Happy Birthday Dad! January 25, 2022

Happy Birthday Dad! January 25, 2022

Over the weekend we were thrilled to spend time with my parents and celebrate my Dad’s birthday! They came and spent time with us on Friday, and then we met up with them and my sister and brother in law on Saturday. We enjoyed a birthday lunch, followed up by a game of bowling! My dad probably won’t appreciate me announcing it was his birthday or putting his picture up. He’s not big on pictures, or facebook, or technology in general, but that’s just my dad! He loves the outdoors! Hunting, fishing, hiking, mowing lawns and yard work. The only exception to being agreeable about his picture is if he has the grandkids in his lap! 🙂 The kids all love Papa! Dad doesn’t look a day over forty! Love you Dad!

Emma wanted to have a tea party with Papa and Nana! She fetched her tea set that she got for Christmas and had them drinking tea and eating graham crackers. 🙂 We also enjoyed the game of monopoly junior together. Anyone who knows my parents knows that they love the monopoly game. When I was a kid we played the full monopoly board game (inventing a few of our own rules along the way 🙂 ). In recent years my parents have become avid monopoly deal players. (If you don’t know, monopoly deal is the playing card version of the monopoly board game.) So Emma was excited to introduce them to Monopoly Junior. It was a big hit!

Leah and Brandon suggested this Mexican restaurant for my Dad’s birthday lunch. The food was fabulous and we all had a fun time. Due to being tipped off about my Dad’s birthday, the restaurant staff brought out a Sombrero, and sung happy birthday. They typically put whipped cream in the face of the birthday individual, but I believe my Dad was saved from that humiliation because he had the grandkids in his lap and around him. 🙂 Dad then let the kids devour his dessert.

Andrew and I have gone bowling less than a handful of times in the past year. I don’t think anyone in our family has gone bowling all that much in recent years. However, there was a time when I was a kid that we went bowling regularly. So much so that my parents bought their own ball and shoes. That’s not to say that we were all that great, but a reflection on how much we loved bowling. 🙂 We had a blast, and I believe a love for bowling was rekindled! 🙂 I don’t typically like to brag, but I had the high score of the game! 🙂

I have added a recipe page to my main menu on my site! I decided to do this because over the years I have blogged about numerous recipe’s. Unfortunately they are mostly lost amongst my blog posts unless you know specifically what to search for. I am going to start adding recipes to the page so all you will have to do is click on a link find it! The first recipe I put up was inspired by Emma! She loves the book Little Ree and there is a recipe in the back called H&R Country Berry Blast Special. She has been asking to make it for some time, and so we made it today! It’s just so cute and fun! I hope you enjoy!

Love

PK

Blog Refresh… January 16, 2022

Blog Refresh… January 16, 2022

Update from previous post: The kids are doing well and have returned to school. Andrew is doing much better and has returned to work which includes early morning PT. I am doing a whole lot better, however I am still struggling with a cough and fatigue. I’m sure being pregnant is not helping me with these issues. I do wish this annoying chest cough would go away soon! I feel like I have had it forever. Otherwise I feel we are all on our way to being healthy again. I am just so tired of this winter and all the sickness around. I want spring time with sunshine, slightly warmer temperatures, and fresh air! Fresh air where we can all go outside and breathe, the kids can play in the dirt, and we can hopefully all stop worrying about viruses and germs!

The last couple weeks we have done our best to enjoy the extended vacation (quarantine) time. We have been cooking, playing games, doing routine housework, and making future plans. I was looking back on previous blog posts because I noticed that I am running low on data storage! HA! Imagine that! I noticed that I have been blogging now for almost five years!!! WHAT?!?!? That is crazy! It doesn’t feel like it at all! I love keeping this blog to look back on! Since it is coming up on five years (not to mention my data storage problem) I figure I need to backup and revamp my blogsite at some point. I would appreciate your input on a particular route. If you have been following and reading regularly, what have you enjoyed the most? What have you found most useful? What do you think my particular niche should be? Is there a certain topic you wish I would focus more on? I have been asking myself all these question the last couple weeks without any real clear answer. So I hope to get some outside input!

Love,

PK

2020-TWO

2020-TWO

Andrew and I have joked that this year sounds like a sequel to the year 2020. It was supposed to be a joke anyway. Then we all got sick. Andrew took a Covid test and it was positive, so the rest of us didn’t bother getting tested because it seemed unnecessary since we all were sick and home at the same time. We avoided Covid for over two years! It’s frustrating that now we happen to get it, after trying to take all the necessary safety measures such as quarantining for a year, wearing masks, and getting vaccinated. We have tried to do all the responsible things. We did feel it was important for everyone to resume a somewhat normal lifestyle within the last five months, so the kids have been going to school again, we have been attending church in person, and we have frequented a few of our favorite restaurants. I know everyone has their own opinions about everything, but we did what we thought was best for our family. I am relieved to say that the symptoms seem to have been fairly mild for us. The kids were sick for literally twenty-four hours. Andrew and I have had a slightly more difficult time in that we still have a lingering cough and some fatigue. I pray that those symptoms will subside soon. In the meantime we are enjoying an extended break together!

We were blessed with snow to help extend school break! This turned out to be a blessing! We all love the snow! Samuel liked it from the inside! 🙂 David and Emma have enjoyed playing outside in it even though it is a powder snow, making it difficult to build snowmen or sled in. The cats were very curious about the white stuff falling from the sky. Fred was more adventurous about going outside than Ethel. He actually went outside and walked through the snow before running back inside. Ethel wouldn’t even go outside. She didn’t like the cold either. Ethel and Samuel felt the same way about it all! 😂

Perhaps it’s because of the way it has started out, but I’m having trouble getting motivated for the New Year! Maybe you could help me out by sharing some of your ambitions, goals, and ideas! I would love to hear them!

Happy 2022! 🙂

PK

Christmas Joys! December 30, 2021

Christmas Joys! December 30, 2021

It is our tradition to wait to put up our Christmas tree on Christmas eve, or as close to as possible. I know this seems odd, but it’s a tradition we enjoy. To us it makes the process much more special, as it is a family event. We prefer to go to a tree farm and have one cut if possible. The thing about waiting so close to Christmas is that it makes every year an adventure! You never know what is going to be available, or how much it is going to cost. Some years we have gotten really nice big trees at tree farms that were fairly expensive, other years we have had smaller (Charlie Brown) trees that were inexpensive. One year Home Depot gave us a tree! Hahahaha! 🙂 This year there seemed to be a shortage of Christmas trees, but we did find a tree farm that had a few left. Other than one of those giant trees, there were a few small trees left. We picked our tree, brought it home, and made it look beautiful!

Another one of our traditions is to drive around and look at Christmas lights. This year we went and walked through the Cumberland River walk downtown. The lights were beautiful, the weather was nice, and we had a lot of fun! There were all kinds of light structures, and the kids wanted to have their picture taken at all of them. 🙂 There was also this house down the street from ours that had lights on a program where you could listen to the radio while you watch. It was spectacular and so much fun!

Baking is one of our traditions. This year we baked cinnamon rolls, Christmas cookies, and a birthday cake for baby Jesus! The cinnamon rolls turned out fantastic! I’m not sure, but I think it’s because I made them in one day. In the past I have made the dough a day or two ahead of time, and then rolled them out. This time I didn’t, and I feel it made for a softer dough. Christmas sugar cookies are fun and delicious! The kids love cutting the cookies out and decorating them, and of course stealing pinches of dough here and there. 😉 I love making this beautiful white, fluffy, coconut cake for Christmas day. We call it baby Jesus’ birthday cake. It reminds me of angels or fluffy snow. 🙂 It’s so dreamy, and I will be making it for many years to come!

On Christmas eve we were blessed to attend church. I say it this way because in years past Christmas eve has been one of the busiest days of the year for Andrew and sometimes myself. This year we didn’t have any pastoral or musician duties. We were simply able to attend! The worship service was very meaningful, and we enjoyed the peaceful evening.

Reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning before we open presents is another one of our traditions. This tradition stems back to my child hood. We did this every year, and it is a very special and meaningful memory to me. I hope it will be for my kids as well.

We enjoy our family tradition of spending Christmas day at home with the kids. We like being able to spend the day with each other. The kids like spending time figuring out their new toys (it usually takes both Andrew and I all morning to help them unbox and “figure out” their toys! Ha!) One of our traditions when we are at home is to order Chinese food for lunch! It keeps us from having to cook! Then we usually cook one big dinner. This year Andrew’s parents were able come on Christmas day! So after we had Christmas morning with the kids, we had Christmas afternoon with G-pa and Grand-mama! Then we all had dinner together that evening. We cooked a roasted beef tenderloin, twice baked potatoes and steamed green beans! Delicious! 🙂

Sunday we drove to my parents house and had Christmas with Papa and Nana! Unfortunately my sister and brother in law didn’t get to come and celebrate with us due to Covid, but we are planning to celebrate with them soon! We had a wonderful Christmas lunch with Dad and Mom, and then the kids opened their gifts. They were all excited about their new scooters and had to go try them out. 🙂 We spent the afternoon playing games, and enjoying the weather outside. The weather has been so warm and pleasant that it has been nice being able to send the kids outside without having to worry about coats, gloves, and hats! We even went for a hike on Monday morning through the woods around my parents house!

We are still celebrating Christmas in that according to the liturgical calendar today is the sixth day of Christmas! We will be celebrating until January 6th!

So Happy Sixth day of Christmas!

Love,

PK

Samuel is 3! December 20, 2021

Samuel is 3! December 20, 2021

My beautiful boy!

Three years ago we had a beautiful baby boy! He has grown to be the most loving, cuddly, sweet boy. He can melt your heart in a second with his charm. He also has the uncanny ability to be ornery, winey, and very temperamental. It’s his charm that’s kept him here so long! Ha! Just kidding;) He loves music, and loves to watch kids music videos on youtube. Whatever David and Emma are doing or playing with, that’s what Samuel wants too! Most days they actually play together very well.

Samuel loves the kids tv show called Umi Zoomi. He wanted to have an Umi Zoomi birthday party. Unfortunately it’s an older show and not as popular. It’s not among the character themes you can find for birthday parties. I did, however, come across the plush characters on amazon. Samuel was thrilled that the Umi Zoomi team showed up at his party! The look on his face was priceless.:) Samuel wanted hot dogs for his birthday lunch, followed by cake and ice cream. I wasn’t thinking when I made Samuel’s cake, that he really only ever wants to eat the ice cream and ends up leaving the cake. If I would have thought of it, I would have made him an ice cream cake! (Note to self for future birthdays!)

We were going to have a big family party, but both Samuel and myself have been under the weather with some kind of respiratory cold. We’ve had it for almost two weeks and are having trouble shaking it. (It’s not Covid, I got tested.) We didn’t want to risk giving it to other family members right before Christmas, I was a little bummed about not getting to have every one here for Samuel’s birthday, but we ended up having a good, fun and relaxing time together.

We bought Samuel a little karaoke radio that plays built in songs, but also has the ability to connect to devices via blue tooth! (I wish that would have been around when I was a kid!) He loves it! He sang jingle bells only about ten times before I couldn’t stand it anymore! 🙂

In the spirit of birthday celebrations and preparing for Christmas we are enjoying the week off together. Today we decorated ginger bread houses! This is the second year for us to do this, and it is so much fun. The kids love it! Samuel still just wants to eat the candy though! 🙂 This year I went with the smaller houses. They didn’t cost as much, plus they don’t take up as much space. They fit on the window ledge perfectly.

Merry Christmas!

PK

“Let Your Heart Be Light” December 15th, 2021

“Let Your Heart Be Light” December 15th, 2021

I have something to admit. I had never before watched the musical Meet Me in St. Louis until this past week! I don’t know how I have gone my whole life without watching this movie! In an attempt to watch something Christmas related I picked this movie, and I was not disappointed! I love Judy Garland for one. Her voice is magnificent, and her singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” was perfect. In the context of the movie, however, everything was anything but perfect. Things were not going their way, and they were not looking forward to moving from St. Louis to New York. It reminded me, that for so many people this is not the best time of year. Whether you are grieving the loss of loved ones, struggling to get by much less afford the frivolities of a very commercialized Christmas, dealing with illness, or whatever the cause, this can often be a sad and stressful time. However, I currently have come to the conclusion that it’s doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. The phrase “Let Your Heart Be Light” Or from the Grinch, “Perhaps Christmas doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas means a little bit more!” gives hint to the fact that Christmas comes from within ourselves. We are in control of the peace, love, and joy in our hearts. My Christmas wish is that everyone can find a little Christmas within themselves this year!

So far the best part of this year’s season of advent has been watching the kids perform in all their Christmas programs. Emma had her first gymnastics recital, David had his piano recital, and both sang in the live nativity at church. It has been so cute and fun watching them perform. I am so glad that they are able to take part in these activities again! They are learning so much. David played an arrangement of Jingle Bells and a piece from one of his method books for recital and did really good. Emma had fun tumbling at her gymnastics recital. They were both so cute at the church cantata, and Emma keeps singing one of the songs they learned. She knows every word! I love that they are memorizing songs and learning what Christmas is about.

Love,

PK

Found It! December 1st, 2021

Found It! December 1st, 2021

The last time I blogged I was lamenting over my emotional state and lack of enthusiasm over the coming Thanksgiving. I was looking for that special something, that spark of emotion, or anything that reminded me of the reason we celebrate and the importance of counting my blessings. While I did have a wonderful Thanksgiving (I will share those memories with you momentarily), I didn’t really find what I was looking for until this past Sunday after Thanksgiving. I found it at church! Imagine that!

We have been attending worship at a Methodist church here in Clarksville. It has been a very new and different experience for all of us. The biggest change is that on most Sundays we are able to sit in worship together, on one pew, as a family. It’s one of the best changes to this new army life, and also the most difficult for Andrew and myself (I really miss playing for worship, and the desire to do so is very strong.). The church is fabulous, and we enjoy the professionality of the staff, the music, everything. I have always felt more spiritual renewal and prayer through music. It’s what speaks to my soul the most. We were singing Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, a hymn I have probably sung hundreds of times, but it hit me Sunday while we were singing.

This has been a very long year with many changes that included tough times and fun times. Andrew was gone almost six months out of this year which is the most we have ever been apart thus far. That made for a very challenging year in itself, not withstanding all the good-byes that had to be said and the loss you feel, all the shuffling about, finally getting settled and adjusting to a new way of life in the midst of a crazy pandemic world. The good is that the kids and I were able to spend a lot of time together traveling. We visited grandparents, lived at the beach for a while, and explored new places together. We have met new people and made new friends. We also learned that we are adding another person to our family soon!

I believe the point is, I was focusing on how tough the year had been, with, in a way, a relief that it is almost over! I forgot to look back and remember all the good, and to see all the blessings. I also lost sight of how Jesus is our true joy, through the good and the not so good.

Emma’s Thanksgiving school lunch! She felt really proud that both Daddy and Mommy were able to be there and have lunch with her! I love my little firecracker!

We had Thanksgiving day with Andrew’s parents! Alesia did all the cooking, and I brought desserts. We all had a fun and relaxing time together. I tried to get the kids to pose for a picture, but David was not feeling very cooperative, and the other two couldn’t stand still long enough. 😀

The kids were so happy to spend special time with Grandparents over the Thanksgiving week. Emma wanted to help G-pa out while he was putting his office desk together. David was also very glad to spend some time with his cousin Robbie! Despite Robbie’s broken ankle, they had fun playing games together.

We then went to my parents house and had another Thanksgiving meal! (I think I was the one who was stuffed!) The food was GREAT thanks to my Mom, Sister, and other taste testers! 😉 I didn’t lift a finger! 🙂 At Papa and Nana’s house the kids like to ride the off road vehicle. They also like to see the chickens, the rabbits, and now Nana has a new cat too! It’s like a petting zoo! They also like playing games with Papa!

Us girls were able to get away and go for a morning of shopping! We love strolling the shops of downtown Dexter! 🙂 Later we met up with Andrew and Samuel who were getting some tea and hot chocolate. 🥰

Our stay ended with lunch at one of the best places on earth! 🙂 It’s full of great food, fun and memories!

Love,

PK

Looking for Thankfulness. November 14th, 2021

Looking for Thankfulness. November 14th, 2021

Lately I feel like it takes all the energy I have to keep the household a float! Andrew has been back in the field this past week, and I have been manning the ship. My main goal during Andrew’s away missions (I have watched too much star trek) is to keep the kids fed, mostly clean, the house from being a total disaster, and to make sure we have some fun during these times. My evening sickness has passed, which is a whole lot to be thankful for! I am still waiting on that second trimester boost of energy though! I am also having the dreaded heartburn and indigestion much earlier in this pregnancy than my others. I occasionally need to remind myself that these things too will pass. My prayers are that in April we will be blessed with another healthy, beautiful little blessing. We are supposed to have another ultrasound in December, and we should be able find out if it’s a boy or girl! I would like to have some kind of gender reveal party this time. Not necessarily for Andrew or myself (Andrew’s not really into that sort of thing), but for the kids. They are already insisting on whether it’s going to be a sister or brother. I think it will be fun to have a little reveal time for them, and catch it on video of course! I’ll have to search Pinterest ideas because I’m not in the loop on what people are doing these days. 🙂

Video chatting with my sweet heart!

Andrew was able to surprise us with a short visit home this weekend! We had dinner last night, and then were able to spend some time together today before he had to go back to the field for another week. The kids loved having some one on one time with daddy while he was home. Samuel wanted to sit next to Andrew while playing his game. David and Andrew played video games together. Emma was eager to show Andrew her art work, and the toys she had bought from the dollar tree. (The kids and I made an impromptu visit to the dollar tree that day. They like to pick out a couple toys to buy with their own money.)

😍

The kids love pizza and movie time. It’s one of the things we do at least once a week while Andrew is gone. Most of the time we order in, but sometimes I like to buy the individual pizza crusts and let the kids make their own pizza. They love making their own pizzas! It’s another fun thing to do.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I know I am blessed beyond words, and I have much to be grateful for. Maybe it’s because I am feeling exhausted, but I am not in the Thanksgiving spirit this year. I’m not totally sure why. I am going to pray that I will come around and find a sort of spirit of gratitude, even if it’s without my usual exuberance! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,

PK

My Baby Girl is 5!

My Baby Girl is 5!

Emma is 5!

Can’t believe my beautiful baby girl is now five years old! Excuse me while I go get a tissue! I just don’t know how this has happened. Emma is very imaginative, creative, and artistic. I joke that she is just like her Auntie Leah, but it’s not really a joke. She is just like my sister when it comes to fashion, and her artistic abilities! I’m a little jealous because somehow I missed out on the artistic/fashion gene.:) Emma is very independent and has no problem being her own little person. Emma loves my little pony lately, and so she wanted a my little pony birthday party. It also happens that the costume she picked out for Halloween was a Rainbow dash dress with the wings, ears, and rainbow hair piece. She loved it! She felt so beautiful in it! 🙂 She wore it all day on her birthday too! I don’t know if it will continue, but it has been a trend the last few years that whatever theme Emma is into for her birthday also ends up being the costume she picks for Halloween, and so she wears it for both. I think it’s super cute, and at least she gets double use out of her costumes.

Andrew and I try to take turns spending one on one time with the kids. David and I went out for a “lunch date” not too long ago. Andrew wanted to take Emma out on a daddy/daughter date for her birthday. Emma loves Japanese food, and so Andrew took her to one of our new favorite Japanese restaurants. I think she felt pretty special having one on one time with daddy. Especially when the restaurant brought her her own special dessert.

While they were gone to lunch, I put up a few party decorations, and got things ready for her party later that evening. The weather was cold and rainy that evening so we couldn’t have the fire pit, but Andrew was still able to light up the grill. We had roasted hot dogs and chili for dinner. Followed by cake and ice cream of course! We all had a fun time celebrating Emma! She wanted to have games at her party, and so I did my best to come up with some things to do indoors. Grand-mama brought beads, and they made my little pony necklaces and bracelets. I then had some tattoos that they put on as “cutie” marks. (If you happen to know anything about my little pony…the ponies have to learn what their cutie mark is.) Then we played the old favorite of pin the tail on the “pony”.

Emma’s birthday and Halloween are only a couple days apart. In fact, the day we came home from the hospital when she was born, I was handing out Halloween candy to trick or treaters while Andrew had taken David trick or treating! Looking back on that I should have left the bucket of candy outside the door! I love handing out candy to trick or treaters, and so I probably didn’t want to miss out on the fun. 🙂

On Saturday we carved pumpkins! After the tops were safely removed from the pumpkins, the kids each had to clean out their own pumpkin. This is a big deal for several members of our family, because they can’t stand the feel of messy hands! 🙂 Andrew being number one on that list, probably followed by David. Samuel got his pumpkin cleaned out first, with a little help from Grand-mama. 😉 Emma insisted on cleaning hers out by herself, and with a little prodding David cleaned his out too. Andrew is currently the carver of the family. The kids pick out the designs they want on their pumpkin, and then Andrew does the carving. I did mine however. 😉

The finished pumpkin carving results! We would have had one more pumpkin, but one was rotten when we cut it open, so I claimed the little bit pumpkin. 🙂 From left to right: Samuel wanted a sad face pumpkin, Emma wanted a squinty eyed pumpkin, David wanted a scary pumpkin, Andrew’s pumpkin is from the original Halloween movie, and mine is the question mark pumpkin with Emma and Samuel’s pink and blue hand prints on each side. 💗

The kids had a blast trick or treating! David was the grim reaper, Samuel was baby shark, and Emma was Rainbow Dash. I have never seen so many trick or treaters! It’s a good thing I had extra candy! David had a giant bag of candy he collected at a trunk or treat the few days before. He was very generous and offered to give it up for other trick or treaters. (He already had a whole bucket of candy from trick or treating anyway.) There’s no way we are going to eat all the candy around here! How long do you let it hang around? What do you do with excess candy? I would love to hear some thoughts. I usually end up putting up in a ziploc bag for Easter or next Halloween.

Love,

PK

Four Little Pumpkins! October 27, 2021

Four Little Pumpkins! October 27, 2021

We have a tradition of taking the kids to the pumpkin patch to pick out their pumpkins to carve for Halloween. It is always a great time and I look forward to it every year! We have been to all kinds of Pumpkin patch farms over the last several years. Some could literally be all day affairs with petting zoos, mazes, playgrounds, rides, pumpkin patches, etc.! While others have been a simple pumpkin patch. Either way, it is always a lot of fun! I love watching the kids excitement as they wander around the patch looking for the “perfect” pumpkin! David always wants the biggest pumpkin he can find. Emma looks for the prettiest pumpkin she can find. I don’t know yet what Samuel’s philosophy is, but he wanted to pick out two or three! I had to help him choose one, and then I told him we would pick out a tiny pumpkin for the baby. I plan on painting that pumpkin half pink half blue and carving a question mark in it. 🙂

There was also a beautiful field of sunflowers!! I LOVE sunflowers! I want to grow some in our back yard! The kids love them too, and like watching the bees buzzing all around them. Samuel wanted to pick some sunflowers too, but I had to tell him they were just for taking pictures. 🙂

After the pumpkin patch we went to find costumes for Halloween! The kids are really excited about dressing up, and of course their favorite thing of all, candy!

Sunday after church there was a fall festival with food, games, and more candy! The kids had a blast! They love playing the games and seeing how much candy they can collect. This is Samuel’s first real fall/Halloween experience as we didn’t do any of these activities last year. We did go to the pumpkin patch last year and had a great time with cousins, but we didn’t trick or treat or go to any fall festivals. So playing all the little games and getting candy was pretty marvelous to Samuel! I can’t wait to see their reactions Sunday evening when they dress up and go trick or treating!

Another holiday tradition for us is watching the Charlie brown specials. One used to be able to look them up and watch or rent them at the least, but now they are in some kind of apple vault! Which is really disappointing to me, but I digress. We did catch it on PBS Sunday evening and made it a family dinner/movie event! It felt like the old days when you actually had to plan and purposefully sit down to watch something! The kids loved it! I might have loved it just as much!

Love,

PK