Thursday, December 25, 2008

Michigan Pictures - Christmas 2008

Samuel on a Giant Snowball...or the Bottom 1/3 of our Snowman
Me, My Mom & Samuel at Bronner's in Frankenmuth, MI

My Brother Terry, Sister Kay and Samuel
Samuel wore out from shoveling the stairs!

Kay's Car - Yes, We Have a LOT of Snow!!
John & Samuel with their Snowman

Friday, December 19, 2008

Things I Discovered in 2008

I wanted to share things I found in 2008 that I really like (mostly)....

Paper Back Swap (
This is more of a recent discovery. To say I like would be like saying I like sour cream. Those who know me well know that is a crazy LOT. It has been so much fun receiving books in the mail all the time. There is such an enormous pile of books in my TBR (To Be Read) pile that it's almost overwhelming, but I keep telling myself that it will be a fabulous start to my 100+ Reading Challenge to have all those books on-hand. I thought that perhaps mailing out books that were requested from me would turn out to be too big of a chore, but I actually like doing that too. It gets them out of my house and then I get to wait for a little dot to appear on my map showing everywhere I've mailed books. I don't know why I find that so much fun, but I really do. If you love to read and you've got books lying around your house you wouldn't mind giving up, you should really give it a try.

Sushi (Philadelphia Rolls)
I guess I shouldn't have put "sushi" as the header since I'll only eat the one kind, but it is really good. John had tried many times to get me to give it a whirl, so I finally did. It's just a little roll of seafoody cream cheesy goodness. I have also found a "sushi buddy" that will go get Philly Rolls with me with our husbands and sons are off Royal Rangering, so that makes it even better.

Meals Without Meat
John and I took a short detour to vegetarianism in early 2008. It only lasted about 2 months, but in that time we learned a lot of new awesome recipes. Although we are now once again meat-eaters, we still eat some of those meals now and then and they are always wonderful. My favorite meatless meals were actually soups. Now that the weather is cold again, it's the perfect time to break out those recipes. If you don't believe you could eat a meal without meat, you should give it a try. You might be surprised.

I thought most blogs would be boring....just people spouting off their opinions on this or that. Many of which I would strongly disagree with and I didn't need to waste my time reading. This year I have discovered this whole little world full of really interesting blogs and bloggers. Some political, some funny, some spiritual, but all really good. My favorite is probably "Stuff Christians Like". If you haven't checked it out, you should. I also started my own blog (obviously), which I never thought I would do. I still know people who give out TMI on their blogs and I try not to follow that example. My loose rule about posting is if it would upset my mother to know it was on the internet, then I probably shouldn't post it.

Blue Ribbon Foods
This will be short because I'm not going to make this a post full of commercials. However, we LOVE having a giant freezer full of food in our basement. LOVE it. I find it wildly amusing that in the span of one year we went from vegetarians to having six-months worth of meat in our house, but we are just unpredictable that way. No one can pigeon hole that Riddle family!

Now this one is a little different. I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. Part of me thinks it is so neat, the other part of me gets torn between trying to think of something interesting to say all the time and wondering why on earth people will twitter about some things. TMI out there in the www, you know? John thinks it's the devil...the end of all privacy. When I first started I had everyone on my list set to twitter me in a text message to my cell phone. When we learned that my phone would beep constantly, I quickly reduced that list. The other day I decided I was through with Twitter....then found myself twittering (tweeting?) before 24 hours had passed. So, if you haven't tried it, you might like it. Some people think it's the greatest thing ever. Some people hate it. I haven't decided.

This post I was typing was a draft I was going to add to as I thought of things, but then lo and behold I accidently hit "ENTER" and out in space it flew. I'll now finish this up and say I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year. If I think of more things to add, I will. If not, see you in 2009!

Monday, December 8, 2008

1st in a Series 2009 Challenge

If you're thinking that one reading challenge for 2009 would be enough for one who has never tried a challenge before, you'd be wrong. I figure this one goes hand-in-hand with my 100+ challenge since so many books I read are series anyway. So, if you would like details on this challenge, please visit: All books I read for this challenge in 2009 will be listed in this post:

1. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

2. The Pattern - Jane Peart

3. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon

4. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart

5. Bachelor's Puzzle (Patchwork Circle #1) - Judith Pella

6. The Deed of Paksenarrion - Sheepfarmer's Daughter - Elizabeth Moon

7. A Rush of Wings - Kirsten Heitzmann

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day!

The 2nd & 3rd grade classes at Waterville put on a Veteran's Day program tonight. It was excellent! Below are two of the songs that they performed. I thought the way they used the plates in the 2nd video was really neat. Samuel is in the middle in a white shirt, but I'm sure you can't see him from this far away. If you can't tell, they are arranged to make up an American flag.

Oh, I Love America

America the Beautiful

Monday, November 10, 2008

100+ Reading Challenge - 2009

I will be participating in the 100+ Reading Challenge for 2009. I've never done anything like this, but I read a ridiculous amount of books, so I bet I could give it a genuine shot. For details, please visit

The books I read from 1/1/2009 to 12/31/2009 will be listed in this post:

1. The Duchess and the Dragon - Jamie Carey
2. Blood Memory - Greg Iles
3. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
4. The Sugar Camp Quilt - Jennifer Chiaverini
5. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
6. The Longing - Beverly Lewis
7. The Time Travelers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
8. Twilight - Kristen Heitzmann
9. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
10. The Pattern - Jane Peart
11. Black Notice - Patricia Cornwell
12. I, Richard - Elizabeth George
13. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
14. Marley & Me - John Grogan
15. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
16. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart
(I hate that this seems to be going so slowly, but you just wait....I'll be flying through books in no time when life is not so busy!)
17. The House of Thunder - Dean Koontz
18. Bachelor's Puzzle - Judith Pella
19. Sister's Choice - Judith Pella
20. Treasure Under Finny's Nose - Dana Mentink
21. The Deed of Paksenarrion (Sheepfarmer's Daughter) - Elizabeth Moon
22. A Rush of Wings - Kristen Heitzmann
23. The Still of Night - Kristen Heitzmann
24. 1st to Die - James Patterson
25. Light a Penny Candle - Maeve Binchy
26. The Winding Ways Quilt - Jennifer Chiaverini
27. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
28. Black - Ted Dekker

I read many more books than this in 2009, but I quit posting one day (not even sure why!) I'm positive I didn't make 100, and I'm wondering if I even came close to 50. I'm not joining a challenge in 2010, but I will be tracking the books I read down the side of my blog so I can see how I do.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stone Mountain, GA Trip

We had a wonderful time in Stone Mountain this weekend. When we first decided to go I was a little skeptical...after all, it's just a big rock. I kept wondering why it was considered so much fun. Well, it actually WAS fun. There is a park with all kinds of neat things to see and do. It was the first weekend of their Christmas festivities, so we got to see Polar Express in 4D (it snowed in the theatre!), go to some Christmas shows, see lots of cool lights, and watch a Christmas parade (which was short, which we very thankful for since we were freezing!) It was also the weekend of their Indian Pow Wow, so we saw some neat dancing and demonstrations of different skills. Below are just a few pictures of the gazillion I took.

I would be remiss not to mention Miss Katie's Sideboard Restaurant where we ate a couple of fabulous meals. That was some awesome pot roast! They bring a plate of fried onions, sweet potato fries, and fried pickles to every table, which were all wonderful. They also throw the rolls at you, but quite honestly I was too taken with all the fried food on the table to care much about that! The funniest part of our experience at Miss Katie's was the table we sat at for our second meal. It was rigged to turn slowly while you were eating. It turned so slowly that we had no clue it was happening. My in-laws were in on the joke, so they kept suspiciously snickering. I kept looking around to see what was going on (or about to go on) that had them so broken up. Meanwhile, I kept thinking, "Is John drinking my water? How did it get over there?" and I kept pulling my plate closer to me because it seemed to keep getting away. Did I mention how good that pot roast was? I was totally oblivious. There was even a snowman centerpiece on the table that I should have noticed was turning, but I had no clue. In my defense, John and Samuel didn't notice either!

Overall, we had a great time. If you've never been, you should consider it for a weekend of good family fun.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Me & My Boy

So, I need makeup on and Samuel desperately needs a haircut, but he wanted a new picture of us together.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cuttin' a Rug...

Not sure if you can call it that if you're not actually dancing on carpet....hmm... Anyway, there was no specific event that lead to Samuel's outbreak of joyful dancing. Just an 8-year-old boy diggin' the sound of his flying feet on the laminate floor. Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Anyone Want an Amish Friendship Bread Starter?

Amish Friendship Bread starters have been taking over our house lately. I finally decided to freeze one, throw two away, and keep the last one going because John and Samuel LOVE it. I'm due to bake the bread on Thursday and then I'll have, yes, four more anyone is in the mood for some bread baking, let me know.

Here's a pic from Samuel's soccer game on Saturday. I can't seem to get the timing right on when to press the button (I wanted him actually kicking the ball...), but it's a fairly good pic anyway. You can tell he intends to kick it! They lost again, but only 0-2. It hasn't been a great soccer season as far as winning games, but I think Samuel is having a good time.

Here is a picture from our dinner cruise on the Southern Belle in Chattanooga, TN. After I took this picture and we started to go back down for our dinner we discovered that it was far more scenic on the OTHER side of the boat. Oh well... Samuel, Matthew & Megan all seemed to have a good time. Samuel even learned the macarena. Bars and dance floors are really not an appropriate scene for my 8-year-old son, so I doubt we'll ever go again, but I'm glad we finally got the chance to go since I've always wanted to see what it was like.

This blog was edited on 10/29/2008 to remove blogging and pictures of something I gave to my secret sister at church. I originally posted it thinking "how on earth would she ever see that?" and lo and behold, now there is a chance. Slim, but still there. Oh well. In the event she reads this, she may realize who I am, but I would be surprised if she didn't already know anyway.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Writing the Bible sends me a weekly email with interesting articles, movie reviews, etc... I always enjoy these emails and read most of the articles that they provide links for. Back a couple weeks ago, the first article in their email was called "Writing the Bible Can Be Good for Your Soul". After reading it, I decided to give it a try. They suggest a verse or a chapter, but my inner overachiever kicked in and I've started writing the book of Psalms in the NKJV. I've written the first five chapters in a pretty pink notebook. I can't say I've memorized the scriptures, but it sure does make you think about each and every word when you are writing them. And I end up re-reading the verses multiple times, if only to make sure I didn't miss a word or phrase. Here is the article:

After I started this writing project, I saw an advertisement about the Zondervan "Bible Across America Tour". Zondervan is taking a bus across America and having the Bible (NIV version) hand-written out one verse at a time. I would love to be a part of it...they will be in Chattanooga on November 30th, so I'm going to try to be there.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Future Pastry Chef

OK, so these pictures are from last year...but had I taken pictures last night while Samuel was helping John make a cheesecake, they would have looked EXACTLY like this, so this isn't technically cheating. Today was "Career Day" at school for Samuel and he wore his apron and funky hat and also went wielding a spatula. I don't know for sure exactly when it was, but sometime between ages 4 and 5 Samuel decided he no longer wanted to be a bus driver (he was obsessed with buses), but that he wanted to make cakes for the rest of his life. Not a bad career choice I think. I watch "Ace of Cakes" and wonder if that could be Samuel one day? John and I dream of him making it big and us living off our boy one day.. ha ha. Samuel, of course, has decided I need to run the cash register at his pastry shop. Oh well....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shadow Feet by Brooke Fraser

This is my new favorite song. Every time I hear it I stop what I'm doing and just sing...

Walking, stumbling
On these shadow feet
Toward home, a land that I’ve never seen
I am changing
Less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began

And I have sensed it all along
Now fast approaching is the day

When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you

There’s distraction
Buzzing in my head
Saying in the shadows it’s easier to stay
But I’ve heard rumours of true reality
Whispers of a well-lit way


You make all things new


When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you
When time and space are through
I’ll be found in you
When time and space are through
I'll be found in you

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our New Baby

We are the new owners of a 1994 Mercedes E320. I didn't imagine when the Escort was wrecked that we would buy an even older car, with even higher mileage, but this is an awesome car. We were lucky to get a really good deal on it, and it's in great shape. John is very proud of his new car as you can see!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 13, 2008

Today was Samuel's first soccer game of the season. I didn't get many good pictures because I was too busy trying to remain calm while the other team thoroughly stomped all over our little Tiger team. I believe the score was 0-9, although in Upwards we technically don't keep score (but you can bet the parents do! ha ha) Samuel did a great job running, although he still struggles with fear of the ball. Hopefully, we will be more evenly matched against whatever team we play next week!

Samuel's insect project was finally completed with a lot of work on the part of all three of us. John held the bugs, I held the hot glue gun, and Samuel labeled the cards and helped me get them in the pizza box. He also had to fill out an information sheet on each bug, so that took a lot of time. John helped with the internet research. Overall, it was a fun experience and we all learned a lot. I was thrilled the day Samuel got those bugs out of my house! :-)

I have no pictures of our poor little Ford Escort, but John had a major wreck this week and the car is no more. A teenager pulled in front of him and John hit him hard. It was a very frightening experience...especially when they had to cut the boy out of his car and then the Chaplain showed up! Amazingly, both the boy and John are OK. John has a wound (an air bag burn?) on his head and around his eye is bruised. I thank God every day that He protected John the way that he did.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

3rd Grade!!

Samuel started 3rd grade earlier this month. I can hardly believe he will be 9 years old before the end of this year. How did that happen?

I can tell a definite difference between 2nd & 3rd grade. He has already had one school project this year and we are working on # 2. The first was he had to do a report on a country that was participating in the Olympics. His country was Liberia. I actually learned some things myself and that was pretty cool! He did a report and drew their flag. Then they had an "olympics" of their own at school and he won a gold and a silver medal.

His second project is about insects. I gotta be honest, I am NOT as thrilled about this one. I've got little ziploc baggies lined up on my hutch full of nasty little dead critters. I walk in my kitchen and purposefully look the other way or else I get the willies! The worst was the cricket that refused to die and spent days jumping around in his little baggie. I could hardly stand it. This is definitely a project that John is going to have to help him complete.

Samuel's favorite activity is still video games. Here he is in the place you are most likely to find him. No matter how often I tell him to put the pillows back on the couch, they always end up on the floor in front of the TV so he can get into game-playing "position"!