Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving '09

I am reminded at this time of year that we don't spend near enough time with our extended family. I love these dear people and hope to see them more often during the Christmas season.

Emolyn's Mimi sure was grateful that little Emolyn was well enough to come for the day. She had the stomach flu the night before, but thankfully was on the mend.

Emolyn loves playing with the water pump in our backyard. The sound of the running water is a sweet reminder of my Dad, who bought me the pump a few years ago. He and I share a love of old pumps. He's doing well in case you were wondering.

We had to take a picture of the two Emolyn's along with Miranda, before we took Mom Thompson back to her home in Surprise. (which is an hour away) What a treat to have Randy's Mom spend the day with us. I wish she lived closer so that I could see her more often.

And how cute is this. While the boys were back in Tyler's room playing video games, Emolyn crawled into Tyler's bed, covered herself up and started 'reading' one of Tyler's books. Oh my, not quite the reading material you would want a 1 year old to digest. But then, what do I know about kids these day :)

*** Almost forgot to tell you about my Thanksgiving table cloth! I went to Savers a few days before Thanksgiving and found that lovely piece of fabric that graced my table... that literally covered my two banquet tables perfectly and then some, for $2.99!!! One complete piece of fabric! I love it and will use it for years and years to come!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

my giveaway winner!

And the winner is HEIDI from Ohio!! I put all the names of those that commented, along with a few others that commented on my FB page when I linked to my blog... and pulled out Heidi's name! Heidi & I reconnected through facebook after 30 years apart! We were roommates for a brief time before I married and then we went our separate ways. It's been so fun having her back in my life! Congrats Heidi!

Today I spent the day reorganizing the sheds in the backyard and cleaning the back patio area while Randy painted. So nice to spend the day outside. The weather was cool & breezy. But first I made this amazing, rich turkey broth from the carcass of the turkey... so I could make my favorite turkey noodle soup tonight for dinner. It was sooo good, especially with the Pioneer Woman's rolls. Mmm-mmm, life is good.

Friday, November 27, 2009

giving thanks

~ that much good is coming from the flood.
~ that Tyler & his friends love my pizzookies.
~ that Emolyn calls me Mimi.
~ that my husband adores me.
~ that the weather here is near perfect.
~ that I can trust God with my kids.
~ that we were created with needs...
~ that are met while living out our faith in community.
~ that Randy's Christmas concert is coming up.
~ that mint MnMs are back on the shelves.
~ that we had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! (more pics to come)

*** Hey, just a reminder that my 500th post giveaway expires tonight at 8 PM! Thanks for commenting!

Hope you all had a sweet, memorable Thanksgiving Day with friends & family!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My 500th post GIVEAWAY!

Guess what? It's my 500th post and to commemorate this monumental milestone, I'm having a giveaway! I know, I don't do giveaways. OK, so I did have my one and only giveaway (hollyhock seeds) a couple years ago. But to be honest, I did not even have a clue I was so close to 500 posts. (I only found out a couple hours ago while locating an old Christmas post and saw I was at 499!)
So, what's a girl to do, but have a giveaway. And with this being so last minute... and with Randy's Christmas music playing in my head because of all the rehearsals for his concert, why not his Christmas CD. I really think you will love it. And I also want you to have his newest release, that I love like my first born child. OK, I'm kidding. Well, sorta. And in case you're wondering, I do sing with him on his CDs.
So anyway, I thought, why not a 2 CD set giveaway! And who knows, I might throw in a surprise or two.

Randy wrote this on his web site about his THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES CD-
My whole intent wasn't to do a traditional Christmas album. (I have always said that I didn't want it to be 'Randy Thompson does "Perry Como does Christmas"'). I really wanted to try and break through some of the tradition and the stuff that has come to surround this event and see it again, if only in glimpses, the way it was. The third year we did the concert I added a song that I wrote in the 3 days prior to the concert and which has become the opening song on the album - 'We Want to See Jesus'. One of the lines also ended up becoming the title of the album and a simple way of expressing my desire in this whole project - to see this event that we are so familiar with 'Through Different Eyes'.

Randy wrote this on his web site about his THIRSTY CD-
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
With each day that I spend as an alien and stranger on this desert planet I become more aware of my ever growing hunger and thirst for Christ. I have also become aware that being hungry and thirsty are not something to try and avoid, but rather, they are a gift of God, to continue to draw me to His Son. He is the only one who can satisfy. He is the fountain of living water that never runs dry.

If you would like to win this 2 CD set giveaway for yourself or someone else, then comment by answering this question-

What Christmas CD do you listen to over & over, that will most likely be the first CD you play once the Thanksgiving table is cleared?

I have a whole post planned about my favorite and our extensive Christmas music collection. So stay tuned.

I will be drawing the winner 8 PM Black Friday. (Phoenix time)
Be sure to comment with your email if you don't have a blog.

Thanks everyone for your love and support for these past 500 posts! Who knew I had it in me. I surely didn't. I knew I had the gift of gab, but seriously, 500 posts!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

thanks for health & humor

How cute is Emolyn & her Mommy walking to our little neighborhood park. But as we were heading out the door, Emolyn was quite perplexed as to why her Pop pop was underneath their van. Well, Randy and her Daddy were replacing the fuel pump. But that did not set well with this little girl. In fact hours later as we were leaving for my little thrift store, she looked under the van and hollered for her Pop pop & Daddy. Too cute.

Oh my goodness, the poinsettia, matching sweater & mickey mouse crocs... what can I say, I'm enchanted by this little one.

Miranda had a sweet birthday celebration. As we gathered around the table, I sat back and in my heart gave thanks for our good health and quick humor. I love that we can the find the humor in everything... even the flood is looking to give us years of laughter.

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than bringing out all of Miranda's toys for Emolyn to play with. Heck, for me to play with! Emolyn loved flipping eggs & bacon in the little skillet. She has quite the imagination. It's like I'm watching Miranda all those years ago.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Miranda!

My beautiful daughter Miranda is 25 years old today! And I can still recall every single moment leading up to her arrival as though it was yesterday.

We celebrated Thanksgiving the day before she was born. We had a wonderful meal at Randy's parents, went home and I woke up around midnight in labor. I tried to go back to sleep, and succeeded somewhat but still aware of my occasional contractions. I would wake up and lay there thinking about our 2 1/2 year old son Shawn and that he was about to meet his little brother or sister. And I was so excited for him that I could hardly stand it. He was going to be the best brother.

I had gone through 24+ hours of labor with Shawn but when they finally broke my water, he was born in 2 hours. So we were prepared to go in and suggest they do the same with this baby so as to avoid hours and hours of unnecessary labor. Sure enough we go in around 4 PM, they break my water and Miranda is born 2 hours later.

And the best part- she was a healthy baby girl! A girl! Randy & I had a daughter! Shawn had a sister! We were ecstatic!
As long as I live I will never forget hearing Randy yell out "It's a girl!". You see, I got to tell him I'm pregnant and he got to tell me It's a girl!. Truly one of the happiest moments of my life. I don't think I stopped smiling for months. And what a magical time of year to bring home a newborn baby. I would nurse her each night to the glow of the Christmas tree lights.

When she was two weeks old we had to take her back to St. Joe's for her two week check up and while Randy, Shawn, Miranda & I sat in the waiting room, in walks Santa. He kneels down and reaches in his bag of toys and hands them each a Christmas bear. I will never forget the look on Shawn's face. I literally started crying. (I'm crying again as I write this) I have a list of my top 5 Christmas memories and this is at the very top. We set those bears out every Christmas on the little rocking chair that Randy sat in as a little boy... and remember the magic of that moment.

On the way home from church yesterday, I was on the phone with Miranda and telling her once again that I was sad that I didn't have any gifts for her to open on her birthday. And she proceeded to tell me that her love language is not gifts... it's affirmation, quality time and physical touch. You guys, I did not know that. My daughter will be 25 and her own Mom did not know that.

But I know now.

Miranda, you are one of the most gifted women I know. You are fearless & courageous. You dream big, and actually take those steps of faith to fulfill those dreams.
You are trustworthy, the most loyal, loving & generous friend I know. I have always said that I would want you as my best friend.
You are smart, both intellectually and street smart. You love to learn. You're a sponge. And it's infectious.
Miranda, when you were leading worship at the Women's Retreat last month, I was so moved by your humble spirit, your love for Jesus and your tender heart for God.
You are wise and mature beyond your years. You have the gift of faith like your Dad.
You're kind and thoughtful and you always think the best of others. You have never said an unkind thing about anyone ever.
You reflect Christ to the world. You are authentic. People are drawn to you. You are safe.
You inspire me to be a better person. I have learned more from you than you'll ever know. That's why I always say that I hope I grow up to be like you Miranda.
You have given me 25 precious years of pure joy & delight.
I love you forever & always,
Your Mom

Saturday, November 21, 2009

visual eye candy

My name is Linda and I'm addicted to tiny houses.
I'm serious. I love tiny houses. And I thought that maybe by blogging about it I would get to the root of this obsession. I mean really, what's the big deal with tiny houses? Especially when some of you know that I love lots of stuff. (hey, look at my sidebar)
Yes, I am quite the dichotomy. I love my collections and all. But I long for the simple life... to live in a tiny house with just the bare necessities. That's why I love my little cottage on wheels. It fulfills my desire to live with very little. I recently become aware that I have become a slave to my possessions. And this flood is a window of opportunity for me to make a change.
Frank Lloyd Wright once observed: "Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions."
I'm not wealthy, but I sure am tired of being a janitor of my possessions.

Anyway, this is the blog that began my tiny house online obsession- Tiny House Blog.
***WARNING- this blog contains insane amounts of visual eye candy, therefore detaining you for hours on end... hours that you can never get back.

Read about this tiny house on wheels. I'll be honest, I could not live full-time in a house this tiny on wheels. But it's still adorably cute.

Love this tiny house in a landscape feature that the Tiny House Blog posts each month. The cozy cottage in the woods of my dreams looks just like this. I seriously want to sprinkle my fairy dust and be transported to this very spot. Hey, I am Tinker Bell.

Love this tiny cabin in Wisconsin. The inside and the surrounding scenery are so serene.

Oh be still my heart, a silo house! My personal favorite. I am so drawn to quirky homes. The next time we go to Door County, WI- I want to stay in this really cool Bed & Breakfast called the Silo Guest House.

I'm thinking my fascination with tiny houses began several years ago, when I went to Alaska with Randy on a concert tour. Oh my gosh, there were these charming little coffee huts everywhere! And all with such unique designs... Scandinavian, European, modern, cottage, log cabin, etc. And all I can think of is, I want to live in one of those tiny coffee huts. But I can sure see why they flourished, who wants to get out of their warm vehicle to get a cup of coffee in Alaska.

Well, here in the Valley of the Sun, who wants to get out of their air-conditioned car to get an iced coffee in the dead of summer? Well, we now have our very own coffee hut drive-through- Dutch Bros Coffee has arrived! How cute is their packaging design! And how great is their coffee!

How did I get from tiny houses to Dutch Bros Coffee?

But even as a little girl I loved my tiny playhouses. My playhouse was either in a tiny corn crib or tucked away in the basement next to the big old furnace. My cousin Marie had her playhouse in a little round brooder house (a house for baby chicks) and it was pitch dark inside. Marie was blind, so she was ok with that. Not us kids though. She had the most amazing kitchen in her playhouse and we could hardly see to play with it. I was so jealous of her playhouse.

We also had a brooder house on our farm that my sisters played in, after we got rid of the chickens and before it was torn down. We also had a bloody tree stump next to that brooder house that was designated as a chopping block, where my Mom would chop the heads off chickens for a our Sunday dinner. (ok, so maybe that was too much information... sorry 'bout that) Would it also weird you out to know that the chickens run around for several minute after their heads are chopped off? And get this, that happens to be one of my earliest childhood memories! I know, what a memory for a little kid! So now you know where the saying "I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off" comes from. You don't hear me saying that too often though. Too creepy.

How did I get from tiny houses to headless chickens?

Anyway, from everything that I'm reading online... smaller, simpler homes are all rage.
I loved this article that Shireen Qudosi wrote for Tiny House blog about the small living movement that is quickly gaining momentum.
She reminds us that it was Leonardo da Vinci who first said, “small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it." So true.
I really encourage you to read this thought provoking post.

So, you're probably thinking, what are you doing spending all this time online when your home is torn up from the flood. Well, you see, I am in that waiting game... waiting for the dry-wall guys to come... so that we can paint... then we can carpet... than we can decorate for Christmas. Yeh! In the mean time, my home is rather disorganized, in shambles, in need of repair. And that's code for: I'm a mess, in shambles, slightly overwhelmed. Ok, majorly overwhelmed!

I'm still having Thanksgiving in my home. It will be well worth it to see my mother-in-law Emolyn with her great-grandbaby Emolyn. I love when the two Emolyn's get together! Who cares what my home looks like, as long as we're all together as a family.

***Be sure to click on the red highlighted words so you can take a peek inside each of the tiny houses.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

shamrocks & lemons

I have always wanted to do this at California Adventure. So I did. But I always make time to take that Disney character quiz in Hollywood and I am always Tinker Bell. Always.

Something is always blooming year round here in the Valley of the Sun. It's pretty little shamrocks at the moment.

And the lemons on my lemon tree are ripening quickly. I will pick them as I need them, well into the month of June. Cuz leaving them on the tree is the best way to preserve them. I love my lemon tree.

Monday, November 16, 2009

*monday musing

* do you see what I woke up to Saturday morning? Rain. Yes, RAIN! I was beside myself.... ok, what exactly does that mean? Must find out.
* WikiAnswers says- Speechless with bewilderment. Dumbfounded with a tad bit of shock.
Oh ya, that would be me Sat.. I was beside myself.
* good news, we'll be getting a new kitchen. Even better news, we don't have to start the kitchen remodel till after the holidays. Yeh!
* spending an inordinate amount of time looking at kitchens online.
* embarrassed to admit that one of the wall units they tore down held a bazillion magazines... some that date back to the 90's. I know. Because they were stacked, only the bottom few got wet. So I've been slowly tossing them all week... but not before checking out any possible kitchen designs. Bye beloved magazines.
* my son Shawn inherited my love of magazines. Sorry Nicole.
* the flood has forced me to take note of all my stuff. Must weed out stuff.

* uncovered this large metal cooler with spout in the garage, that I thrifted years ago for a dollar. It will now be a part of our cottage camping adventures.
* the green plaid lunch box was mine when I was a little girl.
* love the color and design of old thermos bottles.
* the mess is getting to me. Overwhelming. Paralyzing. Dismal.
* I think I need a grandbaby fix. A well known cure-all for everything.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

post-Disney flood of '09

You know how it says in James 4:13- Listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Hey, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow!

Well, we did not heed that verse. You see, Randy & I and the kids spent most of the 6 hours driving home from Disneyland talking about what we would do the next day... and about all the plans we had for the upcoming Holidays.

And then we came home to this... and all those plans went down the drain... well, so to speak. We were shocked. It was so creepy & horrifying to walk in and see this. Can you imagine! Well, within a half-hour a crew from a company that Randy found online came to our rescue... removing the water and the carpet and area rug and leaving us with several high-powered fans. Talk about the ultimate white noise while attempting to sleep. I don't think I slept but 2 hours that night after the crew left around midnight. I just couldn't shut my brain off. The house just reeked of water-soaked pressed board & wood.

The next morning the guys returned to begin tearing out the water damaged walls and all the built-ins. They needed to treat the walls for mold & mildew. Man oh man, what a mess. I had no idea how damaging water can be. All I could think of was the effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, when they were literally shoveling sludge and mud out of their homes after the waters subsided. This was nothing compared to that.

Randy was so sad to see them tear out the window bench seat that he built specifically for the "church village" and his beloved boyhood train that he & Miranda set up each Christmas. I will miss the massive storage underneath for all my quilts, blankets and pillows.

We have now experienced all 4 ways that water can reek havoc in your home-
~ Randy had left on a 2 week concert tour back when we didn't have cell phones. Randy had no more than pulled out of the driveway when the backyard sprinkler system burst, flooding the backyard & patio. I ran next door and my neighbor showed me how to shut off the main water valve.
~ a couple years ago I came home from Bible Study mere moments after the washing machine hose had burst and the water was about to flood the sunken living room. Had I decided to go to lunch with a friend... it surely would have.
~ a year ago on Thanksgiving Eve, with a house full of family visiting from Oklahoma City, the water heater floods the garage. Randy had to replace the water heater that night, so we could take showers and do dishes the next day.
~ and last weekend the water filtration system blows under the kitchen sink and floods our home during our 3 day Disneyland trip.

I'd like to think we're done. At least I'm praying we are!

Lessons learned from the flood of '09-
~ ALWAYS turn off the main water valve when you leave your home overnight.
~ Teach everyone in your home how to turn off the main water valve.
~ Water filtration systems are notorious for bursting like ours did, says our homeowners insurance man.

So, don't get all weirded out if I get in-your-face, I mean in-your-blog, when you post that you're going out of town and I comment in capital letters "DID YOU TURN OFF YOUR MAIN WATER VALVE?" It has become my new mantra. Something good has to come from this.

Seriously though, this is nothing. I mean, really, it's nothing. I know there are some of you that would give anything to experience the inconvenience of water damage over the inconvenience of weekly chemo treatments. I know that some of you would take a flooded home over losing your home because of the poor economy. And I am so sorry. Cuz that's a big deal. This isn't.

Anyway, I will keep you posted as this all unfolds. Nothing of any value was damaged. It's all just stuff. Used stuff. I don't buy new. And nothing of sentimental value was damaged, except for the Polar Express book, cassette & bell set that I got the kids when they were little.
Oh my gosh, I forgot the best part... because our sunken living room holds a TON of water, the bedrooms, Randy's office and my craft room were spared!! It would have surely flooded the whole house had we not had a big sunken room to hold most of the water. The kitchen, dining room and the sunken living room were the only rooms that flooded. We were SOOO grateful cuz it could have been so much worse. God is so good. Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


We had the best time as a family at Disneyland! Truly THE BEST! The last time we went as a family was 5 years ago but this time we had Emolyn Kate with us. And it doesn't get any better than seeing Disneyland through the eyes of a child.

Of course I had to bring the Princess clothes I have been collecting for Emolyn. (that I found at thrift stores) When my kids were growing up they always traveled with their pretend/dress-up clothes. In fact, those bags took up more room than their regular clothes.

I have been drooling over Amy's aqua Mickey scarf that she got at Disneyland last year and wore when she spent the day at St. Paul's Cathedral in London with Miranda. Randy surprised me and bought me my very own. I love it!

Oh how Emolyn loves her Aunt 'Mandy'!

Yes, Randy & I actually danced in Disneyland, making me the happiest girl in the happiest place on earth! We danced to this fabulous Big Band orchestra from the swing era. They were great!

Maybe a spot of tea to suit your fancy? Come on, we sing and everything! We take requests!

How cute is Miss Emy? At the last second she leaned in to make the shot and got us so tickled.

Love that this little family wholeheartedly embraces Mickey into their family.

And then it was time to head home. Along with all the other rides, I made sure to ride my favorites Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, CA Screamin and Soarin over CA two times each. I've become quite the roller coaster maniac! And there is nothing better on the planet than the sensation of Soarin Over California.

But then we arrived home...

Stay tuned.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pioneer Woman Cooks!

Ok, so WOW, it's been quite an eventful weekend. But before I tell you all about Disneyland and then coming home to a flooded house, I'll start you out with the Pioneer Woman's cookbook tour here in Tempe Thursday night.
Ree was amazing, so elegant, charming & funny. And she has the most gorgeous hair. Seriously, gorgeous. I loved her. She was like a rock star. But so down-to-earth. I want her to be my best friend. I want her to invite me to the Lodge so I can wash vegetables in her vegetable sink.

I went to the book signing with my friends Judi and Cheryl. We had such fun visiting in the standing-room-only bookstore till Ree, Missy and Marlboro Man's Mom came out. I loved the Q&A session. I even asked her a question so she would notice me. I am such a groupie like that.

But because we were scheduled to get our books signed in the wee hours of the morning (I am not even kidding), we chose to leave our books for her to sign and later pick up. Poor Ree has been signing books till 1 am at every city on this tour so far! Isn't she the best!
*** Disney and flooded house posts coming soon.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Etsy, Disney, Suns & Tyler

~ spent a couple hours on Etsy yesterday looking at vintage travel postcards. I hope to decorate my cottage on wheels with vintage National Park postcards.
~ my friend Nancy & her husband Terry are visiting Smokey Mountain National Park this week and I found THIS for her travel postcard collection.
~ how cute is the paper towel holder above the door and the magazine rack to the right in my little cottage? So cute & way functional.
~ the plaid metal picnic basket will hold all our snacks when we travel. A yard sale find for $3.00.
~ so excited to find two pieces of melmac & raffia thermal ware for 69 cents each. (clic pic to enlarge)

~ what do you give your 20 year old son for Christmas when he's leaving for the Marine Corp on January 4th? A family trip to Disneyland! Yup, Randy & I, Shawn, Nicole & Emolyn, Miranda and Tyler leave for Disneyland Friday morning! SOOO excited!

~ our PHOENIX SUNS are 4-0!! GO SUNS! (oops, 4-1, they got beat last night)
~ speaking of Tyler & Disney, check out Tyler's arrangement of Circle of Life. (he's singing every part you're hearing) He is such a gifted musician... but with a humble heart for God. And this mama could not be more proud.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Randy's Christmas Concert!

Randy's Annual Christmas Concert is coming up Friday, Dec. 4th & Saturday, Dec. 5th. You are all invited to this free concert in Phoenix. Randy has been doing his Christmas concert for 15+ years but was unable to do it last year so this year we are offering you two nights to choose from. Hope you can join us at our church auditorium on 19th Ave. between Northern & Dunlap starting at 7PM. Seating is limited so come early.
You will be hearing most of the songs off his "Through Different Eyes" CD and as always he will be joined by his band and his family... Shawn on lead guitar, Miranda, Tyler & I singing back up vocals on various songs with Randy. It is such a special evening. Plan for an hour and a half of inspiring music and stories that will make you laugh and cry. You will truly come away focused on the true meaning of Christ in Christmas.
Check out THIS post I did after Randy's Christmas concert two years ago so you can get an idea of what you will be experiencing.
And be sure to come talk to me after the concert!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween highlights

My husband loves to decorate for Halloween. Seriously, he transforms our front yard into an old cemetery using old rod iron fences with bones & skulls & headstones scattered about. Rather creepy but in a fun creepy way. The Trick or Treaters love it.

Such sweet, memorable moments from the Wine & Cheese Party Friday night. I love the people in these three pictures. And I have many more snapshots in my mind that make me smile. That's the thing, photos can only take you so far... and then you remember a funny story that someone shared or that first bite of warm pumpkin pie or feeling the love in the hugs from our hosts John & Suzi. Those can't be captured any other way but in your heart, mind and soul.

It's hard to believe we actually needed warm coats this past weekend. What a treat to wear cute scarves & sweaters once again. Love this time of year.

So I woke up Saturday morning and thought split peas soup. Yup, I had to make split peas soup for our Halloween supper... along with those buttered rosemary rolls featured on the Pioneer Woman's blog.

So I did. And they did not disappoint. I now call it my cast iron meal. Both were made using my real old cast iron skillet and dutch oven that were passed down to me many years ago. You do know, the older the better, especially if seasoned properly over it's lifetime. Anyway, the soup & rosemary rolls were the perfect compliment to each other. You gotta have yeast rolls to dip into thick peas soup and later to sop up that last lovin' spoonful. Mmm, mmm, good!