Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun Family Christmas

Every year we get together with Dan's cousin's and their kiddos and have lunch, play games etc. This year Dan's sister in San Diego hosted and it was fun as usual. We line the generations up by height to see how everyone has grown. The twins are missing cause they were D-O-N-E and ready for bed. :)

This is funny cause Dan and I will always be at opposite ends of the line. I am pretty sure his sister is eye balling me in this photo. AWKWARD! :)

Our house on Christmas day was super fun. Even my nephew made it in from Indianapolis despite the crazy weather.

The kids were ready for dinner. Everything turned out delicious. Thank you everyone for your help. :)

My dad, Morgan and Blake.

I am pretty sure Graph has no idea what she will do with all the warm sweaters, hats, gloves and scarves she got for Christmas when she returns home but I keep telling her they will get plenty of use while she is here. Hence the 30 degrees we woke up to this morning. :)

Lots of Star Wars toys to go around. Gotta love our sweet Morgan!

Dan surprised me with this AWESOME bike that I saw at the bike store like back in July!! He had his mom video tape me when he brought it out. He thought I would jump up and down screaming but instead I started to cry and then he started to cry and everyone else thought we were crazy. Truth be told the tears were for many reasons. One, I am a big kid at heart and I realized in that moment that my husband gets that about me and cherishes that about me. The second reason is that I am healthy enough to ride bikes when less than two years ago I was to weak to walk around the mall or hardly dress myself on some days. It was just my cup overflowing. It's funny cause you know how on Christmas morning you can look out the window and see kids playing with their new skateboards, riding there new bikes or playing with their new soccer balls? Ya' I was the only adult tearing around the neighborhood on her new bright orange bike. YES!!!!

The girls

Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas season with their families and friends. Happy New Year fellow bloggers!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Friends had us over to decorate sugar cookies. Of course these we're gluten, dairy and dye free. Now maybe it's because I can't have the "real" thing or whatever but I swear these were the best cookies EVER! I think any home made cookie I can eat at this point is the BEST EVER!
Oh and in case nobody informed you of this, you must do your hair and dress like a princess to decorate cookies properly. :)

The kids had a blast and the moms and dad's ate them as fast as they were being frosted. :)
This was Graphs first time decorating cookies so she loved yesterday as well.

Had our annual Christmas dinner and kids gift exchange with our friends this week. Dan made his yummy chili, Marianne brought cornbread that scored major points and Ryanne got a little pop up tent that she has slept in for the last 3 nights. So fun!

Dan took a picture of our tree as it is already dying. Poor tree. You were a good tree. Thanks for the memories. Sorry we are going to have to chop you up like the day after Christmas as you have become a fire hazard. :)

It looks like Christmas threw up in our closet. This is what happens when you put off wrapping to long. *Sigh*

This is what happens when you ask your children to divide up the toilet paper to all three bathrooms and then "assume" they heard you correctly. I'm sure it was a mere misunderstanding and it sounded allot like,"Hey kids, could you please take all 12 rolls of toilet paper I just bought and make a tower in the guest bathroom? Thanks you kids are the best!"

Made home made goodies and delivered them door to door to our neighbors. So fun to visit and love on them.

Yummy warm gingerbread all ready to go. :)
Have a blessed day. I am lucky enough to get to sneak out on a date with Dan for a little while. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Great Finds & A Night With Friends.......

I will go over to my other blog and post about this so I can get on my soap box and rant and rave about how horrible anything with dye in it is for your kids. Here since this is family friendly I will just talk about how much I LOVE these two finds. :)
The first is the peppermint salt water taffy from Trader Joe's. All of December Ryanne has been asking me for candy canes and sadly I have had to tell her no. They are full of red dye and though most of you might be rolling your eyes mumbling that one little candy cane won't hurt her you would be wrong. They were trying so hard to be nice at church the other night and give her a gluten free snack. They gave out candy canes and she crashed and burned for two days with melt downs, tantrums, self control issues etc. So this morning I surprised them in their advent door with these naturally colored and flavored treats. Yum!

Then when I thought sugar cookie decorating was going to be a no go this year. I found this at Clark's. Yup, you are seeing that right. All natural dye for cookies, frosting etc. So fun! I will warn you that it isn't cheap but seriously like I can put a price on my kids being healthy and doing our annual cookie decorating day with friends.

We went with our friends this week on our annual Mission Inn dinner and carriage ride. As usual it DID NOT disappoint. Great food, fellowship, lights, horse drawn carriage

warm gingerbread of course! :)

Graph made friends with the carriage driver. Our horses names were Ben & Jerry. :)

All the kids. I t was exceptionally warm this year.

The family at the Mission Inn.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Married Life Dinner and LA Fun

This weekend was so full and so fun. I mentioned in previous posts that we were preparing for a marriage dinner and really seeking Gods wisdom on who should speak; well God worked out all those fine little details and the dinner went great! Pastor John drove up from the beach and was fantastic and right on the mark in his sharing about Gods will for marriage. This is one of the tables I was responsible for. It was hard to get good photos because of lighting and the angle but it's a candy land theme. Even though it's now Sunday I continue to be blessed by what God did. He grew friendships through our serving together. He taught me to roll with things and let him tend to the fine details. He showed me our church's desire to have an active ongoing marriage ministry. He reminded me how much fun and how much I LOVE to serve alongside my husband. So good. So blessed. Also, so TIRED! :)

Saturday morning we surprised the girls with tickets to the Disney Concert Hall in LA. We went to hear the the amazing Los Angeles Master Chorale and you should have seen and heard the organ with over 6,000 pipes. Clear and beautiful and amazing! We went to lunch downtown first and then headed over to the concert.

Everyone loved it!

The concert hall was BEAUTIFUL!

Then today after church we decided to stay home and catch our breath.

We made hand painted ornaments for friends and I helped Graph make chocolate covered peppermint cookies to give to her friends at school tomorrow.
Here are just a few of their creations. After we were done Graph and I headed out in the beautiful 75 degree sun and took a 3 mile walk. Great day! Amazing weekend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Running And Singing

This weekend both girls ran in their first race. It was a 5k and let me just tell you how grateful I was it wasn't longer. It was FREEZING COLD!!! Brrr.......what? It's hard work being the cheering section. You freeze your little behind off. :)
The girls did great, had a blast and possibly just possibly could be following in their father's foot steps I think. :) Although there were nearly a 1,000 runners Dan did not register to run this one. He did however run along side Morgan to cheer her on as did Graph.

The girls both take classes during the week at our Music and Art Center. This weekend was the recital. Ryanne got to get up in front of everyone and showed off a couple paintings.

Morgan worked for 2 months to play two Christmas songs on the piano and sing her first solo. This is the only picture I took because I was crying to hard to see through the camera. I know I'm a sap.
They were both just so excited and nervous that I think I had been holding my breath until they were done. My mom and dad both drove out for it which meant the world to the girls. It was fun to see how hard all the kids worked. Lots of talent in one room. Kids that love music and love to share it with others bless me.
On another note. Oh get it "note." Never mind. :)
I started a blog for people who like to or are forced to live Gluten and Dairy free. Check it out and let me know what you think. Pass it on to friends and family who want some good recipes or tips.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

We had such a great Thanksgiving break. Dan had to work a good part of the week so the girls and I headed to Long beach and hung out with all the cousins for Thanksgiving dinner and black Friday shopping. Then we drove over to my brothers house who lives there as well and hung out till' Saturday. Lots of good food, family and of course crazy black Friday deals.

Dan got off Saturday so we headed up to Big Bear for dinner, and good family time. It was like 25 degrees and beautiful up there.

Morgan took this one for us.

We stopped in this little cafe and I tried their sipping chocolate. It was this tiny little China cup that was like $5 but OH MY GOSH! It was like getting a chocolate high for the next 6 months. Dan and the girls were cracking up as I was drinking it (bathing in it) because my mouth was covered in chocolate.
Dan said there was no way to be classy about it and really I wasn't trying. ;)

The girls loved looking in all the store windows, especially the one where the lady was making baked goodies. :)

No pictures of Graph "in" the snow. She was freezing!

I read, organized, shopped and planned out what I would make for Thanksgiving for two weeks prior. I was trying to make sure Ryanne and I didn't get to left out when it came to good eats on Thanksgiving since we can't have gluten or dairy. I made this Coconut-pumpkin pie and it was a hit.

I also made this Pear-Apple cobbler and I swear you could not tell it was gluten and dairy free. even the skeptics of the group seemed to love it. :) I forgot to take a picture of my stuffing but it rocked as well! I have NEVER made stuffing so it was a challenge to begin with. I am so excited to make it again for Christmas. I am quickly learning how to cook and bake really good stuff completely dairy and gluten free just by making my own flour blends. I got tired of paying $5 for 4 muffins or $6 for a bag of cookies when I could do it myself and make way more. It's more work in the end but there are so many good GF & DF resources out there that it really is fun to try and figure it all out. I picked up this great book this weekend called Baby Cakes and it is all GF, DF and mostly Vegan desserts. YAHHOOOO! Christmas baking here I come!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Funny Thing About Blogging.....

The funny thing about blogging is this; you either have nothing exciting to share (which is not usually the case around here)


You have so much going on you don't have time or the energy to stop and blog about it. That would be where I have been lately.

Nothing to dramatic or earth shattering really just daily life that gets away from you. I will just share a few snippets of our last few weeks.

My friend shared something on her blog recently that really made me stop and think. Actually I'm thinking about having T-shirts made and passing them out. She said "Disobedience leads to drama!" Now maybe I'm an idiot and you all have pondered this fact many times before. But it just floored me. I was like,"Yes, of course Lord. Disobedience to YOU leads to drama every time." When we gossip, when we do things OUR way. When we aren't faithful in our marriages, when we are bad examples to our kids, or we are selfish and self seeking in our friendships, when we refuse to allow you to lead us. So simple and yet so powerful.

OK on a lighter note, both our girls tried out for a solo part at church for the Christmas Eve service. They were to find out who got parts last night at choir practice. I picked them up and Morgan came bouncing out of class; "MOM, I got a part again this year!!" I was of course happy and proud of her. But then I saw Ryanne coming behind her and I thought to myself, Uh oh this is the first time both girls have gone after the same thing. Could be bad. Might be one of the downsides to them being close in age. But the second Ryanne opened her mouth God blessed me. She said,"Great job Morgan, do good OK? I didn't get a part mom but I will just try out every year till' they give me one." And with that she bounced off into the rain singing away. Such a sweet spirit.

If you are reading this and are Gluten free like me. Go buy the new GF Bisquick mix. My friend picked me one up the other day and it was actually really good. :) Little cheaper than the Clark's or Trader Joe's one when it comes to ounces. So great that they are coming out with name brand things that are safe for GF people. Stinks that so many people need it though.

On to the marriage ministry we have been trying to help get rolling at church. We kept trying and trying to get a place reserved for a Christmas dinner to kick it all off. No luck. No place had dates or they were to expensive. One Monday about three weeks ago I prayed,"OK God clearly it's not your will for this to take place at this time. Or we are missing something here. I am going to let it go and focus on the Valentines dessert/game night. Maybe this is your way of not adding anything to my plate the month of December. I'm good with that. Just use us. Amen" That night Dan called from work and said the woman's ministry dinner had fallen through and so they wanted to know if we wanted the place they had already rented etc. Seriously? OK here we go Lord. Now we have almost maxed out the number of couples we can take and God is bringing all the details together. Crazy. :) The funny thing is we are praying because we still have NO speaker. We are just moving forward and trusting God knows exactly who is supposed to share what and who is supposed to be there to hear it. Oh and all in the same week we found a spot we could afford for our retreat in April. Thank you God.

Threw a birthday lunch for my dad.

Had dinner at some friends house.

Snuck in a date night with some other friends.

Got new tires on my car and 4 days later had to put $500 into Dan's truck-OUCH!

Still getting that support group for women with autoimmune diseases off the ground. Met some neat ladies and hope to help more. Very encouraged by the fight in people to be healthy via food and natural remedies.

Dan still studying for the BC test at work and training for the Iron Man in May.

Both girls are running their first race in Dec. Morgan a 5k and Ryanne the Elve's trott. 1/4 of a mile. Should be fun.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick (but funny) Conversations

Me: "OK Ryanne, what state are we working on this week?"
Ryanne: "I forgot."
Me: "I will give you a clue; it starts with a C."
Ryanne: "Nope I got nothing."
Me: "OK one more clue; you were born there."
Me: *sigh*

Me: "Honey tell the kids and their friend to quit playing in the dryer please."
Dan: "Kids quit playing in the dryer."
Me: "Seriously honey, they are climbing in there, tell them to stop please."
Dan: "Why they aren't turning it on are they?"
Me: *sigh*

Ryanne: "Mom could you hand me my lip gloss out of your purse?"
Me: "Yup, here you go."
Ryanne: "Mom, this is NOT mine."
Me: "Sure it is, just use it and put it back please."
Ryanne: "Mom, I am sure something is crazy in your head because this IS NOT MINE!"

We were in the middle of a busy Clark's (Grocery store) for this one.
Ryanne: "Mom, what did you say my step mom's name was?"
Me: "Ryanne honey you dont have a step mom."
Ryanne: "Then who's the other lady you were talking about?"
Me: *Sigh* "That would be your birthmom Ryanne."
Ryanne: "Oh yaaaaaaaaaaa', that was her."

I have decided that sanity and children/husbands DO NOT go hand in hand. ;) So I have also decided to just wear crazy really, really well. :) Hence the duck suit in previous post. Stay tuned for many more posts about a crazy mama and the children/husband she adores.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Harker Halloween Happenings

I hosted our second annual Halloween dinner with our friends and neighbors. Then our friends from around the corner came up and we took all 10 kids around the neighborhood. They were all so cute and so good.

We turned Graph into a rock n' roll/goth girl. My mom made the girls costumes. Ryanne was Little Mermaid and Morgan was Jasmine. The costumes were SOOOO good! They talked my mom into being a cat.

GGER_PHOTO_ID_5534615745811306818" border="0">Hopefully Grpah's parents don't see this and make her come home.

You didn't think I wasn't going to miss the action did you? I like to keep my costume a surprise and then come to the front door and surprise Dan and the girls. Morgan said,"Mom, there is something VERY wrong about this!" ;)

Even the birds dresses up as a ghost.

The kids table.

The adults table.

My little monsters.

This picture kinda freaked Dan out.