Winston Churchill

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pics by Winston

We gave Winston a kids camera last Christmas.  It's made by Fisher Price and I've been very impressed with this fun, tough little camera - it really is kid proof!  Winston has had a blast taking pictures and it's been fun to look back through the photos he's taken and see things from his perspective.  The pictures aren't the highest quality, but they're better than I would expect from a child's toy.  There are a few that make me smile and scratch my head - like his picture of our fruit bowl and the picture of his shoes while sitting in his car seat.  He's getting really good at using his camera and it'll be fun to see what he decides to photograph this next year.  Here's a slide show of a few of his photos from 2010. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Yummy Cookie! - Vanilla Wafer Cookies

I usually don't bake treats during the week - I only seem to find time to bake on the weekends.  But when I saw this recipe, I didn't want to wait to try it out and made a quick batch last night.  Boy am I glad I did - Yumm!  They're so simple to make and delicious to boot - definitely worth passing along.  I also liked that the recipe only makes about 2 dozen cookies - I'm sure you could easily double or triple it if you need a big batch.

 Winston told me several times how much he liked them and kept thanking me for making "yummy cookies" for him. I'll be making these again. Hope you enjoy them too!

1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I did use about 1/4 cup more)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets (I flattened them a little). Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown (I baked mine for 14 minutes and they came out crispy on the outside, chewy inside.  Cook longer if you love a crispy cookie). Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Melt My Heart Moment

While I was putting Winston to bed, he spread his arms as far apart as they would go and with a big smile on his face he looked at me and said, "Mommy, I love you this much!" while he stretched and wiggled his fingers out as far as he could.  Then, he threw his arms around me giving me the biggest hug he could.  Awwww!  This little guy sure melts my heart.  I just love him to pieces!  : )

Monday, January 24, 2011

Look Mom, Sharks, Turtles and Jelly Fish!

Last week we took Winston to the aquarium and he LOVED it.  He was fascinated with the sea horses, crabs, jelly fish, manta rays, turtles and piranhas but really couldn't wait to see the sharks and penguins.  He was practically running from tank to tank trying to see everything.  We had so much fun watching him and seeing the magic and  wonder on his sweet little face.    

One thing he loved is they had jelly fish just like the ones in Sponge Bob and a pink star fish that looked a lot like Patrick Star.  He's still talking about that.  : )

I forgot to bring my camera but fortunately Brad's phone has one.  These pics turned out pretty good for being taken with a cell phone camera.  Winston was watching a striped eel in this photo.
Here he is watching the sharks! "Mommy, do they eat people?"
In this one, he's pointing up at the giant sea turtle.  The guide there told us this turtle had bubble butt syndrome - air trapped under his shell making it hard for him to dive.  Of course, Winston thought this was hilarious - "bubble but syndrome, he he he!"
(I think I might have some sort of bubble butt syndrome too.)
Here he is standing next to a life size picture of a full grown emperor penguin.  I had no idea they could grow so big!
We had such a great time together and learned a few things too.  Next time I think we'll sign up to feed the penguins.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset....

As I left work today there was a sunset over the lake with beautiful golden-rose colored clouds.  I couldn't help but pause for a moment and admire the beauty - ahhhh, what a sight! Can't you just feel yourself relax and soak up the warmth and positive energy? That's how it feels to me.  What is it about a beautiful sunrise or sunset that makes it so captivating?  When I'm lucky enough to catch one it feels like my soul is being recharged and I can't help but stop and drink in the beauty. 

To often I'm hurrying from one thing to another and I hate to think about all those wonderful little moments I've missed because I didn't take time for them.  There's a saying I've heard that goes something like this, "Life isn't about reaching your destination, it's about enjoying the journey along the way."  When I see a pretty sunrise/sunset, it's a reminder to me to stop and enjoy the beautiful moments in life as they happen - to soak it all in and enjoy the ride.

Here's a beautiful sunrise over Padre Bay at Lake Powell.  Ahhhh!
And here's a pretty sunset over Bullfrog Bay at Lake Powell.
This is one of my favorite sunrise pictures at Lake Powell from a few years ago - Winston watching the sunrise from our houseboat window. Yes I do love it there!
Isn't it just beautiful?  He was entranced watching the sun come up and just sat there staring out the window for at least 5 minutes while I sat and watched him and the sunrise - a double bonus, enjoying a gorgeous sunrise and time with my little guy.  A wonderful moment I'll never forget.
Remember to enjoy those beautiful little moments that life has to offer - enjoy the ride.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Makin' Cookies! - Sugar Cookies

I had so much fun baking cookies and treats for my family this Christmas.  The frosted sugar cookies went the fastest and Bo was a little disappointed when they were all gone so he asked if maybe I could make some more.  Of course I was happy to oblige him. 

 Isn't this just the cutest idea!  I didn't make em though - I saw these pictures on the and thought this was such a clever idea.  I definitely have to try these.  Here's step by step instructions on how to make them.
For those who want it, here's my recipe for absolutely delicious Sugar Cookies.

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

1 cup butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup Egg Beaters
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream or condensed milk

Directions:  Cream butter until fluffy. Add salt and part of sugar gradually, blending after each addition. Add egg beaters and vanilla; blend well. Add remaining sugar, alternately with milk, until of right consistency to spread, beating after each addition until smooth.   (This makes enough to frost the whole batch of sugar cookies with some left over so feel free to frost the cookies thick if you like.)
Winston is my cookie helper.  He loves cutting the cookies out and is actually really good at it.  He said, "Look mom, these cookies look like Patrick!"  (the starfish from the Sponge Bob cartoons).  He thought it was so cool to be making starfish cookies.  What a great imagination he's got.  He makes cookie making even more fun!  I'm already looking forward to baking Valentine cookies.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Excerpts from Winstons Prayers

I always mean to write down things Winston says that are cute or touching so I won't forget them but don't always take the time to do it.  This past week, Winston has had some very thoughtful prayers - he's growing up way to fast for my liking (but not fast enough for his).  Here are a few excerpts from his prayers:
  • Thank you for my Bros. (he sure loves his big brothers and calls them his bros)
  • Bless me to grow big and strong (he can't wait to grow up)
  • Please bless our family with a new baby (I had to bite my tongue to keep from giggling.  He would love a baby brother or sister - that's just not an option)
  • I miss Jesus, please tell him that I love him (he came up with this all on his own - Awww, so cute!)
  • Bless mommy and daddy not to die and bless me not to die too (don't know where this came from but one day earlier this week he was asking lots of questions about death and heaven.)
At times he's seems so much older than just four years.  He definitely keeps me on my toes.  He's extremely smart and perceptive and I thoroughly enjoy watching him grow and learn.  I do wish sometimes I could slow time down so I can savor each moment before it slides away.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Resolutions

I've heard that the first step in accomplishing a goal is to write it down.  After putting a lot of thought into this, here's what I've come up with for my 2011 Resolutions:

1.  Make a positive impact on someone's life each day.  After a lot of thinking, I realized this is one of the deepest wishes of my heart, to make a difference, to help, to uplift and be a positive influence on those around me.  A simple thing but honestly it's really what I want to do - make my little corner of the world a better place through my actions and my attitude.
2.  Take a cooking class - I love to bake and would love to be able to learn new techniques and improve my skills - besides it sounds like fun.
3.  Learn to better control my reactions and not allow the actions of others to dictate how I react and how I feel.  I've learned over the years (through some not so very pleasant encounters) to try and do this but I still need to work on it.  I'll just take a deep breath and remember that someone's stupidity, inconsiderate behavior, anger and/or frustration doesn't have to become mine - and it won't unless I allow it to.
4.  Be a more patient and considerate driver.  I tend to grit my teath and mentally berate other drivers especially when I'm in a hurry (which is most of the time).  This one ties in well with #3.
5.  Run in a 10K and then a Half Marathon.  I did my first 5K last year and would love to build on that and be able to run for longer distances.  Guess I have a little bit of training ahead of me.  : )
6.  Take time each week to write down the highlights.  I'm not very good at journal writing (I think that's partly why I started blogging) and I don't want to forget about all the wonderful, strange, interesting, crazy things that happen in our family. 

Well that's it for this year.  Wish me luck!

P.S.  If you like the little wooden note book in the picture, you can find it here.  I think it's adorable and a great way to keep a handy little list of all those resolutions.  Good luck with yours!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I wasn't about to let this date go by without a post.  It's kind of a fun date and just think, in November we'll have 11/11/11 and next year we'll have 12/12/12.  Woo hoo!  OK, I know I'm being a dork but I do think it's fun and you gotta take your fun where you find it, right?   :-)

I received this affirmation in my email today and thought it was a great one to pass along.  I think I'll make this one of my goal for 2011 - especially at work!  Don't you just love a good, positive affirmation?

“You can’t always control your circumstances.”
Your life can change at any time, from harmonious to difficult. The reality is that you have no control over circumstances that may turn your life upside down.

But there is something you can control. That something is your reaction to the situation. When you accept this and resist the urge to blame and act as the victim, you regain control.

Be mindful when life gets tough. Never give away what power you do possess, when confronted with a bad situation.

Be calm. Be strong. You can do it!

Today's Affirmation:  I am in control of my reactions.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Song that Speaks to Me

While thinking about what to do for my New Year's resolution, I've been remembering some things I used to do back in the good old jr. high and high school days.  One thing I enjoyed doing was writing down the lyrics to songs that I loved - songs that touched something in me, that I related to and seemed like they were written especially for me.  (Did anyone else ever do this?)  I still have some old notebooks filled with my doodling.   It's been a long time since I've even thought about this (I guess trying to think about what this years resolution will be has brought out a little of my old teenage self). 

There is a song by Josh Gracin called "I Wanna Live."  Whenever I hear this song, I'm reminded of a warm afternoon in late spring several years ago when Brad and I took our boat out on the lake - just the two of us - for a ride.

I was kind of at a crossroads having finally come to terms with the realization that my two boy were almost grown - would be leaving home soon - and not knowing what I wanted to do with the next chapter of my life.  At the time, Zack and Bo were finishing up their junior and sophomore years in high school.  I was feeling sad and a little empty that my role as a mother would soon be coming to an end (I had no idea that our lives would be blessed with Winston and I'd get another chance to be a mommy for this wonderful little boy) and feeling a little anxious and uncertain about what might be in store for Brad and me.

With the wind blowing through my hair and this song playing as we sped across the lake, I couldn't help but relate to the lyrics and think this is what I want - to savor and to fully enjoy the experience that is my life.  To share all my love and be loved in return and to let go of things holding me back.

Following are some of the lyrics to this song:

Sometimes I feel like I need to shake myself, to wake myself:
I feel like I'm just sleep walkin' through my life.
It's like I'm swimmin' in an ocean of emotion,
But still, somehow, slowly goin' numb inside.
I don't like who I'm becomin', I know I've gotta do somethin',
Before my life passes right by.

I want to cry like the rain, cry like the rain,
Shine like the sun on a beautiful mornin'.
Sing to the heavens like a church bell ringin',
Fight with the devil an' go down swingin'.
Fly like a bird, roll like a stone,
Love like I ain't afraid to be alone.
Take everything that this world has to give,
I wanna live.

I guess this song comes to mind now because I'm at a crossroads again.  Zack and Bo are back from their missions but headed off to college.  Soon they'll be establishing lives of their own that don't include me - at least not very much.  I'm so grateful we have Winston - I really wasn't ready for my role as a mother to be over.  One big difference - this time around, I don't feel so anxious and uncertain about what the future holds for me and my family.  In fact, I'm really looking forward to all the possibilities.

On a side note, I'm still trying to figure out what this year's resolution will be....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Just Somethings to Think About....

Picture by my sister Lauri.

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream"  C.S. Lewis

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become." Buddha

‎"People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh, and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life's circumstances to push them down and hold them under..."Charles Swindoll

‎" Life really is beautiful, even with all of its ups and down. No, let me rephrase that, Life really is beautiful because of its ups and downs!!!"  Jessica Simons 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Another New Year

Another year has gone by and here I am again faced with a new year to plan for - resolutions to make and goals to set.  The question is, what do I want to accomplish this year?

I haven't yet had time to find an answer for this question.  I hope to be able to put some thinking time in this weekend towards figuring out what I want to do with this year 2011.  I know I don't want to just make the traditional goals to lose weight; to spend more time with my family; to save more money; to spend more time on myself.

These are all good things and I plan to continue working on each of them but this year I feel a distinct need to dig deeper. I want to find that now secret wish or desire I've buried somewhere down inside me - to address and to finally accomplish this long forgotten something.  I just need some quiet time to contemplate what this is....  That's the big question for me to answer this year - how to rediscover me.

For now, I want to wish my dear family and friends a very 


Good Luck with your own resolutions.  I'd love to hear about them if you'd like to share.  : )