Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We need your support!

Jason and I just accepted the challenge to raise funds to support the Komen Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure on September 13, 2008 in the fight against breast cancer. One in eight women will be stricken with breast cancer in her lifetime and the more we raise, the more the Northeast Ohio Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure can give back to fund vital breast cancer education, screening and treament programs in our own community and support the national search for a cure.

Please join me in the fight by pledging in support of my participation in the Race or contributing generously to Komen Northeast Ohio. Your tax-deductible contribution will fund innovative outreach and awareness programs for medically underserved communities in Northeast Ohio and national breast cancer research. It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause - you can make a donation online by simply clicking on this link. If you would prefer, you can also send your tax-deductible contribution to me so I can turn it in with the rest of my sponsorships/pledges on Race Day. Whatever you can give will help! I truly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Thank you so much for your time and support in the fight against breast cancer! Every step counts! 

To visit our team page, Team Laurel School, click here.

Load 'em up...

The last box will be packed today...yippee! 
Do you think I need a bigger box?

Emily and I leave for Texas tomorrow. The movers will be here on Friday. Jason will handle the move (with much help from Ben & Abby, I'm sure!) Emily and I are going to meet Mr. Miles Kirby Nelson, who was a week old yesterday and is a very good baby, I hear! We are very excited.

I'm not sure how much blogging I will do over the next week while we're in Texas, but I can assure you, I will definitely have time to eat Tex-Mex! My mouth is watering already...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Maria, for all your help in packing! It was much, much more fun with your company!

BTW, the Hannah Montana 3-D glasses didn't work so well, 
but we sure did look cool wearing them!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Be Free...

Freedom...something we all take to heart, I'm sure. I bet if I surveyed several people, I would get different views on what freedom truly is, probably depending on age and spiritual and life experience. Jason and I were talking about freedom and boundaries this week. We have two dogs, miniature dachsunds, and bless their hearts, they drive us crazy! They need so much attention and just don't get all they need. In Texas, we had a backyard fence, so the dogs could easily go outside and play. Here in Ohio, we do not have fences. Homeowners who have dogs install an invisible fence that will shock the dog if they are too close to the line. Not having this invisible fence in our yard has been challenging with the dogs. We were letting them play on the screened porch, but they must have felt too confined and ate through the screen. We then set up a lead in the backyard so they would have plenty of room to run around, but again, feeling confined, they chewed through the leashes. So, the result for them has been spending more time in their crate. They didn't realize the freedom they had when they had it and because of their pushing the boundaries, they are now more confined than ever.

As Jason and I talked about this observation, I could immediately relate to my life as a sinner. We are all born into sin. Most think the definition of sin is a wrongful act or deed. But, for just a minute, think of sin in this way...sin is a separation from God. Many people who are not Christians tend to view Christianity as a palette of rules and regulations and they tend to not want to have to follow such guidelines. However, those of us who are Christians have learned that what others perceive as rules and regulations actually becomes our act of obedience to the One who gave his very life so we could have eternal life and be with Him; an act of obedience that is a result of our love for our Savior. In Christ, there is freedom; the freedom of hope, the freedom of forgiveness, the freedom of grace, the freedom of love, the freedom of eternal life.

True freedom is not being able to live life as one wishes, but rather, true freedom is found in Jesus Christ, accepting Him as your Lord and Savior and having a relationship with Him. Let's look at this passage from John 8:31-35:

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, 
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 

They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants 
and have never been slaves of anyone. 
How can you say that we shall be set free?"

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, 
everyone who sins is a slave to it. 
Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, 
but a son belongs to it forever. 
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

Do you wish to be set free? If so, what price are you willing to pay to gain this freedom? There is a man who loves you so much that He wanted to give you this freedom and did so by giving of His very life in a very painful, torturous, horrendous death. But the story did not end there! Three days after his burial, He rose from the dead. Friends, this is what He offers us...we, too, can be raised with Him. How? Let's look at John again, this time, John 14:6, Jesus says...

"I am the way and the truth and the life. Noone comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus is the answer. Accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior, begin a relationship with Him today and your life will be changed. Hardships will come, but will not conquer you; you will know a hope that you've not experienced before; and you will find safety in the arms of the most loving Savior. I am still a sinner: my very nature will be to sin. But, I have accepted Christ as my Savior and through Him, I have received forgiveness. Jesus bridges the gap between myself and God; the gap that sin creates.

These words are for you:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
Trust in God; trust also in me. 
In my Father's house are many rooms; 
if it were not so, I would have told you. 
I am going there to prepare a place for you. 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, 
I will come back and take you to be with me 
that you also may be where I am. 
You know the way to the place where I am going."
John 14:1-4 (NIV)

You can have one of those rooms that are being prepared...
I'd love yours to be next to mine!

Is it time to give your life to Christ?

NBA Worship

What we're reading this week...

It's amazing that we've actually had time to read this week. We are in the middle of packing to move. However, I find myself grabbing a book during a packing break rather than watching TV. Although, there has been the occasional Mario Kart tournament... 

Happy Reading!
(Click on the images to link to Amazon's website.)

Jason's reading...

My reading... 
(I'm hooked on this series.)

Emily started reading this book this week 
and we've heard many bursts of laughter...

This is a great book...a must have for your kids.
Ben loves this book! 
(with the added voice effects from Mommy, of course)...

This is one of Abby's favorite books. 
She picks it several nights a week at bedtime.
However, Mommy must sing the song...
She can sing it with me now...so cute!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kindergarten Cop...The Live Version

If you've seen the movie "Kindergarten Cop" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, you no doubt remember the line from the cute little boy in class when he proudly proclaims, "Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina!"  With our kids, we have used the word "privates" until they are about 3 and then we've taught them the correct terms and use those terms just like any other body part.  In Ben's cute way of pronouncing certain words, he refers to his as "peanut".

Well, Abby is now starting to recognize and point out interesting facts regarding Mommy and Daddy. This morning, she walked in on Jason going to the bathroom. As if she had discovered something amazing, she yells, "Look, Daddy!  You have a peanut just like Ben!"

I love it! However, Jason's horrified that I'm sharing this with you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The things we do...

...for our sweet children! Man, this morning was stressful. I thought I wasn't going to be able to present Emily with Hannah Montana 3-D glasses, but after traveling 30 miles to another town, I was able to get some at the third Wal-Mart visited today (two by myself and one by my friend, Maria). 

Would you believe that Wal-Mart had the nerve to post "Only 1 pair of glasses per customer"? Um, really? This mommy has three children...do they expect them to share? Obviously, the person who posted the sign is not a parent! 

So, I was feeling very nervous as I took my 4 pairs of glasses to the checkout. I tried to find the checker that I felt most certain would not be the Hannah Montana 3-D glasses police and went with the college-age looking guy. Indeed, he did not check. 

Now, was I stealing? They had tons of them.
And, did I mention...they were free!

So Big!

I took these pics of Em last week. I just can't believe how big she is! And I have no problem saying it...she's absolutely beautiful...inside and out. Now, see that awesome smile she has in these pics? That smile will not last long if I am not successful in finding the 3D glasses for the Hannah Montana concert that's on Disney Channel this weekend. Yikes! I hope they're easy to find...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pray today...

...for Nathan, Tricia and Gwyneth. If you have followed their story, you know what an amazing miracle Baby Gwyneth is and the miracles along the way to her birth that God provided. These guys are again in need of a miracle as Tricia's new lungs have been afflicted with cancer. She has not responded well to the first treatment and they will begin a more rigorous treatment that will have many unwanted side effects. Tricia has been through so much! Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with their story. It will bring you closer to the Lord and to the ones you love! Take time to pray as Tricia begins her new treatment that the cancer will respond to the treatment. You can follow their story here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The best green cake you will ever eat!

This cake came out of my oven just a few minutes ago and I thought while it was cooling I would share the recipe with you. Oh my goodness, it's worth a try, believe me! Best of all, it reminds me of my Mema. I love you, Mema!

Pistachio Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg. pistachio instant pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
4 eggs
1/2 cup Hershey's chocolate syrup

Mix together the first 5 ingredients. Add eggs and beat well. Grease and flour a bundt pan and pour batter, reserving 1 cup of the batter. Mix the Hershey's syrup with the remaining cup of batter and pour over the batter in pan. Bake 50 min to 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool 30 minutes before serving.


Monday, July 21, 2008

My nephew is here!

My nephew entered the world this morning 
a little bit before 8:00, Texas time.
Mommy and baby Miles are doing great.

I can't wait to meet you in person, precious little one!

What we're reading this week...

Here's what we're reading this week...

(click on the images to link to Amazon's website)

Jason's still reading this; 
after all, it is five complete novels 
and one story...

I actually finished this last night 
and will be heading to Half Price Books
for book 4 in the series...

Still reading this with Emily...
great book!
Soon to be a movie!

This is an awesome book by John Lithgow.
This is a highly requested read from Emily & Ben.
It's written in rhyming style and has great illustrations.

This is a way cool book! 
I first saw this book in Abby's Kindermusik class.
This is a must have for your little one!
We like to act out each animal's motions...

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pink AND Blue...

I am so excited! Tomorrow will be a very special day. Two of my favorite people in this world (my sister, Natalie, and my friend, Claire) are having babies; both in Texas, but in two different cities. Miles (my nephew) & Avery (Claire's pink bundle) will soon make their appearances. And best of all, I will get to see them in 10 days!

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; 
You formed me in my mother's womb. 
I thank you, High God - you're breathtaking! 
Body and soul, I am marvelously made! 
I worship in adoration - what a creation! 
You know me inside and out; 
You know every bone in my body; 
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, 
How I was sculpted from nothing into something. 
Like an open book, you watched me grow 
from conception to birth; 
All the stages of my life were spread out before you, 
The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

Psalm 139: 13-16
(The Message)

Lord, I lift up Natalie and Claire to you. I pray for peace and a calming presence about them. I pray for safe and speedy deliveries and healthy babies. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of life. You have a plan for Miles and Avery. You knew them before You knit them together in their mother's womb. I pray they will grow to love you and know you as their Lord and Savior.          ~Amen.

Friday, July 18, 2008

You have GOT to try this...

I made this dessert yesterday for dinner with friends...
oh my goodness...it's delicious!
It makes 24 single servings, so a great dessert to take to a party.

This was in my recent Kraft Food and Family magazine.  If you haven't signed up to receive this FREE magazine that's mailed 5 times a year, don't wait...it is filled with great recipes!

My friend Maria made the World's Best Lasagna.
Needless to say, our tummies were full! 

Banana Split Cake
1-1/2 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 cup  sugar, divided
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
6 medium  bananas, divided
2 cups cold milk
2 pkg.  (4-serving size each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
1 cup  PLANTERS Chopped Pecans

1. Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the butter; press firmly onto bottom of 13.9-inch pan. Freeze for 10 minutes.

2. Beat cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Spread carefully over crust; top with pineapple. Slice 4 of the bananas; arrange over pineapple.

3. Pour milk into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping; spread over banana layer in pan. Top with remaining 1 cup whipped topping; sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate 5 hours. 

4. Slice remaining 2 bananas just before serving; arrange over dessert. Store any leftover dessert in refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Anyone want to play?

Our family loves to play games. Until just recently, it's been a bit difficult to play family games due to the kids ages and age span. I couldn't wait until we were able to play games together as a family.  Here are some of our favorites...

One of Abby's favorites games...
Although it's a bit advanced for 2 year olds,
it can be modified for her.
It's a great game for Emily and Ben...quick and challenging!
Abby calls it "diaper rash".

Ben will play a hand of "Go Fish" anytime, 
although his favorite game is Mario Kart on the Wii.

We gave Emily the game "Mancala" for her birthday 
and it is so much fun!  Here's a plus: it costs $4.99 at Target!
Jason and I enjoy playing this one, too...

Give us a deck of cards and Jason and I will 
gladly challenge you to a game of Nerts!
(You can play with two players, but it's much 
quicker and more fun with a group...
each player needs his/her own deck of cards.)

Does your family play games? 
Which ones?