Monday, December 21, 2009

Sexy Steve Meets Joe

Have you met Sexy Steve? Sexy Steve was my cake topper for my birthday back in September. He sits in my house everyday up on the shelf above the fireplace...he is Super Sexy in his Speedo!Well, Joe has now met Sexy Steve!!!

Um, I'm not quite sure why Joe brought Steve down from his perch but it was too good of a photo opp to pass up!

Early Christmas Celebrations

My Mom, her husband Bob, my sister Camille, her husband Joe and my nieces Dajia and Elliana came over on Saturday to celebrate an early Christmas. We had dinner, watched movies and opened presents.

My sweetie Dajia!

Camille, what is that look?

Elliana just waking up from a nap!

Mom, Camille and Me....just missing the middle child Shannon!

Elly is showing us her new tutu skirt that I made her! I have to say I was underwhelmed by the response the girls had towards their new skirts. I suppose all those other presents were more exciting at that moment!

Girls doing a little dance with their Daddy!

Elly is showing Grandma her new present!

Family picture! What a cute looking family!

My baby sister the poser!!! LOL...she is ready when you say SMILE!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Primal Book Review

Primal by Mark Batterson

Be Astonished Again

We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment.

In Primal, Mark Batterson explores the four elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Along the way, he calls you to be a part of God’s reformation, starting in your own life.

As Mark writes, “Is there a place in your past where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke for the things that break the heart of God? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. Maybe it was a mission trip or retreat. Maybe it was a vow you made at an altar. In that moment, God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. You knew you’d never be the same again. My prayer is that this book would take you back to that burning bush—and reignite a primal faith.”

Primal will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God. It will help you become great at the Great Commandment.

Author Bio:

The author of Wild Goose Chase and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. One church with nine services in five locations, NCC is focused on reaching emerging generations and meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the D.C. area. Mark has two Masters degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. He and his wife, Lora, live on Capitol Hill with their three children.

**This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah and no monies were received to do so**

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Date with Dajia

My niece Dajia keeps seeing the commercials for the movie The Princess and the Frog so yesterday I thought I'd surprise her with a little trip to the movies!

Here she is waiting for the movie to start...we got popcorn and M&M's to snack on!

She and I before the movie started!! I love this sweet girl...the theatre allowed the armrests to be raised so we were able to cuddle together during the movie! She is so sweet...she'd lay her head against mine and said "I Love You Auntie"!


I love my niece Elliana but she doesn't always love me! I was trying to get just one good picture of her and I yesterday and this is what I got....

First picture..."I'm not so sure I want you to be holding me Auntie Rachel"

Second picture...not so bad by I look half drugged...let's try again!

Third picture...

It's a keeper!!!!

Fourth picture...I was pushing my luck and thought she'd let me take just one more...but she is now trying to throw herself out of my arms...stinker!

Gingerbread House Competition 2009

Once again, I bring you funky, wacky and entertaining Gingerbread Houses from my College Christmas Party (yes, this has become quite the tradition for our group of zany friends!).

Here's the rules:

1. Must contain gingerbread
2. All items must be edible
3. Can no longer contain savory items such as chili (yes, this was done a few years ago)
4. Can be anything theme or any kind of house, store or structure you choose!This was a Bayou Christmas brought to you by Ty and LiAnne...

They won "Best Non-Traditional Christmas setting/locale"

This lovely farm, complete with candy corn fields, a silo, a tractor and an animal cookie farm was made by Dan D. and Cecelia....

They won "Best use of a landscape theme"

This "Cowboys and Indians" gingerbread theme was made by myself, Christina and Alicia. Notice our Cowboys are hiding behind the tree waiting to see if the Indians were friendly or not. Some others called our creation "Custer's Last Christmas"!

We won "Best Non-Traditional Use of Gingerbread" Meaning we didn't buy a pre-fab house and put it together, but rather made our own gingerbread and formed it into a lovely TeePee.

I also had to eat a bite of the candle and wick that made up our fire so that we would not be disqualified!!

And this lovely snowman factory was made by Clayton and Katie! A few years ago they made Mr. Smileys Reindeer Jerky Factory and this year Mr. Smileys' brother-in-law Mr. Happy was showing off his snowman factory!

This picture above shows how the snowman are gently led, well um, maybe whipped into going inside....And this picture shows that once inside you don't come out the same! In this case the snowmen come out as Freezer Pops (aka...Otter Pops)....

They won "Best re-visit of a gingerbread theme" or something such as that!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Book Trio Review (Christmas)

I received three new books to review from Multnomah, and I love them!!

The first two are these beautifully illustrated and well written children's books. Both are written by Lisa T. Bergen. The first, God Gave us Love, is about a young polar cub going fishing with his Grampa when some otters start causing problems. He asks why they need to love others, even those who cause problems. This is a great book for kids to learn about love for others and the unconditional love Christ has for us!

In the book, God Gave us Christmas, Little Cub is asking questions about who invented Christmas and who is more important: Santa or God. Great book to introduce the meaning of Christmas to young children and to remind us older kids that Christ is the center of our Christmas! Both books would be great presents for any youngster in your family!

Author Bio:

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Love follows in Lisa’s classic tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

The last book I received was, Treasured, by Leigh McLeroy. In Treasured, Leigh McLeroy considers tangible reminders of God’s active presence and guides readers in discovering evidence in their own lives of his attentive love.

The idea for the book came from a cigar box filled with odds and ends of my grandfather’s life that arrived a few months after his death. Sifting through the objects in the box, I experienced him in a fresh new way. This made me wonder what treasures might be tucked away in Scripture that could frame God for me in an equally intimate, tangible way. This process also helped me uncover my own “treasures” of my walk with the Lord: objects that remind me of my history with him and his faithfulness to me,” says McLeroy.

Drawn from the pages of Scripture, the author considers twelve such treasures and personalizes their meaning for readers, such as a green olive branch that offers proof of God’s “new every morning” mercy and a scarlet cord that demonstrates his willingness to adopt “strays” of every sort.

Weaving these treasures together with scenes from her personal history, Leigh McLeroy invites readers to discover God’s heart for them and embrace their unique role in his redemptive story. Treasured offers readers a guided experience of God’s love and character and invites them to consider their own treasures that point to their part in God’s ongoing story.

Author Bio:

Leigh McLeroy is the author of The Beautiful Ache and The Sacred Ordinary. An avid collector and recorder of everyday moments, words, and wonders, Leigh’s keen eye for God’s presence in ordinary life infuses her writing and living with a deep, insistent joy. A frequent conference and event speaker, the author makes her home in Houston, Texas, and posts often on and

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas GIVEAWAY!!!

**We have a WINNER**

Congratulations to commenter #5

who said..."This year our decorations are minimal. I am 8 months pregnant and do not have the energy to put them up or take them down. We have a lovely little tree decorated with ornaments given to me over the years from family through our ornament exchange, our stockings, and my DH decorated the mantel with his favorite nutcrackers. It is simple but I love it!

I would personalize it with our last name :D"

I will email you for your name and info!

I love Christmas and I am assuming most of you out there in bloggerville love Christmas as well! I do have to be honest though...this year I'm not putting out my Christmas decorations.


Don't shoot me yet!

I was gone for a week at Thanksgiving and I am leaving in just over two weeks to spend Christmas and New Years in it seems like a lot of work just to have my stuff out for two weeks! I know, I know...I should do it anyways....I do have a sign out and my new top hat that I bought last month so I do have something out!

Here's the good news for you die hard decorators though...

I was presented with the opportunity from the online company to give one of you lucky readers a fantastic Christmas Decoration!! I was able to peruse their great website (they have just about everything you need for Christmas Decorating) and decided to choose a lovely Welcome Sign for you to hang! This sign can even be personalized if you so choose!! How awesome is that?This is the sign you are eligible to win (and personalize)! This is a $65 gift to you...just for you reading my blog and entering my contest! It probably will not make it to you in time for you to hang it out before Christmas; however, I think you can hang it out until the end of January or so!

Do you like it?

Do you love it?

Do you want to win it?

Here's what you need to do:

1. Leave me a comment about your christmas decorations and how you like to decorate your house. I also would like to know how you would personalize your sign if you were to win! Please play nicely and answer my questions!!!

2. For a second entry: do a blog entry on your blog and leave me a NEW comment that you did it!

3. For a third entry: Follow me...if you already follow me (or decide to follow me) leave another NEW comment telling me you did!

**This contest is only open to those individuals residing in the United States and Canada**

I will leave the contest open for two weeks and use to choose my winner! I will close it on December 16th sometime in the evening and notify the winner by email. I will need you to respond to my winning notification email within two days so I can get your information off to the company before I leave on Christmas Vacation...if you do not respond, I will choose a runner-up winner!

Good Luck to All!


Hallelujah that a tiny baby was born over two thousand years ago so that you and I might have eternal life!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Here are some family snapshots from Thanksgiving! The only person missing seems to be Ernie...I'll have to find some of him!

Rachel, Shannon and Camille

Group shot
Camille and Elliana....hug time!

My favorite way to take pictures....self-portrait style!

Me, Brittany, Maddy and Elly

Me and Brittany! She had the whole week off of school so we got to spend a lot of time together!

Sisters...Maddy and Brittany with little cousin Elly

Almost all the grandkids (Ernie's weren't here this year).

Brandon (the oldest at 19), Brittany (15), Maddy (11), Elliana (on shoulders...15 months), Mason (6) and Dajia (5). Brandon, Britt, Maddy and Mason are brothers/sisters and Dajia and Elly are sisters! I have no contributions to the grandchildren pool (at least not yet!)

Just different facial expressions in this picture...

Maddy's at that awkward stage...too little to hang out with the older kids and too old to play constantly with the little kids! But she sure does love the little kiddos....what a great big sister and cousin she is.

My Little Monkey

We were playing cards late on Thanksgiving and Elly was getting a bit anxious, impatient and frustrated that no one was paying attention to her!!! So I put her on my shoulders for awhile to keep her out of the way...I think she had a little too much fun up there!

Should I be concerned that she was digging through my hair?

Or should I appreciate that she is just a little monkey?

Not only do I look a little drugged in the picture below, but she has red eyes...I wonder what we were smokin'?

Thanksgiving Prep

My sister Camille and I drove over 15 hours last Saturday/Sunday to Shelley, Idaho (right next door to Idaho Falls) to have Thanksgiving with our sister Shannon and her family. Almost everyone participated in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner....

We put my nephew Brandon and his friend Jennifer to work by cleaning the kitchen! Why is cleaning the kitchen the worst job imaginable?

I have no idea what I was doing here! Brittany is in the background and it looks like Ernie's butt is back there too!!


I think he was taking the turkey out for us....lifting the turkey in and out and mashing potatoes was his only job besides eating dinner!
My sister Shannon busy making stuffing.

See that huge belly? That is baby Jocelyn and she was supposed to make her appearance while we were there. But did she listen to all of us? Of course not!!! She is STILL sitting comfortably inside her Momma...silly little girl!
Keeping busy in the kitchen!

Fat Lip!!

Last week my niece Elliana decided to biff it on the floor with a water bottle in her mouth...unfortunately, it gave her a big fat lip!!! This picture doesn't really do it justice...but her whole left side was swollen and fat!

Personally, I just think it made her cuter (and more fun to make fun of!) I know, I know call me bad Auntie!
Elliana....isn't she just a cutie patootie!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christian Vampire Book Review

**Congratulations Holly! You won!!**

I know, I know...the post title sounds a bit oxymoronish! How can you possibly have a book that deals with Vampires within the perspective of Christianity? Even more to think could the author come up with such a viable subject?

How many Twilighters are out there that just absolutely loved the Twilight Series? Hundreds and thousands of people have read the books and seen the movies (Yes, I am well aware of the fact that New Moon came out today!). I for one am not part of that crowd. Don't get me wrong I like the mystery of vampires and such, but it hasn't really interested me that much.

I did receive a new book to read and review called Thirsty by Tracey Bateman and I actually thought it was an excellent book. The book revolves Nina, a recovering alcoholic, who has pretty much destroyed her life, her family and her career. After finishing rehab she moves back to her hometown, taking her daughter along for Spring Break, and has to learn to deal with the past, present and future.

Upon her arrival strange things began to happen and she learns "stories" about local vampires. She scoffs at the stories and doesn't think they are real until it begins to involve her teenage daughter!

I really enjoyed this book, more because it focuses on the redemption and recovery of the main character rather than the vampires. But I find it fascinating how the author can combine a faith in God with the concept of vampires! I would highly recommend this book, especially if you are a Twilight fan...I think you will enjoy!

Along with this book I received a copy of Touched by a Vampire (Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Series) by Beth Felker Jones.


People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?

Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.

Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.

If you would like to own a copy of these books, you are in luck, because I have a copy of each to give away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me if you are a fan of the Twilight series and why you enjoy it. Or if you aren't a fan let me know what you think of all the Twilight hoopla!

I will leave the contest open until November 30th (only because I will be out of town until then!!) and will draw the winner through

**Both books were received free of charge from Multnomah Random House Press as a means to review the books. No money was received to review these books or post the reviews on this blog.**

Friday, November 06, 2009

Book Trio Review

This time around I was given the opportunity to review three books from Multonmah Random House.

The first is Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh. I'm the middle of this book and I am really enjoying it. It is about a small town girl who moved to LA and is called back to her hometown to see to family matters. Along the way she has changed her name in order to not be connected to her hometown family; however, she is learning how important family (and God) really are! On top of it she is falling for the gardener for her Uncle's estate while trying to remain focused on the good and proper man she has picked out for her life!

The only thing that I don't like is that it is written from the main character's perspective so we are going from her thoughts in the first person to dialogue constantly, and I'm just not a big fan of first person writing. Although this isn't as difficult to follow as others I've read.

The second book is What Matters Most (Diary of A Teenage Girl) by Melody Carlson. This book is about 16 year-old Maya who has a lot of decisions on her plate and a lot of "stuff" going on in life...graduate school early? dealing with her ex-boyfriend, the cheerleader that is antagonizing her and the biggest problem? Figuring out what to do when her mother is released from prison and wants Maya to come live with her!

And last, but not least, Limelight by Melody Carlson. Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.

Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

All are great one up and enjoy today!

**Disclaimer: All books were given, free of charge, by Multonmah Random House book company for the express purpose of reviewing the books. I was not compensated in anyway for these reviews.**