Wednesday, December 24, 2008

English Country Christmas

I'm rushing to get all these pictures posted since I have to give up my personal computer for a couple weeks while it gets worked on. I'm going to have withdrawals!

The Old Meeting House always invites everyone from the Folklore Society to an English Country Christmas Celebration. We had a great time as a family, eating and visiting with friends, then of course dancing afterwards. English Country dancing is the kind of dancing you see in Jane Austin type movies. It is really fun and beautiful to watch.

David Arnold snapped this picture of Michael and I. Boy, I married a handsome guy. I love it when he wears this shirt. I think he looks sooo good in it!

Josiah and Hailey even got to dance. Josiah is getting to be quite a good folk dancer. I really enjoyed dancing with him. Hailey absolutely loves to dance, too.

This picture is a little dark, but I think you get the idea. Josiah loves dancing with the older girls. They all think he's adorable. He definitely isn't shy about asking girls to dance.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Hailey's "Evil Eye"

Hailey is really starting to get some attitude. She loves to give us the "evil eye", then she starts laughing because she knows it makes us laugh. Just had to share this one. I know I shouldn't laugh, but it really is so funny. She loves to play with my fuzzy scarf. I love having a girl to dress up with!

Living Nativity

We got to go to a living Nativity in our community. It is really something! I can't believe how much work goes into putting this on. I hope each of the volunteers receives a special blessing for their efforts. In addition to the stable, they had a market place in the town of Bethlehem. It was incredible! It takes about an hour to walk through everything. The best part is that it all points to Jesus being the Messiah.
Josiah is petting the frozen fish in the fish market. It was so cold outside. I give extra props to those volunteers who had to work outdoors.

Hailey is rockin' out in Hadessah's home.

The Carpenter's shop was busy that night. It was so neat because they had all kind of different trades people doing demonstrations of how they did things the old way. There was a potter, candle maker, wool dyer, weaver, baker, basket maker, metal worker, temple, synagogue, etc. The kids got to go around to each of the booths and collect a sticker to complete the Christmas story. It is just the neatest idea.

Hailey wasn't too happy about petting the lamas. Last year the wise men had a real camel, but the camel couldn't get here this year because of the bad roads.

More Josiahisms

4-year-old Josiah sayings:

Funny things:

I can’t have a fried egg sandwich because it’s not “Friday”.

Instead of saying Ecclesiastes, he says “Crazyiastes”.

“I miss Nana. I’m just a grumpy old man”.

“We have to make hot buttered runs”.

“When I get older I’m going to Canada on an airplane in my army uniform to shoot “cannons” in Canada.”

“Does Santa wear underwear?”

When Michael and I are kissing, Josiah always says, “Yuck, that’s eggscusting”.

Instead of saying, “You guys crack me up”, he says, “You guys are crackin’ my head open”.

When Josiah and Mom were at Newport, she said he looked out at the beach and yelled, “Look, there’s a sand pigeon!” (aka seagull).

“Do horses eat their boogers?”

“Bad News! A Spegeeto (mesquito) is trying to get me!”

“The strawberries tickle my teeth!”

I was explaining the meaning of Hailey’s bib that says “Biker Chick” on it, and he says, “If Hailey’s a “Biker Chick” than I’m a “Biker Turkey”!

“Mamma, Mamma! Can you believe it? I made a “Y” poop! Come see!” I go into the bathroom and sure enough, he had pooped in the shape of a Y. I’m so proud (dead-pan).

I told Josiah that the ocean was salty. He said he wanted to taste it. I proceeded to tell him about all the icky stuff that gets in the ocean and why that wouldn’t be a good idea. So he says to me, “What about crab slobber?”

Josiah’s favorite Worship Song: “Holy, Holy are you Lord God Almighty. Wordy is the Lamb, Wordy is the Lamb. You are Holy”.
I was talking to Josiah about dinosaurs being extinct, and he says, “Why do dinosaurs stink?”

“Do butterflies poop?”

“I’ve got a bad feeling.”

“I have an underwear rash” (instead of diaper rash).

I was telling Josiah that it is never too late to talk to God. He promptly pipes up with, “But it’s always too late to talk to Satan”.

“Mom! I ate some of the hairs off my arm, and they taste yummy!”

I was admiring Josiah’s beautiful eyes and asked him to look at me so I could see them better. After a second, he says, “Can I have my eye balls back?”

Sweet Things:

“Mom, I like you. You’re a great mom.”

“Mamma, when I grow up I want to teach my kids about Jesus”.

“Hailey Baby, you look beautiful today.”

5-year-old Josiah sayings:

Funny things:

Josiah said, “I burned my tongue on some oatmeal because I didn’t blow on it first”. To which I replied, “That stinks, doesn’t it?” To which he said, “Actually it burns.”

Josiah was telling me about Lot and his wife as they fled the burning city of Sodom and Gomorrah. He said, “Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillow of salt”.

“You know why I slept in so long this morning, Mamma? So I can have lots and lots of energy.”

I told Josiah, “Man you’ve got good ears”. He replies, “That’s cause I’m young.”

After playing in the snow, Josiah came in with a bunch of snow packed around his face. Grandma Kricket asked him what happened. He put on a sad face and said, “Nobody would have a snowball fight with me, so I had one by myself and got snow in my face.”

“If I eat an artichoke with the “arta” that’s inside choke me?”
Hailey got a hold of one of my fish oil capsules. He was worried about it until I told him it was good for her. He said, “Yeah, because of all the new trees (aka nutrients) in it.”

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Polar Express

We got to go on a free train ride with the kids last weekend. It started at Elgin and followed the Grande Rhonde River a ways. It was a beautiful snowy day that wasn't too cold! We felt like we were on the Polar Express. Michael was at drill so Mom and Larry came with me. It was so much fun.

The snow was falling gently with big beautiful snow flakes. Here is a picture of the Grande Rhonde River. We saw a bunch of wild turkeys. I took a picture but they are too far away to really tell what they are.

I love this one of Hailey with her arm around Josiah. She loves her brother so much.

You can see the delight on Hailey's face. Josiah thought it was pretty cool, too.

A family friend of ours, Dave Arnold, was the conductor on the train. He stopped long enough for us to take some pictures of him with the kids and chat a bit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Yeah! I just figured out how to allow anybody to comment on my postings. You no longer have to sign in to post a comment on my blog. You can comment anonymously if you wish. I love getting comments on my postings, so feel free to comment all you want now!

It is snowing like crazy here. It looks like we've got a foot from what we had last weekend added to what we have now, and it is supposed to continue through the night.

Well I'm off to make some popcorn (popped in coconut oil and topped with our fresh butter) and then we are going to watch "White Christmas" as a family. Hope you are all snuggly and warm in your homes this wonderful evening.

God Bless!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It snowed 7 inches this weekend in the Grande Rhonde Valley. It is sticking around since it is so cold, and we are loving it! The first picture is of me barbecuing in the snow. It was my step-dad's birthday and barbecued, marinated flank steak is his favorite.

Josiah came in the house with his face all wet. Grandma Kricket asked him what happened and he said, "No one would play with me, so I had a snowball fight with myself." That got me feeling sorry for him, so I went outside and we had a wonderful snowball fight. I even managed to sneak a few pictures in between snowballs!

My precious snow angel.

Hot Buttered Rum Batter

This is a healthier version of my Grandpa Ruppel's famous hot buttered rum batter. These are wonderful with or without the rum. This is becoming a Christmas Eve tradition in our family. Last year Josiah called these Hot Buttered Runs!

Hot Buttered Rum Batter

Cream together:

2 to 3 cups sucanat (depends on how sweet you want the batter)
1/2 cup of butter (at room temperature or softened just slightly)
2 to 3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Store in air tight container in fridge. When ready to use, add a heaping spoonful to a cup of milk. Heat and stir until batter is melted in the milk. If using rum, add a splash to the mug after heated.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Country Elves 2008

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Shredded Meat Barbecue Sandwiches

I got this recipe off of the Made from Scratch blog. I tweaked it quite a bit to get it to our tastes. Wow, is it good, cheap and easy! We used venison and you couldn't tell it wasn't beef. I imagine you could use any kind of meat with this recipe and it would turn out fine. So here it goes:

Shredded Meat Barbecue Sandwiches:

Mix together:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup (see my ketchup recipe posted below)
5 TBl whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 to 1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1/3 to 1 tsp pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
3 Tbl honey or sucanat
3 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbl minced onion

Pour over:

5 lbs of any meat placed in a crock pot. Cook on high half the day, low the rest (if meat is frozen); low all day if meat is already thawed out. Shred as soon as able to get flavor or barbecue sauce throughout meat.

Serve over whole wheat buns. I like to butter and toast the buns for extra flavor just before serving.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ketchup Recipe

Yes, I even make my own ketchup. I've got a mustard recipe I'm going to try next. If it turns out, I'll post it. This is super easy. (If you need whey, please let me know, we always have more whey than we know what to do with.)

Ketchup Recipe

(makes approximately quart)

3 cups organic tomato paste
1 1/2 cups whey (or add until desired consistency - raw whey acts as a natural preservative)
1 Tbl Celtic Sea Salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/8 cayenne pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup commercial fish sauce or 1/2 cup handmade fish sauce (optional)

Blend all ingredients together. Ketchup should be at least 1 inch below the top of the mason jar. Set on counter for two days before putting in refrigerator.

This is what the Nourishing Traditions cookbook says about ketchup:
"A return to ancient preservation methods would transform America's favorite condiment from a health liability (produced in huge factories with high fructose corn syrup) to a beneficial digestive aid."

Monday, December 8, 2008

More Christmas Parade Pictures

I had a few more Pendleton Christmas Parade pictures I thought I'd post. Here's Hailey doing her parade wave. From left to right (Mom's friend, Sharon, Grandma Ruppel, Mom and Hailey).
Santa and Mrs. Clause are riding in a sleigh with the Wagon Master of the local Oregon Trial group.

I thought they did a good job on this nativity wagon.

This was by far the most creative, although I didn't get a good picture of it. It is the Grinch wagon. They had the Grinch's dog out front with little reindeer horns on his head, looking like he was pulling the wagon. They won first place and they deserved it. It was quite clever.

I invited my good friend, Paulette, and her family to join us for the parade. We had a great time with them. It was so good to see them even if it was for a short time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Parade - Pendleton Style

Today we went to Pendleton's Christmas Parade. It is a non-mechanized parade, filled with decorated carriages and wagons pulled by many varieties of horses, mules, ponies and miniature horses. My Grandpa Fay came up from The Dalles with this wife, Regina and entered his F'jords into the parade. Josiah was invited to ride with Grandpa and Michael. He was yelling "Merry Christmas' over and over at the top of his lungs the entire parade route. It was so funny! All the people were laughing and of course he was eating it up.
Here is a good one of them approaching. Regina (in the red jacket) is riding her saddle horse.

I took these pictures just before the parade. Michael is telling Josiah all about the team.

Josiah is lovin' on Feather.

Love this one of Grandpa and Regina. They are just so cute together, doing what they love.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm Sooo in the Mood for Christmas!

OK. I accidentally got all these pictures in the wrong order, but oh well. You all get the idea. On Monday, we rushed to get a tree (just before dark) from a local tree farm. As usual, I changed my mind about 20 times before we finally picked one. Even Josiah was getting impatient with me. He was so excited about decorating the tree. He'd put an ornament on, and as soon as he'd turn his back I would move it. He never caught on to what I was doing. We hung all the breakable ornaments at the top of the tree, so it was a little uneven, but I think it still looks OK. I decided to give up the themed trees for awhile (probably until the kids are out of the house) and just do a kid friendly trees. In the meantime, I'll just admire other people's themed trees.
Hailey is doing such a good job about not touching the ornaments or presents underneath. I usually only have to get after her a couple of times a day when she just can't seem to help herself from touching the tree.

We gave Hailey some non-breakable ornaments to help put on. She just loved helping!

As you can see, we barely got the tree cut down before it was dark(I love our Subaru Outback). It was the first time we've been tree hunting when it was nice out. We've been having fabulous weather around her, but now I'm ready for snow! Let snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We're Back!

Hello All,
It is great to be home again. It is amazing how being away for 5 days can really mess with the kid's routine. We had a great time in Dufur, The Dalles and Hood River, visiting family and friends. I had a mild cold going on the whole time. Still not over it, but it is better. Just hoping it doesn't turn into a sinus infection. I'm getting a Neti pot with my next Azure order, so I'm hoping that will help prevent a sinus infection. I wanted to post a few pictures of our trip. You can see more actual Thanksgiving pictures of us on my sister's blog .

My Aunt Esther made this Christmas dress for Hailey. It is absolutely adorable.

Josiah is standing in front of a little wagon that is for sale in front of my Grandpa's house. Michael got a driving lesson from Grandpa.

We went to Michael's folks' church on Sunday and met their new pastor and his wife. He is a Baptist minister and she is a Messianic Jew and very sweet. I love what they are doing in that church. I think they are really shaking things up. After the service, we were invited to a potluck lunch. Josiah got a kick out of feeding Hailey through her sippy cup like it was a bottle. She never did bottles, so this is the closest he's come to feeding her like that. She thought it was funny, too.

Hailey is rocking out in Michael's little rocking chair that he had when he was little. Hailey had a great time at Michael's folks' house. Auntie April watched the kids while we all went shopping for 5 hours! It was wonderful to do some shopping without the kids.

I love this one of Hailey and Larry Pop. She just loves him and Larry (my step-dad) has a special place in his heart for her. This picture was taken the day after Thanksgiving at Stacie's house.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Well, we're off to Dufur, The Dalles and Hood River to visit family this weekend. I'm feel like I have a cold coming on, but I'm hoping with a good nights rest, I'll be able to beat it. I'm taking all my herbal treatments and hoping for the best.
I won't be near the computer for a few days, so I just wanted to take a minute and say Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope that you find some time between feasting, shopping or watching football to take a moment and count your blessings and then thank the One from whom all blessings flow. Here are the three blessings in my life whom I thank God the most for. Take Care and I'll be posting pictures of our whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend when I get back.

God Bless All of You,

The Whitesell Family

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Successful Hunt

Michael was successful while hunting with his black powder .54 cal this weekend. He didn't see anything for quite awhile and was running out of time, so he got a doe yesterday. He was disappointed because it wasn't a buck, but I was happy because the meat will be so much better. We are planning on making summer sausage and jerky out of most of it.
We all went hunting with Michael Friday afternoon. Didn't see anything, but we got to do some target shooting with my Uncle Fred's WWII .30 carbine (his dad carried it in WWII). It was designed for paratroopers, so the stock folds in. It was really fun to shoot. Didn't really kick, which was nice. It is the first time Michael took it out to shoot since he cleaned it up. It was amazing to shoot a piece of American history.

Since it didn't kick, even Josiah got to shoot a couple of rounds (very much supervised).

Michael is having a great time here. He loves this gun!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

I love this recipe, especially this time of year. My husband doesn't normally like pumpkin, but he likes these. They have a really nice consistency.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancake Recipe:

Mix together all wet ingredients (I just turn my KitchenAid on low and start dumping):

1 egg
1 cup ground pumpkin
1 Tbl butter
2 cups milk, buttermilk or kefir
1 tsp vanilla

Then add dry ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

After everything is mixed together, cook as you would any other pancake. This makes quite a bit, but as with most things I like to double the recipe and freeze leftovers.

Easy Humus Recipe

My hairdresser gave me this recipe. Talk about easy. Make this, throw some fresh veggies around it and you've got a hit on your hands for any party. I'm amazed at how many people like humus. This is especially great for people who can't have dairy. Here it is:

In a food processor or blender combine:

1 can or two cups of prepared garbanzo beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp salt

*Double this recipe and freeze half. You can very this recipe anyway you want it. Add sun dried tomatoes, nuts, Parmesan cheese, different spices for different variations to this recipe. I spread this on some bread or cucumbers for my toddler and she loves it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Are You Available?

Here is my sister's latest devotion. I hope the Holy Spirit speaks to you through it in a powerful way. Remember, children are a blessing, not an interruption. Enjoy!

Love, Jackie

Mother’s Minute Devotion

“Are You Available?”

Dear Mothers,

For many years I was a harried, frazzled, distracted mother who tried with all of her might to retain her “B.C. Life” (Before Children). Sadly, I missed out on so much. I was not available to my children even though I was a full-time stay-at-home mom. I am ashamed to say that I focused on everything it seems, BUT my children.

I remember my mother mentioning that I didn’t play with my children very much. At the time I felt defensive and angry. Now I see that she was right. I would put everything before the kids and they unfortunately got the leftovers. It was a rare occasion when I would sit down and read to them, play a game with them or just have a tickle-fest and enjoy their laughter.

I came to realize all of this when we decided to pull our oldest child from Kindergarten. When we began the journey of homeschooling it forced me to spend time with my kids. I started looking for those teachable moments and did my best to create a “fun” atmosphere.

In order to be more relaxed, I’ve had to let things go. What good would it be if I “gained a clean house but lost my child’s soul”? Now when one of my children ask if we can play a game, talk, read, or just plain be silly, I try to set those things that are always there aside and truly focus on that child. The housework will never go away. The beds will always need to be made, the dishes always needing to be done, but will my child remain? No, he or she will be grown up and gone before I know it. I want to look back and remember that this home was filled with laughter, respect, kindness, good conversation, and lots of teaching of God’s Ways. I want to remember the times that we took in prayer (and yes, some children are more long-winded then others, but now we tend to call them prayer warriors!) and lifted each other up to God.

Have you been available to your children? Have you pushed them away lately because you were too busy? Pray and ask God how you are doing in this area. Ask Him to show you those times, confess them and ask Him to begin a new work in you. Your children will be so much happier for it!

From One Mom to Another,
Stacie Brown

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recipe for Cornmeal Raspberry Bars

I took this basic recipe off of my sister's blog, but I changed it around to make it a bit healthier as well as tastier. This is super easy if you have a food processor. So here is my version:

Cornmeal Raspberry Bars Recipe:

1 1/2 cups of WW pastry flour
1/2 cup whole grain cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup sucanat (can reduce if you like it less sweet)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup jam (can use apricot, raspberry, or any other fruit jam - I use no-cook freezer jam, sweetened with raw honey)

Preheat oven to 350. If you have a food processor: process all dry ingredients together. Add butter, egg and vanilla and process until well mixed. Press dough into 9 x 9 square pan (grease if not using stoneware). Spread with jam. Bake 40 minutes. Wait to cut until completely cool.

If you don't have food processor:

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl use electric mixer to mix butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined.
3. Pour into the a 9 x 9 pan. Spread jam on top.
4. Bake 40 minutes. Wait to cut until completely cool

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MOPS "Lantern" Table get-together

Our MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) table got together at my house this week to put together a box for Operation Christmas Child and also for a soldier who is in Iraq.
We had a great time trying to figure out how to get everything we brought in the box. Between all of us, we managed to do. It was amazing how much we got in each box. We took this picture and put it in the boxes.
From left to right:
Diane and her two girls (I can't remember their names), Jody and Reese (sp?), Josiah, Chelsea and Ava and me. We had a few more from our table who couldn't come (Kristy, Christina and Kendal). We missed you guys! Anyway, we had a wonderful time getting to know each other better. God has put some wonderful women in my life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Playing in the Leaves

Yesterday was so nice! Not a breeze and comfortable temperatures. I took the kids outside to play after I got my work done. They had a blast jumping in the leaf piles. Hailey loved it when Josiah would "bury" her. She was literally "swimming" in the leaves. She lost a shoe at one point. Try finding a tiny brown shoe in the middle of a huge pile of leaves. Not easy, but we did find it. Anyway, I just love these pictures. I'm having so much fun with my new digital camera.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hailey and Her Diaper Hat

Hailey loves making anything into a hat, including her diaper. These pictures were so cute, I just had to share.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

T-Bucket Frame and Rear-end

Here is Michael's latest project. He's restoring a T-Bucket Roadster from the 1920's. He got this car in pieces and he's restoring it from the ground, up. He's the kind of guy who has to have a project and, boy, did he get one this time! He's having a lot of fun with this.

This is a good one of the rear-end. God totally blessed him with this. The car came with a Chevy rear-end, but Michael wanted to go back to an original Ford rear-end. A virtual stranger gave him this just to get it out of his way. What a blessing!

This is a pretty good picture of the frame after he sanded it all down and painted it.

Can't wait to see it with the body on. He's looking for an flat head Ford motor now. Hopefully he can find a good deal on one. We'll be posting more pictures as he progresses.


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