Beyond The Sunset

Yesterday as Randy and I prepared to leave Puerta Vallarta to head back to LA for a few days before heading out in the next leg of our journey, we had to once again say goodbye to some friends who have become so much more than “friends” to us both. As I left the hotel with tears in my eyes and a sad heart realizing that we did not know how long it would be before we saw each other again, it dawned on me that life is full of goodbyes! We have several friends at this time who are enduring really scary health issues and are possibly facing having to say goodbye to life as they know. As seasons of life change and new circumstances come into play, we all have to say goodbye to certain things. But yesterday seemed to take on a whole new meaning. As we had several hours on the plane. I began to really think about this! As we left Arizona a few weeks ago, we said goodbye to new friends who we loved and also to our kids that live there. That was truly very hard. Because we have kids, and family in Texas, Florida and Arizona, there is no place we could live that did not make us have to say “goodbye” at times to family! Friends who we love dearly are scattered around in different states which is wonderful, but also trying when it comes to saying goodbye as we leave to go home!

On the plane as i continued to think about this, the thought that came to me was that one day, one glorious day, we will never have to say goodbye again! Oh what joy to be united together and live in Thanksgiving and praise to the One Who has made that possible! As we flew into LA, the phone could not capture truly the most beautiful sunset i have ever seen in my life! There above the horizon was a color of red that could not be described. It was just magnificent and a most significant reminder of Who Our creator is! It made me so thankful that one day…..one day we will be beyond the sunset, never having to say goodbye again

Beyond the sunset
Oh, glad reunion
With our dear loved ones
Who’ve gone before
In that fair homeland
We’ll know no parting
Beyond the sunset
Forever more

Waves of Wonder

We are officially “homeless” and on the road of a new season! A season of some adventure and wondering what the Lord has in store for us as we seek Him and His plan for our lives!

Leaving the comfort and familiarity of home is always a bit challenging especially when you dont know exactly where you will end up! Our friends/family seem to kid us about writing our home address in pencil which, if i think about all the times we have moved, seems like a great idea!

We love change and we love the challenge of learning and exploring new places! But as we get older and certain things become not quite so easy to acheive, we are grateful for all the things, experiencss and adventures that God allows us!

At this time, we are in Mexico with dear friends who we have spent so much time! We have had weekends in a cabin in Sequoia, stayed in their homes on our trips to California and weeks together in Mexico! They have visited us in Arizona but also endured family crisis with each other!

Trust me when. I say that sharing meals, bathrooms, certain medicines and sometimes even “readers” or shoes does tend to bond us!

This morning as I sat out and listened to the majesty of the roaring waves splash upon the rocks and then subside as they flowed upon the sand, i could not help but think of our lives as being like those beautiful waves! Each one so very different! Each one designed by our Creator! As i continued to watch, i thought about seasons of change and how each change brings different results. Just like waves, each season has a purpose. As one wave came crashing on the rocks I thought about some of the circumstances that made our lives come crashing in….the loss of a job, a medical report that was certainly not what we wanted to hear! A child having a drug problem! Then there are the waves that flow so easily and calmly upon the shore! That brought back memories of some seasons which were just that….easy and calm; when there seem to be little or no strife in our daily lives!

Before I left the balcony of our room, it gave me such a peace and comfort to know that the God who created these beautiful waves is also the God who created me and that just as He directs each wave as to how far it will go upon the shore, how much splash it will make, He is there to direct each and every day of my life! May i live my life in such a way that His goodness, His faithfulness will “splash” from me, no matter the shore that He takes us.

As His peace washes over me, may His glory be seen in me!

Only God

This week has been such an up and down emotionally roller coaster. Loving all the things about Christmas, the carols, the Christmas Eve services with family, the dinners that gathers us around the tables, allowing for laughter, retelling of memories and partaking of God’s abundant provision. Christmas is a glorious time of reminding us of what God truly did for mankind. We have been given the most amazing gift that anyone could receive. The gift of eternal life and a most abundant life here on earth.
Sitting there Christmas Eve with our kids, we were so blessed to have our 9 year old grandson say that he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. What a great memory to have as we leave this place in a few days. To know that Caleb has made the most important decision of his life, and we were blessed to be there when he did.
As we are moving on to our next adventure of traveling for a few months before settling back in Texas, this past month has been, like I said, had it’s ups and downs of emotions. Everything we have done with friends or family has been great, but then we stop to realize that each of those things we were doing for the last time for awhile. That always brought some tears and tore at our hearts. But to have witnessed some of the things God has done these last couple of months has been such an amazing gift to know that God, in all His glory, still cares about the things that are important to us,no matter how small they may seem in the scheme of things.
Randy and I made a prayer list of things in October that we have been praying and asking the Lord for. One by one, we have been able to check the requests off that lists. Out of the 9, there is only one that remains, but it isn’t time to worry about that one anyway.
About a month ago, we decided to try to sell our living room furniture. We began to think that if we didn’t have these 3 big chairs and couch, we would be able to fit everything into one pod and not have to pay to store a second pod. Each week, I kept revising the price and details of the furniture on several web sites that specialize in selling preowned furniture. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No one ever showed up to look at it, much less buy it. Randy kept asking me where we would sit, should it sell before we were ready to leave on the 27th, but I kept saying that I didn’t think he needed to worry about that as no one had even come to look at it. When Jodi, our daughter, and I started talking about the furniture last week, we both talked about that if it didn’t sell before Christmas and the movers were coming the 27th (tomorrow) it would just go to Texas with us.
Also, I had just shared with several friends that the Lord had not revealed my word for 2019 to me yet. I had told them that I felt that maybe my word was “trust” but it had not been confirmed to me yet. At Christmas Eve service the pastor ended his sermon using the word “trust” several times and I began to think even more that God was showing me that that was going to be my word.
Well, today about 11 a.m. I was on the phone with Jodi when I told her that someone had just written to me asking if our furniture was still available. So I quickly responded to the lady that yes it was. I didn’t get excited because several had written in the last month, but then I never heard back, so figured that this was going to be the same. But then the lady wrote back to ask if she could come look at it. She showed up, and ended up paying for it, BUT…..she cannot pick it up until tomorrow. God worked it out that we still have it to sit on until the movers get here tomorrow. Only God…..He always goes far and above anything we can ever imagine. It is always exciting to see how He reveals the word He has for us and this year was no exception. He not only confirmed my word to be “trust” but took care of our needs in the process.
Only God….can make a way when there seems to be no way.
Only God….can arrange our lives in such a way that not only brings Him glory, but allows us to have a story to tell others.

Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. Only God! Thank you Lord for all the ways you have taken care of us and continue to show Your faithfulness. May we always trust in You, no matter the bends in the road, no matter the circumstances.

Taco Soup Supreme

Last night I was trying to use up as much of the things left in our fridge as possible since the movers come next week! Since it does get chilly here at night and i had a half pound of hamburger meat i wanted to use, i decided to make a quick taco soup.

After adding the can of diced tomatoes, onion, celery and 2 chicken bullion cubes, I diced up the potato and carrots i had! Actually had some fresh cabbage that to chop up and added also. Found a small can of whole kernel corn, drained it and dumped it in! It was at this point that i remembered what a friend of mine told me! Dianne always adds a can of refried beans to her taco soup! So opening the pantry to see if i had one, there it was just waiting to be used! So i added the can of refried beans. Two cups of water and an envelop of taco seasoning were then Poured in and wala the soup was ready for the oven

Preheated oven to 325 and then baked in a covered pot for about 2 hours. Our kids came over to pick up some furniture last night! They said “something sure smells good” the minute they walked in the door! I’m sure you know the rest of the story! We had an impromptu dinner with tamales that i had just bought and fritoes. We all LOVED the soup. Thanks Dianne for the idea! Best taco soup ever!

Precious Christmas Memories

This Christmas season has been very different for us. Instead of spending time hanging outdoor Christmas lights or sitting down with Christmas cards in my lap to address, we have spent the majority of our time packing to move. If I EVER decide to do this at Christmas season, will one of you slap me back into reality? At the beginning of December, we kept thinking, “we have got this. Most of the glass dishes and antique cabinets had already been packed for several weeks. Thinking that if we did that, it would give us plenty of time to watch all the Hallmark movies and make multiple pans of fudge. We were wrong. We did not figure in the fact that we are a couple years older than we were 3 years ago. We also didn’t figure in the fact that apparently we have acquired, should I say, “some real keepsakes” living out west. We unloaded 3 pods when we moved here and it looks like it might take 4 when the movers get here next week? That brings me to another fact. Our clothes are a bigger size than when we moved here. IT’s amazing how much more room a size larger pair of pants takes up.
Because we are trying to make the most of the time we have left here, Jodi and I came up with a great family night plan. Two nights ago, we went to their house to have pizza, watch Christmas Vacation and then head out to a Christmas light spectacular called Illumination. IT was worth every dollar, especially since there was a coupon on Groupon. The coupon is for the entire car, so load it up we did. We had Randy driving, with Eric and Noah in the front seat. Jodi and I had Caleb in the back. After an hour wait to actually get the car inside to begin driving through the light show, we were excited. Of course, the sign gave instructions to turn our radio onto a certain radio station so that the lights blinked in sync with the music playing. Of course, it took until we were almost through the park before we figured out how to restart our computer in the car to where we could find the particular station. But, because we have a SUV the boys decided to climb over both seats and watch the show from the back of the car. Apparently, when little boys are not strapped in with seatbelt, they feel the mood to roll around, kicking the backs of our heads, of course, all the while keeping with the beat of the music. While we were waiting in line we began to laugh about different Christmas memories. Doesn’t it seem that memories sometimes get funnier as time passes?
One of our favorite Christmas memories was from about 2010 when we had about 15 people at our house. Because there were going to be so many people having dinner, I rearranged the furniture. We put the dining room table in the den and put the den furniture in the dining room. That way we could seat more folks AND, it put us closer to the food. That is so important. Well the night progressed and we had a lovely dinner. Everyone left and Randy said, “if you want, I’ll start putting back all the chairs while you do the dishes.” That is always how we work, he starts putting everything up while I am in the kitchen, cleaning up. Thats why Frosty and Noel make a great team.
In about 10 minutes, Randy walks in the kitchen and tells me that we need to call Eric and Jodi. When I ask him why, they had just left, why did he need to call them, he responded with, “they need to come back, they forgot Craig, he is sound asleep in my chair in the dining room.” Craig is Eric’s brother and in the hustle and bustle of everyone leaving that evening, no one noticed that Craig was asleep in the dining room. Now we had to decide who was going to wake him up and tell him that they left him behind. We decided to let him sleep until Eric got there and could explain to him why he was still there. We now post a sign at the front door to be sure people get ALL their belongings before they leave.

Another great memory involved us renting a 15 passenger van to take friends around looking at Christmas lights. What a special memory. We made chile for everyone before we went out and then each person had their own little box of Christmas cookies to snack on while we looked at lights. It truly was a magical evening. As Frosty played Christmas Carols over the radio, everyone begin to sing and laugh. Well, almost everyone, our adult kids were sitting in the back of the van and kept making faces like, “you have got to be kidding me, we are in a van, driving around with all these oldies singing with their Christmas sweaters on”. That made us sing that much louder. They couldn’t get out of that van quick enough when we got back. We loved it. Felt like they were teenagers again with their parents still embarrassing them.

Today running into Walmart to buy butter (yes, I was almost out of butter, only have 2 sticks left) I remembered years ago when being so excited seeing the new Christmas tapes/CD’s in and loved going through them to see which new ones I was going to buy that year. I miss that. It was so much more fun than just going onto Amazon to download songs for my phone. It was so great to get back in the car, open the tape/cd and insert it into the player and driving around listening to the new music we had just bought.

Christmas…brings back so many different memories and emotions. Some of them wonderful, and some bringing tears to our eyes. But regardless of the emotions which it conjures up, we can be sure of one thing. Memories hold a very special place in our hearts.

As you celebrate Christmas this year, may you make memories of joy, hope and laughter with those you love.

#Jesusisthereasonfortheseason

Monte Cristo Casserole & Raspberry Sauce

Years ago we use to have a restaurant in Texas that had the best Monte Cristo sandwiches. It is no surprise that this breakfast casserole caught my eye in the December Taste of Home. After reading the recipe and realizing that I could make it the night before, it became the breakfast of choice for Christmas morning this year. Cannot wait to serve it with a side dish of hash browns and a fruit compote.

1 loaf French bread, cut into 20 slices
2 tables Dijon mustard
1/2 lb sliced deli ham
1/2 lb sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 lb sliced deli turkey
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 teas sugar
2 teas vanilla extract

Topping
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teas ground cinnamon

Raspberry Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 tables cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

Line a greased 13×9″ baking dish with half of the bread. Spread the mustard over bread. Layer with ham, cheese, then turkey and remaining bread. Dish will be full.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. Pour over top. Place in fridge, covered overnight.

Preheat oven to 375. Remove casserole from fridge while oven heats. IN a small bowl, mix topping ingredients, sprinkle topping her the casserole. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

While casserole is baking, using a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water, lemon juice and maple syrup until smooth.
Add raspberries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Cool slightly.

Let casserole stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm with sauce.

Serves about 10

Frosty’s Follies

Today Frosty suggested that we go out shopping like we use to while we lived in Dallas. To just go out all day to get among the Christmas crowds and hit the local Starbucks for a gingerbread latte and see what Santa has out this year on display. It was then that I suggested that we go looking for a new suitcase for us to take to Mexico and Italy. So off we go to look for the perfect traveling companion which would hold all our clothes that hopefully make us look like we “belong” and not like a tourist.

Getting out in this most beautiful day made me hungry. When he ask me if I was ready for the Starbucks stop, I informed him that maybe we should start off with something a little more filling, so off to Chick Fila we go, all the while me listening to him talk under his breath about “we have just left the house where there was plenty to eat but now she wants to go to Chick Fila” Maybe Frosty isn’t quite in his Christmas spirit yet. When I ask him to repeat what he had just said, he told me that he was glad we were having lunch out because then we could save the food at home for dinner. When I told him that was not what it sounded like when he was muttering, but I let this one go. After all, I didn’t want to start off our fun Christmas shopping day not speaking. So after we downed some chicken nuggets and a peppermint chocolate chip shake, we headed off to look at luggage. We stopped at a store that has a little bit of everything, (no it wasn’t Walmart) ok, it was almost Walmart, it was Ross. So after looking over the luggage and deciding that we needed to go other places before deciding, I informed Frosty that after much discussion with several friends who have traveled extensively, I wanted to go look at the backpacks. Thinking that would be a great way to carry all my necessities, leaving my arms free to hold the gelato or pizza in Italy or hail cabs in Mexico, my mind was made up to buy a backpack. I found the perfect size, beautiful, quilted olive green backpack which had some outside pockets. Asking him to hold my purse so I could try it on for size, I proudly, turn around showing him what I look like with a back pack. No I didn’t ask him if it made my rear end look big, but I did ask him what he thought. This was his reply, “well, if you really must know, you look like a Ninja Turtle”
The backpack went back on the shelf and we left the store in not so much of a holly jolly mood.

We had already decided that today we would visit the Apple Store to look at the Smart Watches. I had told our kids that instead of buying me those cute little signs that sometimes read, “what happens at Nana’s stays at Nanas or a shirt that might read, TGIF This Granny is Fantastic, I would rather them just donate to my Smart Watch Fund. So in anticipation to being gifted with one, we decided to just go look at the watches. We walked out with the cutest little Smart watch EVER. It is now synced with my phone and everything is out there in the cloud. So any money that comes in now from the kids can just go to cover a cute new color band for the watch or a new phone cover that matches the cute little watch. The first 3 hours it was the smartest watch I could imagine. But after coming home and sitting down to watch a Christmas Hallmark movie, I glance over to look at my new watch and there is an alert that is telling me to “get up and move around, you have been sitting too long.” WHAT? I now have a watch that makes me feel guilty for sitting and watching a movie? What have I done? After a little longer I get another alert telling me to breathe deeply for a minute as it is good for my brain. Are you kidding me? It knows what shape my brain is in?
If I cannot train this so called “Smart watch” a little better than it is now, it is going back to Apple. If I designed a smart watch it would go something like this:
You Go Girl….it has been over an hour since you ate a cookie, why don’t you have another one.

Ding Dong, Ding Dong, it’s time for your favorite Christmas movie, grab yourself a cup of hot cocoa and sit down and relax.

Oh Bless Your Heart, you have worked hard enough today, drive up to Donut Worry and buy that apple strudel donut you love.

Dolly Parton singing Working 9 to 5 and “just warm up the leftovers, you don’t need to cook a meal tonight.

Now that’s truly a Smart Watch that I would make. But until then, I guess I had better close and start walking around before it alerts me that I have been on this computer long enough or reminds me that I have only burned 23 calories today. And to think I paid money for all this guilt. Merry Christmas to me!

Home & Hope

We are in the middle of packing to leave Arizona. I must say it is harder than I expected. When we first began thinking about moving, we truly had thoughts of possibly coming back here as we have some of our kids here and have met some wonderful friends. But as the time grows closer, we feel drawn to possibly close this chapter of our lives and be open for what God has for us and where He leads. As I have looked back over my life, my security has been placed so much in my home and where I lived. This morning, in reading in Cheque Book of the Book of Faith, the scripture was “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psa 91:4”
As I read on, this sentence really stuck out, “How can we distrust when Jehovah himself, becomes house and home, refuge and rest to us?”
It made me stop and think about where my security and trust lie. Yes, I have felt very secure in some of the places where we have lived. Several of our homes have been in a guarded and gated community, which allowed me to feel very safe. Other homes, we were blessed to be in places of quiet and “safe” communities, where we still lived in an Ozzie & Harriot” neighborhood. But as we leave this place, not really knowing where we are ending up after a few months of playing gypsies, it is easy to begin to feel a little apprehensive. Where will we live? What kind of home will we have? As we begin a new season of trying to “trust and obeying” where God leads, may my hope be in Him. Not in a different house, but truly in Him. The God who promises to be my shield and buckler.
Because our plans to stay for a 3 month period in Italy,is just around the corner, of course, stirrings of doubt and worry can lead me to take my eyes off Jesus. It is easy to place them on things that can arise. Did we book places that are safe? Can we (at our age) manipulate the trains or buses? Can we read the maps and get to where we are suppose to be?
A friend yesterday suggested on Face Book that there are 24 chapters in the gospel of Luke, which if we read one chapter a day in December, by Christmas Day we would have read about the life of Jesus. That by Dec 25th, we might see Him in a whole new way. So that is what I am doing. My prayer for December is that in reading the Book of Luke, may my heart see Him in a whole new light. That gained knowledge of Him, would be more than just head knowledge. May He become the Christ Child who covers me when I trust. ”
“That I would see Him as the Lord who cannot lie; he must be faithful to his people; his promise must stand. This sure truth is all the shield we need….Come my soul, hide under those great wings, lose thyself among those arms of hope and strength.”*

Lord,May this Christmas season, rekindle my trust and strength in You, who came to save that which was lost. For You are my hope and shield. No matter the place, no matter the house. May my home and hope forever be in You.

*Cheque Book of the Book of Faith

Lemon Cello Cake

Last evening we were invited to a dinner social where i had agreed to bring dessert. After seeing the menu the hostess was serving, this cake came into my mind as a great ending to nmmm

the lovely meal! Everyone said it was just delicious and since there was only 2 slices left, i think it was a hit. One man even ask for a piece to take home!

1 box of Duncan Hines Lemon cake mix

8 oz sour cream

1 1/3 cup water

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

3 whole eggs plus 1 egg white

1/2 teas salt

2 tables oil

Preheat oven to 325!

Mix all ingredients together and beat 4 min! Pour into 3 greased and floured 9″ round pans and bake until cake tests done. About 23-25 min! Be careful not to overbake!

Cool layers and then turn them out onto waxed paper! Using pastry brush, brush lemon cello over tops of each layer!

Filling:

1 (8 oz) container mascarpone cheese

1 jar of lemon curd ( i used a 10.5 oz jar of lemon curd from Trader Joes)

4 oz of Cool whip

Beat mascarpone cheese and lemon curd until smooth. Add Cool Whip and mix in just until blended!

Place one layer of cake in cake plate. Top with 1/3 of the filling onto cake. Top with second layer. Using another 1/3 of filling on second cake layer. Place last cake layer on top of filling!

Frosting

Whip 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup powdered sugar together until stiff peaks form. Stir in remaining filling with whipped cream. Frost sides and top with the mixture

Garnish with yellow sugar crystals and chocolate Christmas tress

Hallmark Movies & Memories

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one who reads or follows ChocolateCastles! After burning one iron skillet of cornbread this morning, paying more attention to a Hallmark movie than to the oven, I was reminded of so many Thanksgivings, waking up to the smell of onions & celery being cooked in a cube of butter, getting ready to be added to the cornbread that had been sitting out for 2 days, drying. Isn’t it amazing all the memories which come flooding back, thru familiar scents or sounds?

This morning, as I prepared for Eric, our son in law, to come over to brine the turkey for smoking, my mind began to just reminisce over so many past holidays.
What is the first thing each year that brings back certain memories to you? Is it music, food, special family members that you gather together during the holidays?

For some reason, maybe because I’m getting old and allow myself to sit and watch more movies than ever before, the memories have come so much more this year than before. As we sit each night (yes, even Frosty sits with me and watches this year) and turn on the Hallmark channel, the old fashioned ways they seem to gravitate towards in spending Christmas made me take notice. (Notice I didn’t say “sit up and take notice” as usually by the time we sit down to watch, I’m half laying down but still sitting up enough to hold a cookie and a glass or cup of tea) Why do these movies make us cry? Why does our hearts twinge every time they climb up on a trailer to go on a hay ride? Do they ever get enough Christmas cookies or sick of hot chocolate?
When they walk around the beautiful old fashioned little towns, laden with snow, singing Christmas carols, why do we tear up? It finally dawned on me today. That is the Christmases we truly dream of. That our Christmases have become so much about displaying the perfect designer Christmas tree or having the latest new set of Christmas dishes from Pier One. And yes, I’m as guilty as the next little elf that is standing in line at Hobby Lobby buying even more decorations because the 20 boxes that we already have are not enough. And I am really guilty of that. Is much of our time around this time of year spent standing in line to purchase what will be a perfect gift for a friend or loved one? Wonder if they might enjoy us treating them to a movie or lunch instead of a gift? What if our time to be with them was appreciated more than a new sweater or gadget?
As I sat there this morning watching yet another Hallmark movie, where they were putting popcorn on strands of string and making stars out of sticks and placing them on the tree before passing out cut out cookies (that were not store bought), it became clear to me that that is the kind of Christmas that touches the heart, at least it does mine. In striving for our “perfection Norman Rockwell Christmas, I have lost my sense of simple, yet meaningful holidays.
Maybe it’s my age, maybe it is just the Christmas music that is already on all over our house. This year, because so much of our “stuff” is already packed and ready to be moved 2 days after Christmas, we did not decorate, nor are we shopping like previous years. We are too busy packing for the move. But it does seem like we are enjoying the cooking and the movies a little more this year. Maybe its because I cannot be concerned about getting the house looking like the perfect Christmas backdrop.
All these thoughts got me to thinking of ways to bring back some of the old traditions. So Thursday, we are passing around a little bowl with each person’s name on slips of paper. Everyone will draw out a name. Then, they have one week to make a homemade ornament for the name which they drew out of the bowl. We will have dinner and present the homemade ornaments to the recipients. We are also playing games after dinner before sitting down to ginger cookies and hot chocolate to watch Christmas Vacation, which we use to watch every year.
The movies have inspired me. Our place cards this year are clear ornaments which are filled with hot chocolate mix, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. They can take these home to hang on the tree to use when they sit one night to watch a movie.
It was so exciting for some of our kids to text us this week and tell us that they want their own Christmas names like Randy and I have. Years ago, we changed our names the week of Thanksgiving to Frosty and Noel. We changed our Voice Mail to “Hi you have reached Frosty and Noel, I’m baking cookies and Frosty’s Christmas shopping at the mall, when we get through, we will give you a call.” That began probably 10 years ago and we still have friends who call us Frosty and Noel all through Christmas. So when our kids began to want this, well….can I just say that this mom’s heart teared up as if Paula Deen had tasted one of my cakes and declared me her new best friend. That same day, I texted the rest of our kids to ask them if they wanted to participate and all but one couple agreed. And if you know our family at all, you know the ones who said, “mom, you are kidding, you know I just can’t do that” and then quickly changed the subject. So here are our new family Christmas names:

Christi and Tim are now Candy Cane and Buddy the Elf

Cam and Mandy are Jolly and Holly

Jodi and Eric are Snowflake and Sparky

Shannon and Jamin are Shanaclause and Jingle

So there you have it folks, we are on our way to making our own Hallmark Movie!

If you see us on the Hallmark Channel, you might want to have a Kleenix handy. I think when we all start to sing Frosty the Snowman gathered around our tree (with the strands of marshmallows because we ate all the popcorn, )that we just bought down at the Christmas tree lot, sipping hot chocolate from Starbucks, and nibbling on Little Debbie Gingerbread cookies, it might just bring a tear to your eye!!!