Time Away and Two Hearts Inn

In October, our church graciously showered us with love for “Pastor Appreciation Month”. It was quite an unexpected surprise. We feel loved by our church family each and every time we see them, but this was certainly a blessing.

One family gave me and Terry a gift certificate to spend a night away at the Two Hearts Inn, a bed and breakfast, in Edmond, Oklahoma. They also recommended that we eat at a restaurant they love called Texas de Brazil. While my mother was visiting us for Christmas she watched the children so we could go on this little getaway.

Before our check-in time, we visited a bookstore in Oklahoma City called Full Circle Books. It was the most charming bookstore I’ve ever visited! We also visited the mall – which was crazy-busy due to the holiday rush.

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Every room had these wonderful rolling ladders! We only bought two books here, but the temptation to buy more was real! After this, we visited Barnes & Noble and then headed to Two Hearts Inn.

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You can select different suites at the Two Hearts Inn. We chose the “Suite Hearts” room. It’s lovely, with almost every imaginable amenity.

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The hot tub had a gas log fireplace above it. It kept the room warm enough that we didn’t need to have the central heat on in the room.

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There was a large screen TV, and this very interesting couch – it was comfortable, but hard to get out of!

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There was a stocked fridge and lots of goodies to snack on.

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They were kind enough to leave us this cheesecake dessert free of charge. It was delicious!

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Coffee, tea, and snacks, and don’t forget the wine glasses (no, we did not drink wine or champagne, but they did have sparkling water!).

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I’d never used a shower like this one – it was like a rain shower, the water came down from the center.

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My first time to stay in a hotel that had robes!

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The view from the balcony.

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Selfie with the view.

For supper, we ate at Texas de Brazil, another first for me – a restaurant that required reservations! This restaurant offered a salad bar with all kinds of unique things on it: salmon, sushi, paper-thin pineapple slices, potatoes, cheese, the list is endless! The male servers all dressed in Brazilian attire and carried the meat around the restaurant on skewers. If you wanted some, they would stop and slice it for you, and you take it with the tongs provided at your table. Each time we got up to get something from the salad bar, our server came and folded our napkins for us. We sampled lamb, filet mignon, some type of Brazilian steak (which was my favorite), and Terry tried some sausage and pork. And they offered us more! We finally ran out of room. They also brought us mashed potatoes, fried bananas and some cheese rolls. It was so delicious. We are both hoping to make this an annual tradition. haha!

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I tried my first sushi! It was really delicious! The restaurant was dark, so it was hard to get good photos.

The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast in the sunroom at Two Hearts Inn. Terry ordered strawberry waffles and I simply got the plain ones. They gave us these delicious cranberry scones served with lemon butter -wow! I wish I had just ordered a plate of those! They were so good.

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I loved the dishes!

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Love his smile in this one!

After breakfast, we visited two other bookstores and then headed home.

It was a wonderful trip made possible by some sweet and thoughtful friends. I certainly felt spoiled and very undeserving of this time alone with my husband. This holiday was nicer than our honeymoon. The Lord has brought us a long way in 19 years, and I give Him all the glory! Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me.

And thank you, friends, for reading.

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Merry Christmas {2016}

It’s hard to believe that it’s already Christmas again! It’s been a very busy and exciting year. The Lord has brought us through some trials and granted us a multitude of blessings, many of which I have written about here. Thank you for sharing them with me, for reading and for commenting.

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Merry Christmas from Oklahoma!

With love,

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Fun Fridays with Mom

We, like most people, live busy lives. As a homeschooling mom, you would probably assume that I spend a lot of time with my children. I do, but it’s always time-with-a-purpose. I’m teaching them school, or how to do a chore, or talking to them about the upcoming activities, or correcting them. I rarely spend “fun time” with them. Before our schedule became so packed, I would take a different child grocery shopping with me each week. We would talk and they got to pick out a few of their favorite things for the week (like cereal or yogurt). Life required an adjustment to this routine and therefore, we no longer have this one-on-one time.

I had really missed our shopping trips so I instituted a new thing: “Fun Fridays with Mom”. Each Friday, I take a different child to lunch, their choice of restaurant (fast food). If we have time after lunch, we will go look in a store for something, go to the library, or get a Starbucks drink.  It’s not a time for me to lecture them on something or teach them something, it’s just a relaxing time with them alone. I have enjoyed being able to focus on each of them individually this way; to be able to listen instead of talk.

I haven’t taken a photo every week (because I forget sometimes), but I did get one of each of the kids the first time we did this. I took them in birth order, so Lauren was first.

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Lauren and I went to Dairy Queen together for the very first “Fun Friday with Mom”. The weather was pleasant  enough for us to eat outside!

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Mitchell asked for Greek food, then we went to K-Mart to do some clothes shopping for him.

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Leslie picked Chik-Fil-A and then shopping at Goodwill. (She is very good at putting outfits together!)

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Laci also picked Chick-Fil-A and then we went to the mall to find her an autumn church dress. (I took Leslie and Lauren at anther time.)

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Matt picked Wendy’s and then we went to Walmart so he could spend some of his savings on this:

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If they start up the draft again, Matt is ready!

It’s been a hectic few months with homeschooling, co-op, church secretarial work, and housework. Add in a kid getting hit by a car, some sickness, and the death of our family pet and you could say it’s been downright difficult. The Lord has been so gracious to hold us up through all of the ups and downs. We are bountifully blessed!

It may be a crazy life, but it sure is a wonderful one.

With love,

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Resurrection Day {2016}

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday! We certainly did. But of course, any Sunday that I get to hear my favorite preacher (my fabulous husband, in case you’re new here), is a great Sunday. I thought I would drop in and share a few Easter photos for our close friends and family. My only sorrow about living in Oklahoma is that so far, none of our family members have seen the tremendous benefit to life in the Sooner state. They want to live in places like Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas, Texas, and North Carolina. I am hoping and praying that they soon come to their senses. 😉 In the meantime, I’m so thankful for technology that enables us to share photos instantly.

It was a cold and blustery start to the day here, so we took our photos inside.

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What a blessing to get to worship the Lord in freedom today. The greatest freedom is found in the redeeming work of Christ, which He completed when He rose from the dead on the third day, Resurrection Day. I pray that you, too, have experienced this great freedom. If not, I encourage you to visit this page for more information.

Thank you so much for visiting me here at my online home. I hope you have a wonderful week!

With love,

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Welcome, 2016!

Happy New Year, friends! What a blessing to awaken to another year of life on this Earth. I am enjoying spending a the day at home with my family. My mother arrived on Wednesday and we are happy to have her company for a few days. I really love my husband, my children and my church, but sometimes, there is a strong desire to go home. You know, that place where all of your cares melt away and life seems worth living again? Yes, that place. Thankfully, I visit often, even if it is only in my dreams. Having Mom here is like having my home come to me.

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We got a selfie stick! Here’s our first attempt at using it. Happy New Year from our home to yours!

Each year, I make a Bible reading plan of some kind. Last year, I used the Robert Murray M’Cheyne schedule. This year, I’m going to try out a new thing: The One Year Bible. It’s a Bible that is already divided into daily readings. There is an Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs passage for each day of the year. I used it today and it is very different. I do admit that it doesn’t feel like reading a Bible, since it’s paperback. Also, I miss Scofield’s reference notes which are quite helpful. I do think it’s good to change things up, though. It’s far too easy to slip into a rote, mindless reading of the Bible. I do not want to do that. I want to ask questions and search for answers; I want to be alert and gain all I can from the Word of God. I hope this new system will help me to learn more.

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I have changed out my 2015 calendars for my 2016 ones. Hard to believe another year is in the books. It is a comfort to know that God can take all that I have done, yes, even my mistakes, and use it for His honor and glory. I pray He will do just that.

I have been mulling over New Year’s resolutions, and have decided to concentrate on only one thing, which I might share at some later time. I decided to focus on only one resolution after reading this article by Mr. Tim Challies. You might enjoy it, too.

I hope you are having a relaxing day, or had one, depending on where you are in the world. It was exciting to see a report from WordPress that last year I had folks from 127 different countries visit my site! Maybe someday I’ll get to visit one of them myself.

Happy New Year!

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Fall Fun

We have had a busy autumn. I just wanted to drop by and share a few photos of what we’ve been up to:

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We had the chance to meet the cow at Chick-Fil-A! We enjoyed eating supper there as a family for a fundraiser for our homeschool group. I love the kids’ faces in this photo. 🙂

a00e5dac-e4dc-485e-bad9-7fc182e887c2Leslie made a pumpkin “snowman”, which I thought was so cute and creative.

e02e28ae-9a59-4531-9e40-0a432dff6094She used a marker to decorate it and two brass fasteners for the eyes.

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Matthew made some cute Thanksgiving art projects. Here he is in the Indian headband.

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The Indian yell.

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He made the Mayflower, a Pilgrim, and Indian, and a teepee.

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He also got to make a Pilgrim boy hat, which wasn’t his favorite, but he let me take a photo for my memory book…I mean, blog. 🙂

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It turns out that art projects make great toys. Buzz Lightyear came to visit the Mayflower! Who knew?!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

With love,

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Happy {Cranberry} Thanksgiving!

I first read this charming story to Lauren when she was just four years old. Terry and I had decided to homeschool her and I jumped right in with pre-school using Before Five in a Row, a literature based unit study. I had never read many of the books used in this program, so when we found Cranberry Thanksgiving at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, I was instantly taken with the sweet story and cute drawings. We made the reading of this story a tradition every Thanksgiving since then, checking it out of a library near us each year. I only recently was able to get my very own copy.

I have no idea why it took us so long, but this year, we actually made the cranberry bread that is the focal point of the story! The recipe is on the back of the book. I can only wonder if maybe I was intimidated at the idea of chopping cranberries? Or maybe I meant to do it, but the busyness of the holiday season caused me to forget? I don’t know, but I do know this: it’s never too late to start a new tradition! Lauren is a long way from four years old, but she enjoyed this tangy sweet bread along with the rest of us.

Matthew and I read this book a few nights ago, and I eyed the recipe anew. “I can do this.” I said. Matthew agreed and then proceeded to remind me every day. I added the ingredients to my list and took the plunge. Laci helped us, too.

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Here’s the recipe. Of course, you can’t fully appreciate it unless you read the book, but you can always make the bread first. 🙂

Ingredients:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

Directions:

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.

Spoon into greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.

If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.

My notes:

I didn’t have a flour sifter, so I used a whisk to aerate the dry ingredients. I “sifted” the flour, measured it, then I measured out the other dry ingredients, sifted them, and stirred them all together with a whisk. I also didn’t use the orange peel. The main reason was that our store didn’t have oranges. I was going to use the peel from a tangerine, but I didn’t really have the right tool for grating it, so I omitted that altogether. I used fresh cranberries and regular raisins. It came out just fine, despite my modifications.

I hope you’ll be able to meet Maggie, Grandmother, Mr. Horace, and Mr. Whiskers – and enjoy some cranberry bread! – this Thanksgiving.

With love,

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