Friday, December 31, 2010

Kiss 2010 Good-Bye!

I'm soooo glad to "kiss" 2010 good-bye!!! I can't say I am sorry to see it end! It takes a prized third place in the three worst years of my life. 2007 gets first place and 1997 gets second place! Yet, I must say that the hard times made me a better person. I am stronger, have more faith, and have learned so many things about myself and my God.

With no expectations, I’m looking forward to growing and learning and becoming closer to what the Lord wants me to become in 2011. My word for this next year that I have chosen is "thankfulness". I plan to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t. And be grateful.

Happy New Year to my family, friends, and blogging community! Let's pray 2011 will be a great year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Boy and His Toys

Bob LOVES getting money for his birthday and Christmas (which are 7 days apart). He always begins planning, in early December, what he will spend his money on.

Well, this year he decided to spend it on Jeep parts!! I KNOW what every woman reading this blog is thinking, "Oh, how exciting. NOT!!" He ordered some parts on line and then went this morning to buy a winch. Isn't it pretty? :0)

Here he is showing me where the winch is going to be placed on the front bumper:

And here's a picture of his "toy" and "pride and joy". He LOVES this thing (even though it hasn't ran for several months).

Sometimes I just shake my head and say, "A Boy and his toys!"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home Alone!!

Yes, Bob and I are "home alone"!! When my brother, Wes, left on Sunday morning, he took Hilary and Lyle with him again this year. You should have heard all their "plans" for the week -- a week in San Francisco! I have to say, I was somewhat jealous! :0) As my Grandma Haley would have said, "They had a list of things to do a mile long!" Can't wait to hear about all their fun each evening when they call Mom to "report" the day's happenings!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Fun!

We had such a wonderful Christmas! When I was young, we celebrated on Christmas Eve. Bob, on the other hand, always celebrated Christmas morning. So, we do both! We open the presents from my Mom and brother on Christmas Eve and then open our other presents on Christmas morning.

Moma and Wes came over for "junk food" (as my kids call it) for Christmas Eve. We stuffed ourselves on finger foods and appetizers and sweets, sweets, and more sweets. I was SOOOOO proud of my brother for staying on his diet with not even one little bite. He had bananas and oranges for his dessert! (He's lost 60+ pounds!)

On Christmas morning, we had our traditional breakfast of cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, and sausage. We opened presents and enjoyed a turkey dinner with all the trimmings that evening.

I know this is a lot of pictures (and in random order), but I couldn't help myself:

I love having a fireplace, but especially at Christmas!

Santa (also known as Papa and Gramz) always brings the kid pj's!

Moma unwrapping some of her presents

The table set for Christmas morning breakfast

Santa brought Kitty a stocking filled with a toy and treats!
(Just goes to show you can get something EVEN if you've been bad!)

Kitty playing with his toy mouse!

Table set for Christmas Day Dinner

We had such a great time together. We ate, ate, and ate some more. We spent the evening playing pinochle and just hanging out!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to my family, friends, and blogging community. Blogging is such fun, and I do feel like I "know" each of you. I pray you and your families have a wonderful Christmas and that you know the joy that comes from the God I love who sent His only son to be born and live a human life so He could then die for our sins so we could have life ABUNDANT with Him forever! He is the greatest gift ever given!!!

I wanted to share a video with you. Please take a moment to watch it; it will bless your heart!!! As many of you know, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are missionaries in Alaska. This video was made in the village of Quinhagak, Alaska where Larry and Dora Strunk are teachers. It will give you a small glimpse into "life" in an Alaskan village. You'll see the school, the church, the post office, the small store, the mail plane, etc. Most of all, you'll meet some of the people in the little village of Quinhagak. ENJOY!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Traditions

One of our Christmas traditions (which we have done since my kids were very little) is to make Gingerbread Houses. We cheat and buy the pre-baked ones that you just assemble. Well, this year I found some at Costco that are already assembled and ready for you to decorate!! LOVE THEM!!

It's funny how my children's personalities come out in their gingerbread houses. Lyle is my straight-laced, by the book, follow the rules kind of guy.

Hilary, on the other hand, never found a story or event that her imagination couldn't make more exciting. Then, add Ethan to the mix...

Can't say I ever saw a gingerbread house quite like this one:

It had a fort on the roof that belonged to the cinammon Santas:

The catapult in the front yard also "belonged" to the cinammon Santas. It really works and shots gumdrops:

Then there was an ice fort that "belonged" to the snowmen. They had a machine gun that shot (of course) snowballs:

We also celebrated a small Christmas with Ethan before he went to his parent's house:

Usually when I make something crafty, I'm never happy with the end result. I'm a perfectionist, and the project doesn't turn out like I envisioned in my mind. But...I made Ethan a stocking to fill with lots of little presents, and I LOVED how it turned out. Thank you to my dear Grandma Hencratt for teaching me how to do embroidery and hand sewing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Vacation

I can't believe I am on "Christmas Vacation". I have not had a two-week Christmas Vacation since 1976. I started working right after high school graduation in June of 1977. Even when I went to Shasta College for two years, I would work full-time during Christmas Vacation.

Well, our boss decided to close the office for two weeks this year, so Bob and I are both on vacation. HURRAY!!!! (I will miss the paycheck, but money isn't everything, right?)

This morning, I did two of my favorite things that I rarely get to do:
1. Sleep until I wake up
2. Drink my coffee and read a book in my PJ's.

The thing I won't miss at all -- packing lunches everyday!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Well, my "born too close to Christmas" husband celebrated his birthday this past weekend. He and the kids and Ethan went to see the movie, "Tron", in the afternoon. Then Gramz took us all to Cattlemen's for a delicious steak dinner. After dinner, we played cards, opened presents, and had a delicious pie that Gramz made. (Have I ever mentioned that my Mom is the absolute best pie maker in the world?? Well, she is!! Look at the pictures below.)

On Sunday afternoon, Bob and I, Ethan, and the kids went to see the new Disney movie, "Tangled" in 3D. It was really cute!! It's definitely a "must see"!

(Note: Pie photos courtesy of Lyle Jones Photography)

Friday, December 17, 2010


Let me just say, the Junior Class at Redding Christian High School really know how to put the "FUN" in "fun"draisers!!! This year, they sold Christmas trees to raise money for their senior trip. What a pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) to help out with the fundraiser. These kids work hard, are very responsible, polite and kind to each other and the customers, and go the extra mile every time. It was freezing cold that day, but you didn't hear any complaining! Class of 2012 -- YOU ROCK!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Parties

Last weekend, the high school youth department at Redding Neighborhood Church had a Christmas Fest:

Dinner, Door prizes, and Dancing was the right combination for TONS OF FUN!! He had sooooo much fun! I must say that Lyle must have been one of the most handsome guys there:

And...what do you wear with a semi-formal outfit? CONVERSE TENNIS SHOES, OF COURSE!!! (At least they match the tie!)

On Sunday, Hilary and I went to our Annual Christmas Tea at Miss Denise's house. We look forward to this special time each year. We always have the most yummy goodies to eat and lots of visiting and laughing (those women in the Little family really know how to laugh!)

Here's a picture of me with two of my dearest friends, Donna Nicholas and Faith Nicholas McCarthy. Faith is the one who introduced me to blogging. Let me just say how much I love these two women!!!! Thank you, God, for putting us in the same corner of this big world!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Acceptance Letter?

Yes, another acceptance letter to Humboldt State University. Ethan came over the other day with his newly received acceptance letter!! Congratulations, Ethan!!

Yes, in eight and a half months :0( these two will be headed off:

And, I will miss BOTH of them terribly!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

So many of you have the tradition of going to the mountains to cut your Christmas tree, so you'll probably laugh at our tradition (for 26 years now). We save our aluminum cans and plastic bottles all year long, cash them in, and go buy a Christmas tree at a lot. When the kids were little, we would go to McDonald's afterwards with our leftover money.

What a wonderful day we had on the 5th (I know, I'm behind). Ethan joined us for church, we went out to eat at Lumberjack's (yummy breakfast), and then went to get a Christmas tree. We always go to Simonis' tree lot on Churn Creek. Here's the tree we picked out:

We then spent the afternoon and early evening listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree. Here's the end result:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Concert

The Oak Ridge Boys on currently on their 23rd annual Christmas tour - and they did a show in Redding on Tuesday night. My Mom treated Bob and I and my Aunt Monda to a "night out on the town". AND, BOY DID WE HAVE FUN!!! We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Olive Garden and a fantastic Christmas concert.

The foyer of the Redding Convention Center was decorated soooo beautiful:

The Oak Ridge Boys have aged some, but man can they still sing:

The first 40 minutes, the Oak Ridge Boys sang some of their old and new songs. They entered the stage one at a time (in the dark), singing their new song, "The Boys Are Back". After a 20-minute intermission, they came back on stage and did the Christmas concert. It was so GREAT!! I especially loved how they shared about this being a "Christmas" tour, not a Holiday tour! They went on to share about celebrating Christmas because it is the birth of a baby who went on to become the Savior of the world. What a great testimony they were, showing the world you can mix the fun Christmas songs with the songs about Jesus!

It snowed during some songs:

And Santa even showed up from the North Pole to bring some Christmas cheer to Redding folks:

Thank you, Moma, for a wonderful evening!

Monday, December 6, 2010


The Adopt-A-Family Program
Very generous people at my brother's work
Some great "Black Friday" deals
(at an ungodly hour in the morning)
for the best price
One very nice Christmas
for a single mother and her three children

My brother's work always "adopts" a family each Christmas, and he is in charge of the project. This year, the employees donated $770. My brother comes to Redding the day after Thanksgiving, and I help him with the shopping! Since he doesn't get here until the afternoon, Lyle and I get up VERY early to hit some of the "Black Friday" deals. I consider it a personal challenge to try to get the most for the money the employees have generously given! In addition to all the presents above (which will be wrapped by the people at my brother's work), we got a Safeway and Target gift card!

I thoroughly enjoy helping with this project each year! It is so rewarding and fun to know that someone will have a wonderful Christmas with presents from both their "most needed" list and some from their "most wanted" list!