In July, my friend asked if I would help her with some photos for a cookbook she was writing. Megan and Adrian came along as taste testers.

I learned a lot about photographing food! We took pictures outside and moved them around to keep them out of direct sun. Jen and I had a lot of fun getting the pictures to look right before the children swarmed in to critique the samples.

Yesterday, Jen gave me a finished copy of her book. The Gluten-Free Casein-Free Soy-Free Cookbook. It looks very nice and it is exciting to see pictures that I took on a published book cover! As Megan looked at the book, she stated she wanted ice cream. I said that we had some at home. She informed me she did not want that ice cream, she wanted the ice cream from the cover. She had tried in it July and thought it was wonderful. She was supposed to share, but she ended up eating most of it. Adrian was partial to the strawberry pie.

Even though I have not personally made many of the recipes, we have enjoyed several at Jen’s house when we visit. Everything we have tried is very good!

P.S. If you are interested in this book, Amazon claims it it out of stock right now, but you can preview it. You can find it here, but you can’t look inside.


IMG_4113When Daddy was in high school, he played the french horn and the trumpet.  Growing up, I remember Daddy playing the trumpet some evenings, but it was not until a few years ago, that Daddy took up the french horn again.

Yesterday we went to listen to him play in a Christmas concert.  We have gone for the last few years, and it is a nice relaxing way to start December.  Last night we were surprised to discover that Santa Claus came to enjoy the concert too!  Megan was not sure what she thought of him, but Audrey and Adrian talked with him for a few minutes after the concert.  They both are requesting lots of packing snow for Christmas!

Taking a break to enjoy a concert
Part of Daddy’s band

Esther and Alan

IMG_3324.bwA few weeks ago, Esther asked if I could take some engagement photos of Alan and her.  I told her that I would love to try.

We met at the park where Alan proposed on a cold, rainy day.  I loved the overcast sky, but my flash did not like the cold!  A few days later we met again to try a few more ideas that Esther had. The sun was out, it had snowed, and it was even colder!

It was fun taking couple pictures.  My absolute favorite is the sepia on top.  I love Alan’s serious look. It is different than most engagement pictures that is all about the girl. Some of my other favorites are in the slide show below.

If you are interested in seeing more of the pictures, I am sure that you could persuade Esther to show them to you. She would also enjoy introducing you to Alan and showing off her ring too. Please continue to pray for Esther and Alan as they plan next year’s fall wedding.

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Late Night

SnuggleAudrey readingI often let the kids have one late night while Allan is gone.  They are allowed to stay up as long as they wish quietly reading, but they need to be cheerful the next day and remember that they will need a nap.

The kids surprised me last night by how late everyone stayed up.  Andrea and Audrey snuggled together reading on the top bunk, until Andrea fell asleep around 10:30.  Audrey moved to her bed and curled up with a flashlight to read longer.

Megan started in her bed, not knowing that Adrian was reading under covers. When she discovered the red light shining through, she curled up with him.  He was ready to sleep close to 11:00 and Megan moved in to snuggle with Audrey.

When Audrey fell asleep, Megan crawled back into her bed and sang for a little bit.  She lasted until almost 11:30 before she fell asleep.

Mark started reading on the couch upstairs, but moved down to his bed just before 11:00. I have no idea what time he turned off his lights, because I went to sleep soon after Megan.


MeganWhen Allan has a business trip, we try to call everyday. Sometimes we can talk a few times during the day.  With him in China this time, talking is a little trickier.

According to the kids, Allan is in the future, since he is thirteen hours ahead of us.  When we get up in the morning, he is exhausted and ready to crawl into bed.  Jet lag is not fun! By the time he comes home next week, he will have to readjust to “normal” time.

I am very thankful for Skype!  Allan calls us over the computer as often as he can. We can see each other and talk. Our conversations are short, but Allan does not seem as far away this way.

Megan is struggling with missing her Daddy.  She woke up last night calling for him.  After snuggling and reminding her that Daddy loves her very much and will call soon, she fell back to sleep.  I am so glad that she has a way to talk to him everyday.

Talking to Allan
Talking to Allan

The only negative is that she seems to think if she gets the headphones on Daddy will be on the computer, ready to talk to her.  I find her by the computer with the headphones a few times everyday.  Just waiting….



Hands on Education

Fun breakfast
Fun breakfast

When Allan has business trips, we do school a little differently. This morning, I treated the kids out to breakfast and then we went to look for some materials we needed for an art project we want to do. After roaming the library looking for books on China and good read out louds, we headed home. Mark worked on the leaves while Adrian sat in the swing drawing tigers. The girls played outside and then worked on some of their art work.

Then this evening, we enjoyed having our friend Miss Jili over. Miss Jili is from China and an intern where Allan works. She said she would teach us how to use chopsticks and teach us some recipes from home. It was a fun evening!

Jili taught us how to make eggs and tomatoes–which is similar to something that I make for breakfast–asparagus with chili peppers and garlic, and spicy chicken called Kong Poa. Everyone enjoyed the meal and ate a lot, even using chopsticks! Adrian asked how do they drink in China and Jili said, “with chopsticks”. Adrian just had to try it. After dinner the girls showed Miss Jili how to make beaded bobby pins. Adrian fixed us apple slices for dessert while Mark made us tea and we talked some more.

We enjoyed ourselves so much, that everyone stayed up very late! I hope that we have the chance to get together with Miss Jili again after Allan gets home so he can share with her some of his trip.

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Almost Perfect

RainbowIt has been fun watching the weather.  It poured most of the day and the wind has been very strong. A few strong storms have passed by, but none have hit us.

When it cleared up for a few minutes, we headed outside to play and Audrey discovered a rainbow. We enjoyed taking pictures of it before it started to rain again and we headed back inside.

We have been extremely lazy today. The kids and I have enjoyed hanging around, doing nothing of importance since returning from church and visiting my mom as a birthday surprise.

Even with the crazy weather, it was almost a perfect Sunday. If Allan could have enjoyed relaxing with us today, instead of heading to China for a business trip, it would have been a perfect day.

Allan left for Shanghai, China very early this morning.  I am not exactly sure what he is doing, other than it has something to do with wire harnesses. Please pray for his safety while he is gone. I asked him to write updates as a “guest writer” on the blog, so hopefully he will have time to post a little.Clouds