Monday, December 29, 2008

Scenes from Christmas Day

We were able to spend Christmas with both sides of our family this year. We were with my family (Crystal) in the morning to open gifts and eat dinner, then we went to Michael's Mom & Dad's late that afternoon and spent the night there.

Below are a few pictures from the day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Scenes from Christmas Eve

We opened our stockings tonight...
My favorite picture of the evening...
Daddy and Kyle.

My "baby" sister.
This picture is "just because"! My mom hates to have her picture taken...and I just knew she'd "love" for me to post this one!!

We are staying at my grandfather's house while in PA. The kids have enjoyed spending time with him...this includes eating and telling hunting stories!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saying Good-bye to least for a time...

Here are a few pictures from our last few days in Mexico.

Moving the washer...again! If you're not familiar with this story, go here to read about it. At least we had a little more help this time. Philip came over, and Juan, the groundskeeper, also helped!

I was tired of packing boxes...

Me with Lupita and her grandkids - a sweeter lady you'll never find! She would just rattle away to me in Spanish as if I understood everything - and really, I understood nothing, but that was okay. Somehow, you can still be friends without all the words!

The group of people who came to church the last Sunday we were there.

Taylor was sleeping and didn't make it into the above picture.

Friday, December 19, 2008

At HOME!!!!

Well...sorry for the long delay...but we've been busy!! Due to the kindness of one sweet person, we were able to come home for the holidays!! We actually kept it a secret from Michael's Mom & Dad ~ and they were very surprised! Because of this, I wasn't able to post some pictures. We have already moved all of our stuff to Texas, and will be all ready to start language school as soon as we get back!

Meeting my Mom, Dad and sister at the airport.

Our nephews, the Durkee boys, also didn't know we were coming home - but they were very happy to see us!
(This is Dustin in the photo below)

We ended up staying at Dan & Michelle's for one night. It had snowed the night before, and Kyle enjoyed looking out the window at the snow.
Cold weather travelers...not used to these coats and hats :)

Decorating my parents' Christmas tree.
You might want to keep up to date with our stay by watching my sisters' blog too...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Freezing Strawberries

Yep, this is what I've been doing recently...Monday evening, we stopped and got two baskets of strawberries...and I did actually manage to get some froze without eating them all!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Out For A Visit

Below is a special family from the church in Salamanca. We (along with Philip & Collette) were invited over to their house. They are so sweet! She fed us chicken cordon-bleu, green beans, cheesy spaghetti, and bread. It was very delicious!! Kyle and Taylor also had great fun playing with their kids!

Taylor found an old camera to play with. This is the progression of him taking a picture...

Oh yeah...and if you click to enlarge one of these pictures with the Christmas tree in it, check out the Hershey Kisses acting as ornaments...I thought it was a really neat and creative idea...looked cute, too!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just me...dropping in to say "Hi"!

Sorry for the lack of blogging recently...not too much going on...except I need to be working on another newsletter and then get going on the packing process for our upcoming move!

Here's a recent picture of the kids.
Taylor - caught in the act of playing in Mommy's cupboards!
For those interested, here is a picture of where we will be staying in Texas. This is the row of apartments...

...and the door on the right, is the apartment we'll call home for a while.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Here's a perfect soup, for a cold, wintry day! Seriously, you've got to try it - it's the best!!


1 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Pepper (as much as you like)
1 bag (10-12 oz.) of frozen broccoli, chopped
*once again, I use a bag of mixed veggies sometimes: broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot
3 cups milk
12 oz. velveeta cheese
Cornstarch, for thickening optional

1. Fry onions in butter.
2. Add water, bouillon cubes, broccoli, garlic salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Boil 4-7 minutes.
3. Add milk and cornstarch, then add the cheese. Cook until melted and desired consistency.

yields: 4 servings

Download and Print Recipe Here



Well, it's still the 19th here...and yep, today is the day I call "my birthday!" Here's a few pictures to commemorate the day.

This evening, we went out to eat at a restaurant right down the road! Yummy!
And yes...I made my own birthday cake! I also have lots of excuses why the cake looks like it does, but nobody wants to hear them, least it tasted good!
Getting ready to blow out the candles. Only two candles to signify that I'm still in my 20's...thank you very much!!!!!!
So there you have it. My mom had sent me some books for my birthday (and I did wait to open them until tonight [although it's a wonder - I love books!!!!]) and my sister had sent me a Yankee Candle that I already opened and have been using! I also received lots of birthday wishes from other family and friends - even my grandfather who is 82, called to wish me Happy Birthday!!! All-in-all, it was a nice birthday...too bad all of you couldn't come to help celebrate!! Maybe next time!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Swagbucks: Earn Gift Cards for Searching Online

Does anybody else check out Money Saving Mom? I like to watch her blog for all sorts of helpful ways to be more frugal, save money, and get links to coupon deals. I was intrigued when I saw her last post.

Obviously, if you're reading this're on the internet. And I would suppose that you use a search engine to find different stuff throughout the day, too. So, why not earn money (through gift cards) for all of your searching? Swagbucks is an online search engine (which uses sources such as and that will reward you for searching online. It's very easy to sign up - and they don't require a lot of unnecessary info. Upon signing up, you will receive 3 points to your account. Then, download the search engine toolbar or plug-in and begin earning more points. At just 45 points, you can redeem them for a free $5 Amazon Gift Card, or at 50 points, a $5 Starbucks Gift Card. There are a ton of other prizes too.

I signed up, got my plug-in for my search engine, and now I'm on my way to earning "swagbucks." Plus, the more people you refer, the more you earn! Check it out, then use my referral code (it's already plugged in the link) and sign up here!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trip Pictures - Part 5

Thursday p.m./Friday ~ We visited and stayed in Santo Domingo (the place we've been assigned to go after language school). Kyle got sick during the night, but seemed a little better the next day. Unfortunately, it was I who got sick on Friday! Not fun! I spent a lot of time in the bathroom...which was interesting in and of itself. Let's just say, no toilet seat, and then you had to use buckets of water to flush... I spent the day with Benjamin's dear family (well, mostly in bed) while everybody else went sight-seeing. That also explains some of the pictures...Michael had the camera!!

Mountain scenery.

This is the Casa Grande. A German man moved and started the town of Santo Domingo in the early 1900's, I believe. He built this house and also started their coffee industry. I'm sure there's more history to be told, but you would have to ask someone else. I wasn't along on the grand tour!

This is a very strange styled house for Mexico. Also, a lot of the houses in Santo Domingo and areas surrounding it, use wooden planks instead of the typical cement block/brick for their houses. This resulted from the German influence in their beginnings.

Benjamin, his wife, and one of his daughters with her child. Benjamin is a convert of Hery Santiago working in Marydel, MD. This is our main contact in Santo Domingo.

Friday evening ~ Just a snap shot as we were crossing into Guatemala. We spent a lot of time at the border trying to get our papers and was nuts! At one point, some fellow we were using to walk us through, left, with our truck title and a few other very important papers. Needless to say, we were a little concerned! Fortunatey, he gave them to some other guy who contacted us, and helped us to finish everything!
We spent the night right across the border with Grace's family and acquaintances. Saturday, we spent driving 8 hours or so to Jalapa where the conference/retreat was held.

Click here to see Philip & Collette's first post about our trip! (They have some coffee plant/bean pictures that Michael didn't think to take.)

One more trip post to follow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Great Water Filter System

Just a minor detail. If you're a fellow missionary, or just like good, clean water - please scroll down the page until you see the new link added on the right sidebar. This is the kind of water filtering system that we use here in Mexico. Michael's parents got this for us, and we have been extremely impressed and thankful that we don't have to spend millions on the large jugs of water that only last every few days or so. We also got free sport water bottles that filter upon sucking the straw...these were a great help on our trip to Southern Mexico and Guatemala.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Home Sweet Home - Almost!

Whew! After 20 hours of traveling (just on Saturday alone), we've finally arrived "home" - well, in Salamanca, that is. We're staying with Philip and Collette tonight since it's so late, and we have church in the morning. But, soon, I'll be back at my own house!! Yeah!!! Hot showers, here I come!

Thank the Lord for a safe and uneventful trip!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Here We Go, A Traveling...

Well, the time has come for us to make the grand trek back home! I, for one, am very happy to be going! Not that we didn't have a great time here, but there's just something special about home!

We would ask your prayers again as we leave out this morning, travel all day, then travel all day tomorrow - maybe finally arriving in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Another special request...we've all been battling some sort of sickness this past week, but it has seemed to hit Kyle the hardest. Just this morning he was tossing cookies, so we would ask that you pray that he be touched so that we would have a 'quiet' trip home! It's definitely not fun being sick when you're away from home, let alone, traveling hundreds of miles!

I have more trip pictures to share, but they will have to wait until we get home.

Thanks for your interest in us and for your prayers ~ they mean a lot!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Trip Pictures - Part 4

Thursday ~ We left Motozintla and made our way to Santo Domingo to stay the night and then to check the town out. We did a lot of stopping along the way for some beautiful scenery pictures.

Looking down on the town of Motozintla.

We saw this beautiful mountain creek and I really wanted to stop and take some pictures. So, we just pulled right in!!!This is what you call a drive-through car wash!!!!
Taylor loves playing in water!
Beautiful mountain creek with a small waterfall in the center of the picture.