Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Five-O #36 {Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate...YUMMY!}

Good Morning, Friends!
And Happy Halloween!
I'm really not much of a Halloween fan
(particularly when the holiday started off the way mine did today...
more on that later...),
but I do think there is fun to be had for the kiddos
and, of course, the young at heart :).

Anyway, I've got some fun (and SCRUMPTIOUS!) stuff to share with you
so come along with me on today's:

Last Friday evening was a night of Halloween Fun
with my College & Career Group.
Pumpkins were carved,
Krispie Kreme donuts were inhaled,
a bonfire was lite,
hotdogs were roasted,
and general fun and fellowship was enjoyed by all!
I had decided to try a new hot chocolate recipe (Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate) for the occasion
and I would say it was a SMASHING SUCCESS! :)

For the recipe, please click here.
This recipe is VERY SWEET!
I'm thinking about exchanging a couple of items
if I ever make it again.

But before all that,
I spent the day at Tanner's Orchard with 21 children...
yeah...I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
School's were out that day for Parent/Teacher Conferences
and we decided that keeping all those kids cooped up 
at the Y all day was just NOT going to happen!
So I along with two other staff members took them to Tanner's.

And just so you know, I don't plan on doing that ever again.
Enough said.

Saturday was kind of a weird day.
I didn't really follow my "usual" Saturday routine
(which, for the record, usually involves me in my pajamas 95% of the day
and not leaving the house if I can help it).
Mom and I got out early and cleaned up the yard.
Now, I know this is common knowledge,
But I DO NOT like having to clean them up.
But I guess we all have to take our medicine...
So to cheer myself up, I took more photos of the Autumns Gloriousness :).

I guess that makes up for the mess :).

Monday I tested out a theory:
would the above mentioned Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate
taste as good reheated?

Let me give that theory a RESOUNDINGLY POSITIVE conclusion:
YES!!!! It's just as amazing warmed up three days later! :)
(Just so you know, my mouth is absolutely watering 
for some at this very moment!)

Tuesday was Nanny Day with G&G (as usual) :).
They always brighten up my week!
Not that my week necessarily needed brightening up...
I was having a great time reading a new book
and, as already mentioned, enjoying the Fall Loveliness! :)

There is beauty to found just about EVERYWHERE you look right now! :)

Thursday, I had my faith in humanity restored.
Now, I'm not going to go into detail,
but concerning a certain situation in my life,
I was starting to despair that nothing was ever going to change.
That I was just going to be stuck with the situation as it was
for the foreseeable future.
But then, I was blessed with a random gift
that completely altered my perspective of the situation.
It was a very nice feeling :).

Oh, and in addition to that
my favorite tree at work seems to be bursting into Autumn Flames
and I got some more pumpkins to decorate with :).

How was your week?
Have you tried any new fall recipes this year?
Care to share?
Are you getting tired of all the fall photos
ALL OVER the internet
(probably 50% of them are mine...)?

I would love to hear your stories!

Thank you for stopping by today!
I hope to see you again soon!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pastor Appreciation FUN! {"The Pastor Song"}

Good Morning, All! I hope this finds you doing well! As I'm sure you are all aware, October is Clergy Appreciation month. Which means it is a BIG Celebration time at my church, the Pentecostals of Peoria. Now, I know how this is going to sound...but I have the greatest Pastoral Staff in the Whole Wide World. And, no, you're not going to change my mind about that...:)

As I have mentioned in previous posts, when there is a celebration of any kind going on at church, I am usually in charge of the children's portion. Our Pastoral Appreciation Service last night was no exception! :) My cousin, Amber, and I were asked to come up with a song for the kids to sing. We looked around and didn't really find what we were looking for. So we decided to write our own...:) and make a slide show to accompany it. I am very proud to present to you: "The Pastor Song".

"The Pastor Song"
Written by:
Steve Kinney, Amber Kinney, and Sarah Dahl

We had SO MUCH FUN writing this song! :) And the kids did a MARVELOUS job performing it last night complete with actions and wearing "cool socks and really sharp ties". (I wish I had a video to share with you! But since I was directing...that would've been hard to accomplish...)

To say that this was the only fun that was had during the Pastoral Appreciation Service at the Pentecostals of Peoria would be VASTLY untrue! When driving onto the church grounds, the Pastoral Team was met by the congregation lining the driveway with cheers, glow-sticks and lit-up cell phones! A hysterical video was shown, person testimonies were given, and SCRUMPTIOUS Pie-Oh-My Buffet was shared by all! :)

How did you celebration Clergy Appreciation Month at your church?
Have you ever been called upon to write a song?
What was that experience like?

I would LOVE to hear your stories!

Thank you so much for visiting today!
I hope you come back really soon!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Five-O #35 {Autumn Glory}

Good Morning, Friends & Family!
I hope this finds you doing well!

I've got lots of Fall Fabulousness to share with you on today's:

Friday, I took a short walk to just enjoy the Autumn Glory.

As you can see, it was a perfectly lovely walk!

Saturday, I was privileged to spend the day with my care group at Rader Farms.
It was chilly, but lots of fun was had by all! :)

Last week, my darling computer, CatchingFire, died on me
and it's costing me $269 out of my own pocket to get it fixed.
Therefore, I'm taking as many side jobs as possible right now!
With that in mind, Monday I put in an extra day of nannying
where I was able to capture this:

Is she darling or what!?!?!?!?

Tuesday was a perfectly lovely autumn day in every sense of the word!

These are the kind of Autumn Days I LIVE for! :)

Thursday, I witnessed this GORGEOUS Pink Sunrise:

Thank You, Jesus, for this gorgeousness! :)

How was your week?
Are you enjoying the lovely fall weather?

I would love to hear your stories!

Thanks so much for visiting today!
I hope to see you back really soon! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: The Fifth Wave {Aliens, anyone?}

Good Morning, Booklovers! I hope this finds you doing well!

As I have mentioned in a previous post, Autumn initiates my busiest time of the year: Christmas planning (both personal and church related), annual fundraiser at work, more people requesting photo shoots (probably with Christmas Cards in mind), etc, etc, etc. BUT I still think it is important to take time to read! And I recently read a book that I ABSOLUTELY MUST tell you about! It's called The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Ever heard of it?

My cousins were the first ones to tell me about it. And frankly, I wasn't interested. Let me say this now: I AM NOT INTO ALIENS AND/OR ZOMBIES! I'm just not. Science fiction has never really been my thing...honestly, I think it's pretty dumb. So when my cuz starts gushing about how this book is all about aliens taking over the earth, I pretty much shut down and decided that my life would be just fine with out this book (if you have already read this book, feel free to gasp in abhorrence at my idiotic statement). But then, this book showed up as a possible Book of the Month for my Book Club. "Okay," I thought to myself. "That means there MUST be something to it!" Unfortunately, The Fifth Wave did NOT end up being the Book of the Month, but I decided to read it anyway.

And, OH MY WORD! I don't how I possibly got along before reading it! Needless to say, I am now the proud owner of my very own copy of this book!

The Fifth Wave opens with Cassie. Cassie is not short for Cassandra, but rather for Cassiopeia. Yeah, the constellation. Cassie is a 16 year old girl who is living in a nightmare. The unthinkable has happened: Real life aliens have invaded Earth. The Others have made the trek to Earth and are taking over the planet. This, however, is not the first intrusion. The Others have been here since 1995. Now, they have gained control of Earth using four horrific and terrifying waves. Cassie has sworn to survive...even though she is facing The Fifth Wave.

"In case you're an alien and you're reading this: BITE ME."

1st Wave: Lights Out. A huge electromagnetic pulse renders Earth completely technologically impaired. No cars, no cellphones, no computers. Oh, and this pulse also took out about half a million people as well.

"Then the door flew open and Mr. Faulks told us to head over to the gym. I thought that was really smart. Get all of us in one place so the aliens didn't have to waste a lot of ammunition."

2nd Wave: An actual wave. From space, the Others have dropped some form of an exceedingly large metal rod into one of Earth's fault lines causing a massive Tsunami that obliterated all coastal cities on all seven continents including large American metropolises such as New York and L.A.

"It's almost dawn. You can feel it coming. The world holds its breath, because there's really no guarantee that the sun will rise. That there was a yesterday doesn't mean there will be a tomorrow."

3rd Wave: The Red Tsunami. Not an actual tsunami like the previous one, rather a bloody plague that killed off 97% of Earth's remaining survivors. Also known as the Fourth Horseman, the Red Tsunami was genetically engineered by the Others (possibly some strange strand of Ebola). It begins as a common cold that the victim simply cannot shake. Then it turns lethal attacking the person's mind until they are overcome with seizures and blood runs from every orifice. For some reason though, the Red Tsunami does not always kill it's victim. Rather it seems to decide to let the person live and regain his/her strength. Cassie speculates that the virus simply did not like the "taste" of the person.

"It's an either/or world now."

4th Wave: Silencer.When the Others came to Earth in 1995, they embedded themselves in the brains of children still held in their mothers' wombs and lay dormant. Now, they are waking up and "silencing" the remaining members of the human race. Cold, trained killers, they are assigned to take out any human they come across giving no mercy. But some to have trouble doing that...

"'I am a shark, Cassie,' he says slowly, drawing the words out, as if he might be speaking to me for the last time. Looking into my eyes with tears in his, as if he's seeing me for the last time. 'A shark who dreamed he was a man.'"

5th Wave: To Give Up or Get Up. This is where it gets creepy (as if it hasn't been creepy enough). Believe it or not, there are still a few people alive on earth. Cassie, for one, her father, her little brother, her life-long crush (though she doesn't know it yet) and many others. The last few human government officials (or are they?) are creating an army to battle the Others and have enlisted all children (this is supposed to be all minors, but Cassie is refused admittance). They are taken on school buses (I will never see school buses the same again) to "a safe place" which turns out to be a military fort. But are the Others being killed really Others?

"How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity."

See what I mean? This isn't your average aliens-taking-over-the-planet novel. This is MUST READ!

Seriously, do yourself a favor...Read it!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Five-O #34 {It's Been a Bit Dreary this Week...}

Good Morning, Dear Ones!
Happy Friday!
I hope this finds you doing well.

I've got some great things to share with you on today's

A few  years ago, we completely renovated the Sanctuary at church.
Obviously, this was not a cheap endeavor
and, therefore, the church had to take out a loan to pay for the expenses.
Every six months or so, my church does a pizza fundraiser
to help with the cost of said loan payments.
Saturday I, along with my cousins, was privileged to help out
by stacking and counting pepperoni and Canadian bacon slices
(and let me just say,
it was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get the Canadian bacon smell off my  hands!
I tried two different brands of dish soap,
hand soap, and lemon juice before bleach FINALLY did the trick!).

I seriously doubt anybody could stack pepperoni faster than us! :P

Sunday was the second Sunday of the month.
Therefore, it was my turn to work in the Toddler Class.
For various reasons, we didn't have many students.
And the ones that were in attendance seemed extra tired.

As you can see, it was a bit subdued...

Monday was Columbus Day.
Therefore, Schools were out and the Y was IN! :)
We ran what we refer to as a School's Out Day
which is basically scheduled like a Summer Camp Day
minus the swimming.
It was a wet, chilly October day that forced us to remain indoors.
But we our best to keep the atmosphere light and bright.
We made paper Christopher Columbus ships,
read aloud from Dicken's A Christmas Carol
(hey, I'm in a Christmassy mood thanks to Church Christmas Program plans...),
watched Shrek, and had LOTS of run-around-in-the-gym time :).

And, yes, my darling Louise did attend the school's out day in that outfit.
I told her she just needed multi-colored hair
and she could've passed for an 80's Rock Star! :)

Tuesday and Wednesday I made sure I took a moment in the midst of my business
to just enjoy God's Glorious Autumn Display.
I know a lot of people complain about too much rain,
but I think the dreary day just highlights the beauty of the autumn :).

Don't you agree?

Thursday, I FINALLY updated my bulletin board at Thomas Jefferson.
Really, I can't believe I have let it go this long
without a fall theme!
Seriously! I MUST be slipping!
Anyway, it's done now and I think it turned out pretty good! :)

What do you think? :)

What kind of weather do you expect in the fall where you live?
Is it dreary like here in Central, IL?
Have you finally gotten all of your Autumn Decor up?

I would love to hear your stories!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!
Please visit again soon!


Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Five-O #33 {This Week Sort of Passed in a Blur...}

Good Morning, Dear Ones!
And Happy Friday!
I hope this finds you doing well!

I don't know about you,
but this week has absolutely FLOWN by for me!
I suppose this has to do with the fact
that I've practically been meeting myself coming and going
the last few days.
Take a seat, take a breath
(or maybe I should...)
and I'll tell you all about my week on this edition of:

Friday, I had the day off work
and spent the day just doing "around the house" things
that I needed to do.
Saturday, I spent the day technologically impaired.
My iPhone LITERALLY took 12 hours to update.
It was pretty frustrating, but at the same time
it was sort of nice to have a technology break.

I ended the day by taking a few moments to
Just Be...

Sunday was a day spent with extended family.
After church, a whole bunch of us went to Red Lobster for dinner.
I haven't been there in a long time.
Everyone enjoyed lots of food, fun, and fellowship! :)

Just one big, FABULOUS Family! :)

Monday I  made my weekly excursion to the Library
(my home away from home). 
Even as busy as I am during this time of year,
I feel that it is important to take time to read.

I'm very excited to dive into these books!
And, yes, I was wearing bright, yellow tights that day...:)

Tuesday, I went to nanny my precious G&G.
You know, they really have become a bright spot in my weeks.
They break up the monotony of my "normal" split shift days.
Not to mention how adorable and fun they are! :)

I mean, look at that!
Could it possibly get any sweeter?
I don't think so! :)

Thursday, I received yet another package from Amazon.
I think I'm a little bit addicted...

Beautiful things come in Amazon packages...:)

How was your week?
Did you get to spend any quality time with your extended family?
Am I the only one addicted to Amazon?

I would love to hear your stories!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!
I hope to see you back again soon!
Have a Great Weekend!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Story of Little Red Riding Hood {The TJ Edition}

Good Day, Friends & Family! I hope this finds you doing well! As I mentioned in a previous post, the last early release day I spent with my TJ kiddos had the theme of the Big Bad Wolf. With this in mind, we watched Hoodwinked (which is a sort of modern re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood) and read several different versions of the classic story. Since that 1/2 day, my little darlings have become a bit obsessed with the story of Little Red Riding Hood. They are CONSTANTLY acting out the story and telling each other, 'MY! What Big Eyes You Have!'. Well, what is a good Y-Achievement Teacher to do? I found a red blanket and a basket (and, of course, whipped out my camera) and let them create their own version of the story! Then, being the pathological picture-taker that I am, I turned their story into a full-blown photo shoot. :) My darling Queen of Hearts (as mentioned in a post from last February) starred as Little Red, two different boys played the Big Bad Wolf, and Lulabelle & Louise were...well, they were two little girls reading books in the forest... :). Just wanted to share our fun with you! ENJOY!

Once upon a time 
there was a little girl who always wore a red hooded cape. 
They called her Little Red Riding Hood.

One day, Little Red's mother told her that her Grandmother was ill
and was in need of some cheering up.
So Little Red packed a basket full of sweets
to tempt her dear Granny's appetite
and set off in the afternoon sunshine.

Now, something you must know about Little Red is this:
she is very friendly.
She loves to sing and smile
and talk to anyone who will listen.

Little Red's mother was well aware of her daughter's friendly nature
and had repeatedly warned her not to talk to strangers.
Particularly strangers that she met in forest.
Little Red was usually very obedient,
but this particular day she was so excited about seeing her grandmother
that she completely forgot about her mother's warning.
So when a large fluffy wolf suddenly appeared in front of her,
Little Red swallowed her surprise and cheerily greeted him,
"Hello, Mr. Wolf."

To be honest, the wolf was a bit taken aback by this.
He was unaccustomed to little girls not being afraid of him.
So instead of returning her greeting,
he simply asked her,
"Where are you going, Little Girl?"
Right about then, Little Red remembered her mother's warning.
She gasped and sidestepped the wolf,
hurrying on her way to Granny's.

Again, the wolf was again confused by Little Red's actions.
He was also very hungry
and he had noticed a very pleasant aroma 
drifting up from her small basket.
He decided to follow to her.
Perhaps he would have an opportunity 
to steal that basket away from her.
Meanwhile, Little Red was bit angry with herself for disobeying her mother.
She made up her mind that she would not speak 
to anyone else that she met in the woods.
So when she came upon two little girls near her own age
sitting on a bench reading,
she did not stop or even look in their direction.
If she had, she may have noticed
that story they were reading, was her own.

Just as Little Red was passing the little girls,
she heard the snap of a twig behind her.
She turned and, once again, came face to face with the wolf.

The wolf, surprised at her sudden movements,
reacted in a very wolfish way:
he growled at her.
This startled Little Red even more
and she let out a frightened gasp.

The wolf recovered himself and said,
"Who are you? And what have you got in that basket?
It smells awfully good!"
Little Red distinctly remembered her mother's warning
not to talk to strangers,
but at the same time it seemed rude not to answer the wolf's question.
So she said,
"I'm Little Red Riding Hood. 
And I'm taking sweets to my Granny.
She is sick and I want to cheer her up."
"Well, isn't that nice of you?" said the wolf very sweetly.
"But I could use a bit of cheering up myself.
Do you think I could have one of those sweets?"
"NO!" Little Red proclaimed.
"They are for Granny!"
The wolf then gave up any pretense of politeness
and once again growled at Little Red.
He said, "If you won't give me one,
I will just have to take them all from you!"
Upon hearing his words,
Little Red turned and began running with all her might.
The wolf followed huffing and puffing behind her.

Then, suddenly, Little Red remembered something else her mother had told her,
"When someone bullies you, stand up to them!"
"Hmmm," Little Red thought,
"I wonder what would happen if I growled right back
at this big bad wolf?"
She stopped short and turned on her heel.
"Go away you big bad wolf!
Leave me alone!"
The wolf was so surprised he let out a yelp
and quickly turned and ran back the way he had come.

But Little Red wasn't done.
She followed him, shouting, 
"It isn't nice to try to steal someone's sweets!
Especially a sick someone's sweets!"

The big bad wolf ran faster.
"This little girl is nuts!"
he thought to himself.
Little Red followed him for a few more steps 
then stopped to catch her breath.

"Hrrmph! That crazy wolf!" Little Red said to herself.
"He better not come after me again.
Next time I'll do more than yell at him!"
Then she turned and continued her trip to Granny's.
Granny was, of course, delighted to see Little Red
and receive the yummy sweets that she had brought with her.
She told Little Red that her visit was just the medicine 
she needed to make her well.
And the two lived happily ever after.

"But what about the Big Bad Wolf" you may wonder.
"What happened to him?"
Well after being yelled at by Little Red,
the Big Bad Wolf wondered if he had lost his meanness and scariness.
After all, Little Red had only seemed a bit startled by him
and then was brave enough to completely run him off.
This was a blow to the Big Bad Wolf's pride.
He sat pondering the situation for a while
then remembered the two little girls
sitting reading in the forest.
"Hmm," he thought to himself.
"I wonder if I could scare them..."
He decided to try, just to see if he still possessed the scariness.

He made his way back into the woods
and soon found the girls.
They had left their bench and were now sitting under a tree reading.

Carefully and quietly he sneaked up on them
and sit down directly behind them.

The two booklovers where so absorbed in their book
that they didn't even notice him until he gave a low growl.

 The two little girls screamed and jumped to their feet
and quickly ran away.

"Hmm..." the Big Bad Wolf thought happily to himself.
"That Little Red Riding Hood must've been a fluke.
I've still got it!"
And he went off thinking,
"Hmm...some bacon sounds really good right about now..."

But that's a story for another time...

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed our version of Little Red Riding Hood. Please visit again soon!