the words..... the weary soul rejoices and He was born to be our friend! How many of you can relate to these words today? Take heart and rejoice in our friend, Jesus!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Scenes from the Beautiful Pacific Northwest!

~Happy First Day of Winter~

Spokane: Kerri's bird bath!

Olympia: Laura's birdhouse

Portland: Wendy's Love Seat

Hansville: my mom's windmill

Yummy snowed-in Blueberry French Toast

Good morning! Another snowy day in Spokane and I'm not going anywhere today. I looked in my cookbooks and my cupboards to see which things would match to make a yummy breakfast for the three of us. This is what I came up, courtesy of Gooseberry Patch "Farmhouse Christmas", and it was wonderful! Two pieces of blueberry french toast, bacon and orange juice made for a great snowy Sunday morning breakfast. (see the end of this post to get the review from the boys!)

Blueberry French Toast
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 Tblsp cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 Tblsp water, divided
3 eggs, beaten
6 slices bread**
2 Tblsp butter, melted
cinnamon sugar

Place blueberries in a 13 x 9 pan. Blend cornstarch, orange juice, sugar and 1/2 cup of water together and place over blueberries. In shallow dish or pie pan, beat eggs and 3 Tblsp of water together. Dip slices of bread in egg mixture, allowing bread to absorb eggs and then place on top of blueberries. Brush bread with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and blueberries are bubbly and thickened.

** I used Poulsbo Bread (I grew up in the Poulsbo area!) I also needed more than 3 eggs because of the bigger bread. I will cook it a little bit longer than 20 minutes next time I make this recipe, but I am thinking it's one of my new breakfast favorites!! We'll see what the boys say...if it gets a thumbs up, it's a keeper.

WOW -- they both came in and said it's more than a five thumbs up recipe! Ian didn't like the nuts that are in the Poulsbo bread but that's easily fixed for next time if he's here! That's all the bread I have at the moment, though, and I can eat Poulsbo bread anytime, anywhere.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Cookie Rules

Christmas Cookie Rules
(from my Dallas/Ft Worth friend Lisa, who is the cookie baking monster during the holidays!)

1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.

2. If you drink a diet soda after eatingyour second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.

3. If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calories free, rule#1 is yours also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.

4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many caloriesto lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!

7. Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street"have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel

8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.

9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!

10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It's a rule!

I ALWAYS trust Lisa with her words of wisdom!! I'm sure Fitness Boot Camp is happening right after Christmas, huh?

2008 Christmas Picture!

Cross that task off of the list -- thanks to Costco, I ordered my Christmas cards in my jammies and I can pick them up today at noon! Here's what I decided to go with -- since it was Mr. York's Air Force retirement in May, I wanted to do an official Air Force family photo! I had the photo cropped and then placed onto a patriotic photo card. I think it'll work (it better cuz I just ordered 100 of them!) and I will be able to get the cards out in Monday's mail. I hope the kids are happy because I didn't make them dress in anything matching or Christmasy -- just one happy Air Force family after 24 years of active duty service!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gratitude Friday List...

Another day off from school because of the big snow storm! Christmas break has officially started here. Hmm, what to do, what to do? First, grab one of my Christmas Village mugs out of the cupboard and fill it up with Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee. I think there's creamer in the fridge (sorry, no Reddi Whip yet!) ....and then you can sit down to read my Gratitude List. Please add your own Gratitude list to mine~ after all, it's Company Girl Coffee time!

1. Laughter! You should see the puppies run as fast as they can through the house and then belly slide under the couch. Stay out of their way -- they're quick. You have to see them in their snow maze, too. Mr. York and I created a maze for them in the backyard. They don't like the snow but they love running through the maze and snow flying everywhere.

2. The US Postal Service! I LOVE getting snail mail, anytime of the year. But yesterday was a sad day because the mail didn't get delivered because of the snow. Those poor people! I think I'm going to make some brownies in a little bit to give to my wonderful mailman when he arrives around 3 pm, 4 pm or maybe even 5 pm today. (Hmm, no mail at all!)

3. My kids! They're coming home for the holidays~ one from a teaching job five hours away from us and the other one hopefully flying in from college in CA. We haven't been together for Christmas for three years. Mr. York and I were in Germany for the last two Christmases.

4. Friends who truly know what the little things mean to me-- papertowels and Starbucks delivery to me today!! I still can't get out of my drive way nor have I tried. I've had enough exercise of shoveling snow to last me for a bit. So I was very thankful for the delivery~ I know, how'd they get here?

5. last gratitude item ends on a bittersweet note: Today would have been our friend Uwe's 45th b'day. He and his beautiful wife Veronika lived next door to us in Germany -- they were our family and we spent so many fun moments with them over the two years!! He passed away unexpectedly in October and I know that he is very much missed today. Would you please remember Veronika and the boys in prayer? We love them tons and wish we could be with them in Germany during this holiday season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where's my one horse open sleigh???

Hmm, haven't seen it and I NEED it! I don't think I saw it in my garage this summer when we were cleaning out things, but I don't have a horse, either! Crum....I need that one horse and an open sleigh!!

We have so much snow here that I can't even get out of my driveway. We have set a new record for a 24 hour period of snowfall here in the beautiful Pacific NW (23.5" inches!!!) -- the old record was set back in 1984. Mr. York and I were newlyweds and boy, do we remember that winter!! We'd never seen so much snow. He would come in from the flightline after working all night, smelling of de-icer and he'd be freeeeeezing as he crawled into bed. We lived in the tiniest and coldest single wide mobile trailer. Hehehe, did I mention we were newlyweds?!? Perhaps love kept us warm and alive that winter!

I'm going to see if I can find some big carrots and maybe I can coax a horse to plod down my street -- I've got to get to Walmart! I'm out of paper towels (for those puppy accidents since they don't seem to appreciate the a-mazing piddle path I dug out for them in the backyard!) and my friend at 2nd cup of Coffee says that Walmart has Reddi Whip in many different flavors. (wait, she says there's only "wonderful" and "wonderful chocolate". I thought the whole door was full of Reddi Whip and then I looked again, just the front of the door!) I'm missing out -- I need it for my hot chocolate and lattes! I ran out of coffee in the house earlier but I remembered that I had two pounds of Starbucks Christmas Blend beans in the car -- I got Mr. York to wade out to the car for that necessary 4th cup of coffee today!!
ps My friend Charlotte just called -- today she lives an hour away (usually a half hour!) and she has TWO horses!! Bummer she can't loan me one~ School is closed again tomorrow and I could go on a long sleigh ride to meet up with girlfriends for coffee! Where is that sleigh?!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When it comes to snow...

“When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels”

SNOW!!!!!!!!! Both here in Spokane and in Portland. Lots of it! Hubbie is out shoveling and I'm thinking about making a snow angel.
This picture is from my girlfriend's house in Portland.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taking the Day Off!

Taking today off! But I want to say thank you to Holly at Hog Wild About Stamping! She presented me with my first award today!! Thanks, Holly! I haven't posted ONE stamping item yet, but perhaps I'll get busy in that department, too.

I decided that I needed to take today off and re-group. Not sure what that entails yet -- do I just crawl back into bed and sleep the day away? Do I clean the house from top to bottom and then finally put some Christmas decorations up? Do I shop for presents? Do I bake for my family? Do I meet up with a friend for coffee? I first spend time with the Lord and see what His plans are for me today? I think I'm going to choose the latter. It might be a much productive day!!! Do any of you remember the song by Sarah Groves called "How is it Between Us?"

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed, The wrong side of the room, The wrong side of the world Can't put my finger on the mood. It's not melancholy, anger or the blues. I love my husband, my house, my job. Couldn't be any better, and really what else is there? Then I realize I'm forgetting God, and that's the root of all my misery. Lord, first of all, how is it between You and me?
CHORUS:How is it between us? How is it between us? When did I talk to You last, and what has happened since? How is it between us? How is it between us? When did I talk to you last, and what has happened?

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's A Wonderful Christmas with Michael W Smith

Michael W. Smith's concert was amazing tonight! A definite uplifter for me -- he sang a tiny bit of "Friends!",too. That song always gets me. So, I included it on my playlist for you to enjoy~

I've already purchased this Christmas CD -- it's awesome! Now to get his newest CD titled "A New Hallelujah."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Smelling Coffee...with friends!

My words of wisdom friend Jennifer at Smelling Coffee shared an amazing devotion this morning on her blog! I won't change anything but just share the Bible verses with you here because the devotion was exactly what I needed for the type of week I've had!! Grabbing my latte' and reading this devotion again...thanks, Jennifer!

"The Lord is in the midst of thee. -- Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. -- Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. -- The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing. -- Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." from Daily Light on the Daily Path.
Zephaniah 3:15 -- Isaiah 41:10 -- Isaiah 35:3-4 -- Zephaniah 3:17-- Psalm 27:14

The song "I'm smelling coffee..." is running through my head great it is to have Coffee friends!! (Company Girl Coffee link)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gratitude Friday List...

on Saturday. I didn't have a very gratitude attitude last night. In fact, I still don't but I'm thankful for friends who come alongside me and love me right where I'm at!

1. Friends who are available for a big cup of coffee during the busy season
2. Friends who send notes of encouragement
3. Friends who love me through thick and thin times
4. Friends who will take time for a walk in the freshly fallen snow or whatever season it is!
5. Friends who pray for me
6. Friends whom I'm glad to call my friend! (that one brought a smile to my face!)

I'll work on the gratitude attitude!!

Simple Things

At tonight's church service, we sang this song from Lincoln Brewstser "Love the Lord." Well, these lyrics seemed to speak directly to me. Four very simple and direct things for me to do.

I will love You.
I will praise You.
I will serve You, Lord.
I will trust You, Lord.

Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Now, why is it so hard to do these things? Especially trusting!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How to Make a Snow Angel!

How to make a snow angel: The creation of the snow angel is a simple process. The first step is to find snow, preferably a smooth, powdery, virgin area about two yards in diameter. Slushy or icy snow is unacceptable, not only it it harder to move efficiently, it also has a risk of soaking through the clothes. The next step is to lie supine, spread-eagled in the center of the snow, the limbs are then swept back and forth, creating a trough through the snow, when it's finished, the snow angel should have the apperance of an angel, the arms forming wings, and the legs forming a gown. From Wikipedia

I'll be making my own snow angel soon enough here in the beautiful Inland Northwest (we're getting lots of snow tonight!) but here's an image to give you a glimpse of tomorrow's activities at my house:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Grow Weary...

Galation 6:9 says "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

I'm weary. I'll admit it, it was a very tough guest teaching job on Monday. When I read this verse, I told myself I won't ever get tired, I'll continue to give 200% no matter where I am teaching beause the kids deserve the best I have to give to them.

But tonight, I'm overtired and crawling into my jammies to escape into my warm bed. I really could use an Aaron and Hur to hold up my arms. "When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset." (Exodus 17:12)

I LOVE my job of being an educator...just learning the balance is a new thing for me! I really need my friends around to help me remember this. I could use my friends tonight.

The song "I get by with a little help from my friends" sure is true!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap

Tracy P of The Journey is hosting a Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap! Here's my recipe and be sure to click on Tracy's link to see all of the other wonderful cookie recipes.
Miniature Peanut Butter Treats
Kerri (Latte' Buddies!)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
36 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Combine butter, sugars, egg, peanut butter and vanilla in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add flour, soda and salt. Roll into small balls (walnut size) and place in miniature muffin pans. Make an indention with thumb in each cookie. Bake for 8-9 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven. Immediately place 1 peanut butter cup in each. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Gently twist to remove from pan. Cool on rack. Makes 36 cookies

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Remembering Pearl Harbor -- December 7, 1941

As an American, a recently retired Air Force wife and an elementary school teacher, I try to remember these types of days! I was bothered that I didn't remember today's significance until I was reading the paper tonight.

I was doing some research about the day and I found a blog that touched my heart -- Robert Stein shared his memories about the day he heard the news of Pearl Harbor. As I read his blog, I thought about my father-in-law who served in the Pacific during WWII. What sacrifices the Greatest Generation gave to their country! Thank you, Mr. Stein, for sharing today! I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog this evening.

Another story I found is written for the Washington Post. The following is from Rear Adm. Ted Walker, who spoke at a wreath laying ceremony at the US Naval Memorial to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the attack. It brought the impact of December 7, 1941, much more closer to home for me as I read these words:

"For those of you who are in the audience and don't remember Pearl Harbor but do remember 9/11, just remember the unity of the American people after that terrible event," he told the crowd of several dozen people. "Double it or triple it, and you will see what the impact of Pearl Harbor was on this nation."

2008 Advent Blog Tour

My blog friends at The Written World and Reading Adventures have a wonderful month of blog tours for the Advent season! Click on one of their names to begin your tour...each day different blogs are visited! Such creativity out there and I love reading about different holiday traditions. I was blessed to be one of the bloggers on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) and it was fun to have people from around the world visit my website. I hope you have as much fun as I do visiting others' websites, too.

Sick Snifferdoodle...Update!!

Yesterday Ubu, one of our puppies, was taken to Pet Emergency because he just was not his normal bouncing beagle self. Turns out he has a bacterial infection so he's being treated with antibiotics and such. We're so glad it wasn't parvo!! Hopefully we get to pick him up today. That little guy has wiggled himself into our hearts in just two short weeks. His buddy, Dieter, misses him terribly, too!

Update: Ubu's home and doing well! He'll be on meds for a few days and a bland diet to make sure his tummy doesn't start having problems again. Here's a picture of the welcome home -- Ubu is in the box, checking it out just because. Dieter's giving him a kiss!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Ever since we lived in Germany, we have kept the tradition of St. Nicholas alive and well in our house. The kids still put their shoes out on the eve of December 6th. We laughed this year because neither one of them live at home anymore. St. Nicholas still found them, though. Bring on the German chocolates and treats! I think Mr. York and I will have some traditional German food for dinner, too.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gratitude Friday List...

sunset from Five Mile Prairie in Spokane tonight!

I'll start the morning out with a few things I'm thankful for and probably add to it after I get home from teaching this afternoon!

1. big cup of hot coffee and my husband who makes it for me every morning! (it's cold in the house this morning!)

2. a furnace that works. Our oil company takes GREAT care of it for us!! Thanks, Banner Fuel.

3. continual guest teaching jobs for the past three weeks!

4. my blogging friends that I've met just since I've started my own blog!

5. my church, Life Center North! They had a wonderful Volunteer Appreciation Night for everyone who serves at the church. Thanks for the laughs, LCN staff. Everything was perfect!! I love my church~

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Cure for the Common Life!

I'm always searching for a cure of some sort, whether it be for multiple sclerosis, "ungroupable" moments, an upset tummy, too much month and empty checkbook or a cold that the kiddos gave me. Another great reminder for me today when I saw this quote on another blog. It's from Max Lucado: "Use your uniqueness (what you do) to make a big deal out of God (why you do it) every day of your life (where you do it)."

Two thoughts: I don't know about you, but I get weary of searching. Can my heart just be content with where I am right now? And, how I can use my uniqueness today and every day?

Time to Decorate?

Everyone else has been busy decorating and I have yet to put anything out!! The two snifferdoodles (aka beagle puppies Ubu and Dieter) and the terrorist kitten (aka Klaus) are the busiest little guys ever and I don't think much would be safe this year! However, I have seen some cute decorations when I've been at some of my guest teaching schools. I saw one yesterday that I loved so I am going to try to re-create it -- a big glass/plastic jar with a red ribbon tied at the mouth of the jar. Inside: everything green, red, white and gold....buttons of all shapes and sizes, jingle bells, etc. I'm going to have to look at it again to see what else was in it and sneak a picture, too, to post. It was so simple and very me! It'll go perfect on top of the piano~ safe!

ps I think I will search through Grandma Zimmer's button boxes; I'm sure there's Christmasy ones! I love going through those boxes --what a fun way to remember her during this Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Doing Everything Readily and Cheerfully!

This morning I was reading Philippians 2. I thought I'd share it with you. It was a "smack on the head" reminder for me to not be complaining or arguing.

From The Message: "Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I'll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing." Philippians 2:14-16

Jim Brickman concert

Last night we went to see Jim Brickman in concert! Amazing~ he's so talented and I could listen to his music forever. Now, if I could just win the Escape Cruise that's scheduled for the end of January....doesn't that sound heavenly? Jim Brickman, a cruise to Carribean Islands of Aruba, Curacoa, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas when it's so cold here in Spokane and relaxation! Perhaps I'll see if my fairy godmother will grant this wonderful gift! If you get a chance to see Jim's Holiday Homecoming Tour, go!!! It's a great way to get into the Christmas spirit!