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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trip Pictures - Part 3

Tuesday p.m./Wednesday/Thursday a.m. ~ We arrived weary and worn into the small town of Motozintla. We stayed with the national pastor and his family.

Motozintla ~ Church

Outside and entrance.
Small congregation.
Philip preached.
After service, Philip was playing the people songs from our CD off his phone, and then they decided we needed to sing a special in person, so...
Motozintla ~ Misc. Pictures

This is the pastor's daughter - she is three years old and loves to talk!
The women preparing a lunch...
...of some kind of chicken salad tostada. It was very good!
This is where and how they wash dishes in Southern Mexico. A large cistern and cement slabs.
The pastor and various relatives who helped prepare meals, etc., for us.
Michael and the pastor, Javier.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trip Pictures - Part 2

Tuesday ~ It was a l o n g, but actually, fun day! We ate snacks, talked, gave the guys a hard time about their get the picture!

We also went 30-40 minutes out of our way [due to navigational problems!!!!!!!!!] and arrived at a town right off the Gulf of Mexico. Instead of driving the two minutes to see the water...we get pulled over by a cop. He was just convinced that Philip had been talking on his cell phone and using Nextel, mind you! Philip firmly told him that was not the case! Obviously the guy was just looking for a way to make some money. Anyway, it gave us all a good laugh throughout the day!

Some of the pictures below were taken in 'La Ventosa', Southern Mexico. For a very scientific reason, (which I don't care to explain right now :)) it is extremely windy in this place. As you can see, the government has put in windmills here to produce energy.

Then, Collette came up with this GRAND idea to have me take my hair down and let it blow in the wind for a picture. Of course, she snapped the picture before I was ready...thence, the strange pose! Ha! Ha!

Once we reached the southern state of Chiapas, we had to stop and take some more pictures. This state is where Santo Domingo [the place where we are to plant a new church] is located.

The young lady pictured below came with us partway on our trip. Her name is Grace and she goes to the church in Salamanca. We dropped her off in Tapachula where she met a cousin who was going to take her into Guatemala to see her Dad. It's been 13 years since she has seen him. Then on our trip home, we will meet up with her and bring her back to Salamanca. It was great being able to travel with her!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trip Pictures - Part 1

Monday p.m./Tuesday a.m. ~ We finally left Salamanca around 1:00 in the afternoon and drove to Orizaba, Mexico. We had lots of fun giving Philip a hard time about directions, etc...meaning, we ended up spending a little extra time driving around/through Mexico City. And then...we drove around Orizaba a little bit trying to find the people's house where we were staying that night (and you can't imagine why it took so long, can you??!!). Our arrival time was around 10:30 that night.

Talking outside our hosts house before we left around 6 something in the morning.

Our hosts and some of our crew. (Philip & I were taking pictures)

For so early in the morning, the kids are ready to go!

A beautiful snow-capped mountain outside of Orizaba. Collette and I pestered Philip to pull over alongside the highway so we could snap pictures...and then they didn't turn out as clear as we wanted. Oh well!

Beautiful sunrise.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Checkin' In - again!

We've made it to Jalapa, Guatemala! I'll start posting pictures soon!