Sunday, December 31, 2017

Don and His Skis

Still crazy, after all these years.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Day at Breckenridge

In the 21 years that we have been vacationing in Colorado, we have never visited the Breckenridge Ski Resort until today.  It is only 45 minutes away from Beaver Creek, so I don't know what took us so long to get over there! The snowfall has been very light this year, and we heard that Breckenridge had more snow. Besides that, Heidi's sister, Carly, was in Breckenridge with her husband's family.

Josh, Katherine, Kendall, and Peter decided to hit the slopes.

But Heidi wanted to hang out with her sister! She lives in Texas, so they don't get to see each other very often.

After Don and I dropped the snowboarders/skier off, we headed to downtown Breckenridge and had a very, very nice breakfast at Doma 1898.

Then we walked along Main Street where there are lots and lots of shops.

 The wind had picked up so much today that several of the lifts were closed. Kendall said that while she was skiing down the mountain, the wind was so strong it stopped her from descending!

At 1:00, we had lunch at the base of Peak 9. While we were sitting there, Peter checked to see if the weather was getting worse, and he found out that all the lifts were closed...most likely for the rest of the day because of high winds.

Daniel, Heidi, Carly, and Christian tried to ride the free gondola up the mountain, and it closed just as they got to the lift line.

What do you do when you can't go skiing? You go shopping, of course.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Day on the Slopes

I remember when Don used to buckle my ski boots! So sweet!

Kendall and Peter on their way to the mountain.

 At Centennial lift.

She's ready for the black diamonds! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Beaver Creek 2017

Beaver Creek has the least amount of snow for the last week of the year since we have been coming here. But that didn't stop anyone from hitting the mountain today.

You can't tell that the snow depth is low from this photo.

Underneath those goggles, you'll find Heidi and Daniel.

And there's Josh and Katherine.

Kendall had just gone in when I came out with my camera, so I'll have to catch her tomorrow.

The Beaver Creek Lodge - where our condo is.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy Anniversary, Peter & Kendall

Can it be that these two have been married one year? 
Yes! Happy Anniversary!

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove (pronounced oo-va) by Fredrik Backman was originally written in Swedish. In 2013, it was released in English. I used this book for the "Book in Translation" category on the MMD reading challenge. 

Ove has lost his beloved wife Sonja, and he no longer wants to go on living. He feels useless and lost. He decides he is going to end it all and be with Sonja, but all his many attempts to kill himself are foiled in some way.

The author states at the beginning of the book that Ove is 59 years old. That happens to be my age, but this man seemed 20 years older. Maybe because he was Swedish? Or maybe I'm not as young as I think I am? That was the only thing that bothered me about the book.

Other than that, it was a funny and heartwarming story of a curmudgeon who, despite himself, wins the love of others. Ove's new neighbors adopt him, and the children call him grandpa. He realizes after all that he is needed by the cat, the kids, and other adults in his life. I would rate this book 4 stars. It's worth a read!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Cards

According to the Smithsonian Institute, the "Three Little Angels" Christmas card by Hallmark has sold over 34 million copies (as of 2015). This card was introduced in 1977 and is still in print today. The sentiment inside reads: "God bless you, keep you and love you ... at Christmastime and always." I think I remember receiving one or two of these over the years.

Many people have stopped sending Christmas cards, and I can understand why. With postage stamps at $0.45, it's not cheap!

So what do you do with all those Christmas cards that arrive in your mailbox? It's a shame to toss them in the trash.

A couple of friends save their Christmas cards in a basket and pull one out each day throughout the year and pray for that family. I think this is a great idea!

Some cards are just too pretty or special to ever throw away.

When Don's Aunt Betty was alive, she sent Christmas cards that featured one of her Christmas paintings (see the painting above). They are so beautiful they deserve to be framed.

I remember my mom making crafts from her leftover Christmas cards. She also cut them up and used them as gift tags for the next year.

I still love sending cards, and I still love receiving them. It's a tradition that I hope never completely goes away.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Market

Katherine and I decided to participate in the Marion Christmas Market this year. The Christmas market is just like the summer market, but it is held the first three Saturdays in December. Katherine had to pay $50 for a spot at the market for the whole summer. For the indoor market, she had to pay $50 for the day! So we only did one day. We sold cookie plates and cupcake boxes.

This is what the cookie plates looked like.

Then all packaged up in a bow. We had 18 of these.

And this is what the cupcakes looked like (chocolate peppermint, red velvet, and gingerbread).

Then all packaged in a box. We had 12 of these.

Katherine worked very hard all day Friday making cupcakes and frosting.

And Don helped me package up the cookie plates (payback for helping him fish wire through the walls).

We had a nice location at the market - on the corner next to the breakfast/lunch vendor).

After a slow start, traffic began to pick up. We had a hard time convincing people that these cookie plates and cupcakes were worth $10. They had no idea the work that went into them. So after a few hours, we reduced the price to $8. We also broke open a couple of packages and started to sell items individually because so many people asked for just one cupcake or a couple of cookies. Then my inner salesman came out and I began accosting people like we were in a market at the port of Istanbul. I suggested that they buy a package to give to a neighbor or as a hostess gift or to a friend. It worked! I learned from the guy at the table on our left who was selling wooden puzzles that you have to grab people's attention when they walk by or they will just continue to walk by!

Santa had no trouble forking over the $10. We felt a little guilty making Santa pay for cookies. But not that guilty!

At the end of the day, this was all that was left. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Reading Lists

I have to read three books in the next 17 days to complete The Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge. I veered off course somewhere in the summer and started reading things that didn't qualify, so now I am in crunch mode. Fortunately, I already finished the long book.

But now it is time to start thinking about 2018. Ann Bogel just released her 2018 reading challenge.

I have to think about whether I want to do that one or whether I want to work toward a different goal.

Here are a few I am considering:

Read 100 books 

Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books

Tim Challies Reading Challenge

50 Best Christian Books

Around the Year 52 Book Challenge

Around the World in 80 Books

Or the ultimate challenge: Read all the books I own that I haven't already read!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Polar Bear Cookies

Peter would have LOVED these cookies when he was in Kindergarten! Polar bears were his favorite thing.

I was looking for Christmas Cookie ideas on Pinterest the other day and saw these cute cookies. They will make a nice addition to our Marion Market cookie trays.

The recipe came from Noshing with the Nolands.

These cookies use Double Stuff Oreos as their base, and there are more than a few oreo casualties sitting at the bottom of my wastebasket tonight. But I managed to complete about 18 good ones!

So cute!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Lentil Soup

Heidi asked me the other day if I had a recipe for Lentil Soup. We were eating dinner at Aladdin's, and she had ordered it for her meal. I said that I had never made Lentil Soup, but I should look into it.

The next day I searched for an easy recipe that looked healthy. I found one on the website that I liked. I made it for dinner last night with some slight modifications. I thought I would be eating it alone, but Don said he would try it and eat a PB & J if he didn't like it. He wasn't even sure what a lentil was.

Don ended up liking it (after adding more salt).

I loved it. This was a winner that I will make again.

Use good quality lentils so you don't have to pick through them and get rid of debris.

Lentil Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 c. dry lentils
8 c. water
2 handfuls of spinach (chop if you want)
1 T white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook 2 minutes.

Stir in lentils, water, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, stir in spinach, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

My Notes: I accidentally used NO SALT crushed tomatoes so I added 2 T. salt at the end.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas Cookie Time

Whenever I make cookies, two individuals will be nearby. Don will be hanging out for the "bowl," and Riley will be hanging out for anything that drops on the floor.

Yes, Don eats raw cookie dough, and he hasn't gotten salmonella yet.

Katherine and I are baking this week because we are getting together next Saturday to sell cookies at the Marion Christmas Market. This is the same market that's open each Saturday during the summer, but it is indoors during the month of December.

We are baking seven types of Christmas cookies and will be selling them mixed together on a cookie tray packaged up with a Christmas bow. Katherine is also baking three kinds of holiday cupcakes and selling them in boxes of six.

Peter and Kendall may join us and sell some wooden coasters they are creating. Or they might just join us to have some fun. It will be a good time for all in Marion next weekend (photos to come).

In the meantime, Don and Riley will be on hand to help me bake the best cookies ever.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas 1996

Katherine - 8

Daniel - 6

Peter - 2 1/2

Monday, December 4, 2017

Meet me Under the Mistletoe

On Friday night, we hosted a big Christmas party for the employees and board of VCA. Daniel helped me set up a photo booth in our basement using some of his camera equipment. We all had fun using the props and taking pictures. Here are some of my favorites:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I love family saga books, so Pachinko by Min Jin Lee was right up my alley. The book takes place from 1910 to 1989, mostly set in Japan.

The main character, Sunja, falls in love with a rich, Korean mobster from Japan who also happens to be married with three daughters. At the age of 16, Sunja becomes pregnant but refuses to be his mistress.

A Christian minister staying at Sunja's mother's inn in Korea offers to marry her so that her child would have a name. They end up moving to Osaka to live with his brother and they end up having to stay there because of various wars.

Koreans are looked down upon in Japan, and one of the only ways they can make real money is to work in and maybe eventually own Pachinko (slot machine) parlors. Sunja's younger son, Mozasu, becomes a Pachinko owner and becomes very wealthy.

Throughout the book, Sunja experiences much loss and suffering as her family endures prejudice and tragedy. This was a very interesting read. I enjoyed learning about these cultures and a little history of Korea and Japan. I recommend it if you like this sort of genre.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Roman Holiday

Roman enjoyed a vacation at our house for 10 days while Katherine & Josh were in Colombia.

He adopted me as his mother and always wanted to be as close to me as possible. Obviously, this did not go over well with Riley.

Roman entertained himself by rearranging the rugs in our kitchen.

And by making the door stopper in the bathroom go "boing."

By 8:30 each night, he was all worn out.

He was pretty happy when his family returned!

Riley was pretty happy when they packed him up in the car.

So long little buddy!