Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas and Snow

With one more Christmas dinner to go, the season is winding down.  And it was a good Christmas.  The snow we had, even though small amounts, set it apart from other years and we made lots of good memories sledding many times over Christmas break.  Having the snow over Christmas and having Montana family here, helped Rod and I to set a 'Christmas tone' of making memories, spending time with family, and embracing God's blessings, verses it being all about presents. Not saying we were totally sucessful, but i think we were able to speak their language a bit. 
We had no plans Christmas eve and Christmas day.  The boys sledded till 9:30pm Christmas eve.  and we enjoyed a day at home Christmas day. 
I actually surprised Rod this year!  a cat's meow of our place..

Clay's new guitar.  Somehow it must sound better when you stand inside a trash can. 

Making gingerbread manger scenes...
(we cheated and used graham crackers and hot glue!)

An idea from Pinterest..
Smoker Christmas dinner, just enough snow for some sledding on a great hill..


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas campfire

Friday night rod and i had a little campfire/christmas carol sing here.  We opened it to our family, church, and friends in the community.  We were impressed with the 130-140ish people who braved the wind and cold to join us for this.  We were happy with the responses we received and hope to do it again next year.  The past 2 years Rod and i took the boys to the church down the road for their annual campfire carol sing.  We thought really highly of it and that's what inspired us to do this.  Kinda felt like what they would've done in the old days, very simple yet meaningful :)

The twins shared a song that night, that they learned this year- "Do You Hear What I Hear".  I like the last line of the last verse....."The Child, the Child, Sleeping in the night, He will bring us Goodness and Light".
Thank you Jesus!  Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

the Beef Project

This weekend we butchered the calf.  I say this weekend because it took almost the entire weekend!  We did the whole process ourselves, with lots of help from wonderful family and friends!  It would have been completely overwhelming to do by ourselves, which i believe we were naive enough to do at one point. 

If these pictures bother you, just remember i have worse ones that i decided not to post :)

Rod with Butch-Bullseye

Caleb and Rod with Butch-Bullseye
Next day, the cutting, canning, and freezing!
the girls table (as adam says), cutting chunks off the bone to can.  And saving the fat and bones to boil for yummy broth.  
some of us were having too much fun
Adam was a big helper for almost an hour.  He really just wanted to play with a knife i think.

Got some steaks and roasts for the freezer

and 28+ quarts of meat canned, plus some broth!  (i never said it was pretty)

And last but not least you have to know about the wonderful babysitting service offered the entire time!
I really enjoyed learning more about this process, and so grateful for the quick and easy meals to come!   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Far away friends

Meet Gedieon and Gosaye...

Gedieon (17) has been our Compassion international child for 10+ years now (left).  He and his brother Gosaye (22) recently 'friended' me on Facebook.  Yes i'm serious!  They have Facebook in Ethiopia!  We always have written to each other over the past 10 years.  But now that we are facebook friends we chat quite a bit.  Gosaye knows English quite well.  They are genuine young men, who have had Bible teaching through Compassion and from what i gather, are Christians.  They always ask about the boys by name which i think is so sweet.  Their father died when they were young.  They bring us such joy and we've never even met them.  I would love to meet them one day.  They will have to come to me though, as i am not going to Ethiopia :) 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nothing special to say here, just wanted to jot down all the things that Clay got into today.  I'm sure there were more...and most of these he was into multiple times throughout the day. 

* Markers
* Hand soap, his favorite
* Bathroom cleaner
* Cookie jar, another fav
* Mousse, he knew what to do with it and his hair smells good
* Rabbit food, he didn't eat it
* Dish soap, he DID eat that
* Peanut butter
* Sink water
* Holly
* Telephone
* Anything his brothers had in their possession 

I don't remember him playing with a single toy today!  There is a reason why i like to go out and do errands with him verses staying home! 

Think i'll go to bed now so i can wake up and do it all over again :) 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

11 years

Dec. 1, 2001

Dec. 2, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


we have our 11th anniversary coming up on saturday!  rod and i met at the ice skating rink, where he played hockey with my brothers.  i very innocently attended almost every game because i like my brothers, and hockey, and i didn't have anything else to do :) 

it didn't take me long to notice rod.  well, maybe it did since they all look the same out on the ice.  but after i met him and had his number memorized, then i always took notice.

we took the boys to that same ice rink friday night for some more post birthday fun and we had a coupon.  except we went to the wrong rink for the coupon but that's another story :) 

it was fun to be there again and tell the boys this is where mommy and daddy met for the first time.  i was surprised how well they skated.  2 winters ago it was very cold and we took the boys pond skating quite a bit, and there was much improvement from then. 

so blessed that God has given me this man for my husband these 11 years and counting.  He's so very suitable for me.  He's also a great father and i'm super thrilled about that Y chromosome of his that gave us all these boys! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

a happy boy

Adam is 7!
Last year Rod and i were away on Adam's birthday and it bothered him that we won't home on his birthday, even though we celebrated before we left.  i felt horrible especially knowing he was still adjusting to school and just needed extra love at that time.  So i was especially happy to be with him on his day this year. 

Tonight at bedtime, he was beaming and said "this was the best birthday"!   That made me feel so good.  I like that it didn't take a lot of material things to make him say that.  I think he just simply felt special and had fun with his day.  Wednesday night he had his birthday supper, with his choice of foods.  We had some guests and at each plate they got this menu, written up by the birthday boy:  (yes the child likes coffee!)
Today, he celebrated his birthday with his best friends, his cousins.  After my mom's wonderful meal, they played outside in the leaves, downstairs, upstairs, everywhere!  It was neat for him to have this birthday on Thanksgiving day this year.  He was also loving his shark cake!  Rod and i made it tuesday night and he's been eyeing it up for 2 days!
This was one of my favorite ones to make out of all the years of birthday cake making.  As always, Rod is the true brains behind the project.  I love that he helps with these. 

So thankful for Adam among many other people this Thanksgiving.  Right now half the family is camping out in the backyard.  (Ben and Brad are GOOD sports :)  Wonder if it will last all night!

I told a few of you i'd post that Cauliflower cake recipe.  You should really try it!  it is so moist and delicious, and noone would know there is cauliflower in it!!  I've made it several times and think it's the best!

Cauliflower cake:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup mini choc chips
1 egg
1T vanilla
2 cups cauliflower, cooked
1/2 cup milk
3 T oil

Combine dry ingredients.  Combine liquid ingredients (and cauliflower) in food processor and blend.  Pour wet into dry ing.  Mix till just combined. 

Bake in a 9x9" pan at 350 for 25 minutes. 

Frosting: (or use your own)
1/4 cup peanut butter
8 T maple syrup
2 T cocoa powder
4 tsp. milk
3/4 tsp vanilla. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

weekend, a recipe, and waking up Clay

Rod hosted our church men/boys here Saturday for the 6ish annual clay pigeon shoot.  The guys have a good time, and there's always a good turnout.  I enjoyed hanging out with another wife, after she delivered the men 10 pizzas!  I couldn't believe it when Rod asked Adam if he wanted to shoot a target with his hand gun.  Adam was in his glory and hasn't stopped play shooting since. 

After the shoot, i took the boys north for 2 hours to my dad's farm, where he and my mom are right now, doing the combining.  The night before i was still debating whether or not to take them.  Ben pipes in, "Yea let's go, it'll be like the beach, we'll make memories!"  I couldn't turn down that sincere claim.  We were there just under 24 hours, but had a good time taking walks, going "hunting", eating out, and going to Reptileland.  It's so pretty up there with the mountains and quiet setting. 

Let's switch gears here, you have to try this recipe.  It came from sis in law Pam and it's very good!  Finishing supper was not an issue for the Gingrich boys that night! 

Black Bean Chicken Enchiladas w/ Pumpkin Sour Cream Sauce:
Pumpkin sour cream sauce:
- 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp. chili powder*
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- salt and pepper to taste

For filling:
- 2-3 cups shredded chicken
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15oz) cans black beans
- 1 can diced green chilies
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 tsp. chili powder*
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper

10-12 large tortillas
2-3 cups shredded cheese
                  **the original recipe calls for 2T of chili powder each time, i was not that brave**

- Begin by making the pumpkin sour cream sauce; In your food processor or blender combine pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, sour cream, chili powder, and garlic and puree till smooth.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside.
- Place shredded chicken in large bowl and add a little less then half of the pumpkin sauce to it.  toss chicken to coat. 
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 9x13 pans with nonstick cooking spray and spread a thin layer of pumpkin cream sauce on the bottom of 2 pans. (save some sauce)
- Heat large non-stick pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Add onion and minced garlic and cook until onions begin to soften.  Add beans, chilies, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Stir and bring to a slight boil, then reduce heat to medium low, stir consistently and let simmer for 5 minutes while sauce thickens. (i thickened it more w/ flour)
- Place about 1/4 cup of black bean mixture on each tortilla.  Next take about 1/4 cup of chicken and pumpkin mixture and place on top of beans.  Sprinkle 1-2T of cheese in each tortilla.  Roll each tortilla and place seam side down in baking pan.
- top with any leftover sauce.  sprinkle some cheese on top and bake for 20-30 minutes until edges of tortillas begin to turn brown.  Enjoy!

Rod takes the funniest videos.  It's a little long, but if you have 4 minutes, watch Rod enjoying some quality time with Clay while he is in la la land. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Turkey birthday

Adam's 7th birthday is on Thanksgiving Day this year.  7 seems like such a grown up age!  I was thinking back on Adam as a baby, before the craziness of twins came along.  He was downright fun.  I loved playing with him.  He was interactive, smart, funny, happy.  And yet he didn't get into stuff, and wasn't a climber.  He slept lots, and rarely cried.  He was so easy!  And cute as all get out......

Almost 7 years later he's still fun.  He certainly has a mind of his own.  He's determined, creative, strong, athletic, and full of ideas.  He's so gifted.  He's grown quite a bit lately socially, academically, and vertically!   Now he's my handsome, toothless big boy!

(Lord, whenever you want to make that new tooth come in, we'd be ready!  His next door neighbor is about to come out :) 

Tonight i laid in bed with Adam.  He hasn't been feeling well and he asked me to lay with him.  He was so sweet, he said he likes to hug me, and asked if i needed more covers.  Now it wouldn't be a big deal if Ben would say those things, that's normal conversation for him.  But for Adam it's not typical to say the least!  He showed a compassionate side tonight, and i liked it!  Prayers are being answered and he's growing in lots of areas.  Now to direct all that energy into positive activity.  That process is ongoing :) 

Love my biggest little boy! (it was windy!)
(i have till next thursday to make a shark cake...wish me luck!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

smells good in here...

I don't ever recall my calamondin orange tree blooming in the house!  it usually blooms during the summer when it's outside.  it smells heavenly in here.  which is a nice change from the dirty diaper smell that usually takes over the downstairs. 

My tree was so small when i first bought it many years ago.  As you can see i still haven't worked up the nerve to hack it back. (I'm having the same reservations with Clay's hair!)

While we're talking about plants and flowers, my mother's day gift this year from my wonderful husband and sons was a gerber daisy.  that was over 6 months ago and it's still alive and hanging on for dear life!  i planted it out back and watered it almost every day.   i love these flowers, and the color is gorgeous. 

This thing outlived all of the other flowers i've planted this year.   Happy Mother's day to me :) 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

long days...short years

There's always lots going on around here, which sometimes can make a day seem long!  We've had some unique highs and lows this week. 

First we had a wonderful visit from our good friend krista!  it was a longer stay then normal which was so good.  I treasure the late night chats we had, and the memories made.  The boys can't get enough of her. 

I was so happy the boys spent lots of time outside Saturday, but whenever they spend an extended amount of time anywhere, messes are made.  And this one was a doozy.  But more memories i suppose :)

It's hard when the baby doesn't nap anymore!  He does have a "quiet" time, which at least gives me somewhat of a breather.  Clay has quite a bit of energy.  But when he's tired, he's tired!  No naps mean i think i'll fall asleep in my spaghetti tonight. 

Rod is having serious back issues right now, and we're waiting for some input from the doctors.  He had an MRI Friday and we hope to know a whole lot more tomorrow.  Rod is one tough man, i cannot imagine what he went through this week.  We are trusting God for wisdom with the next step. 

Even though life around here is busy and unpredictable, i still at the end of the day sense peace in this house.  Only God could grace us with that.  Rod noticed yesterday that 7 different people were here at our house for one reason or another throughout the day.  We always want this to be a place where people want to come to, feel welcomed, and where they too can feel God's peace, even in the craziness.