Dec 31, 2010

Welcome, 2011!

Happy New Year everyone!

This year, like last year, we counted down until exactly 12am, and this is what happened:

Luke: Was playing Auld Lang Syne on my bass plugged into an amp.

Jacob Was honking the air horn on our Land Cruiser, and blowing on his giant sea shell (He does that last one every year, haha).

Dad:  Was standing on our picnic table playing his trumpet. 

I:  Was screaming, yelling and "woohoo!!"-ing at the top of my lungs, and doubling over with laughter at the boys.  This last one happens ever year, too.

Mom:  Was standing on our porch wearing shooting ear muffs.  

Every year some of the young people in our neighborhood go up on the big hill by our house, light a bonfire, and make a huge ruckus.  They absolutely love it when we go out and make our ruckus, too.  We all share a New Year's yelling at each other bond.

After we did all the honking the horns, bass playing, and yelling, we sang the National Anthem.  I'm pretty sure it was the loudest it's ever been wailed sung in the history of America.  

To wrap it all up, we stood outside Dad and Mom's door, and serenaded them with "Auld Lang Syne".  It's a new tradition we made up last year.  


We opened the presents we got for each other on Christmas Eve.  I made hot chocolate.  We skyped with Julia and Lee, and took turns opening our presents.  It was really fun to open them "together".  
- Luke made Dad a tool pouch.
- Dad made Mom a beautiful wooden spoon and spatula.
- Mom made Luke a computer case.
- Jake gave me a wonderful beeswax candle called "Queen of the Night", and it smells so, so good.
- I made Jake a book.  It was called...."The Adventures of Jacob".  I can't post any pictures because I don't think he would be pleased with me putting it online for you all to see, because let's just say that the illustrations are a bit - dramatized.  Heh heh!

Christmas morning, the Samfords came over for breakfast, then we had stockings and presents for the kids.  They were so precious opening them all up, and getting so excited.  

Aubrie loved her jumper and bracelet, Ayden's favorite was the little toy truck, and Ryan's favorites were definitely the crackers and candy.  He would go around the room, wanting each person to open up another candy for him!  I have some pictures that I can hopefully put up a little later.

Hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday!

Dec 23, 2010

Tis the season to be jolly

Hello friends!  

Happy day before Christmas Eve!

We've been getting ready for our little Christmas here.  We drew names, and are making presents for each other.  I got Jacob.  Why in the world is it so hard to think of something to make for that guy?  It's not like he's hard to please!  I think I was just having a mental block {that lasted a few weeks, aka - from the time I drew his name until my gift was finished}.  I can't tell you what it is yet, though!

I thought about tying little antlers onto Panya's head like the Grinch did:

But had to settle for a bow instead

 If I keep this up, I'm going to have to rename my site, "Life with Panya"...


Dec 18, 2010


Just thought I'd share this little comic with you all!

(Just a little disclaimer that not every single one of these comics are the best, I just came across this particular one)

Dec 17, 2010

An update...and the Christmas spirit

It's been quite a while since I posted last, but I was waiting until I had some more news to share before I actually did one. 

Most of you already know that our family will be moving to southern Tanzania to finish out our five year commitment.  There's been a lot of work done up here in the North, but there's been hardly any done down South.  We're really hoping to be able to encourage and share the Gospel with the people in Iringa.

Dad, Mom, Mr. Carey, and Mwakalonge (a graduate from the school who will be working with us) got back this morning after being in Iringa for nine days.  It took longer than initially thought, but they were able to find a house for us!  The houses are simple, but nice, and perfectly suitable for what we need.  We're hoping to go down on January 3rd.  Hopefully, some pictures will come soon! :)

I can't believe that it's almost Christmas!  I need to get back to playing Christmas helps me get in the Christmas spirit.  And I need to get back to making Christmasy foods (without charring the end of my finger like I did when I made almond roca...).  It helps the Christmas spirit.  Unfortunately, Christmasy foods also helps you get the Christmas waistline.  Just joking, I don't really gain weight during the holidays.  I just wanted to say "Chrismas" a few more times.

What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?

Dec 1, 2010

Happy December!

Hello friends!  A post is long overdue, but I haven't had too much to blog about lately.  

I love the holidays.  You get to decorate the house with little christmas trees, and twinkly lights, and make yummy spice foods that make the house smell like a bakery in the North Pole.  Plus it's the only time of year that I can play and hum christmas music without someone asking me why!

It's a bit hard to feel like doing anything when every holiday feels like the 4th of July, but we manage! :)  It's especially the best at night, when it's dark and chilly {And you don't sweat if you drink a mug of hot chocolate!}.

Happy December first, everyone!

 Make sure to be checking out Cookie Monster for some holiday recipes

Nov 22, 2010

Sewing projects

I've been meaning to do this post for a little while now, but it seems I never got around to it.  I mean, I had to take the pictures and all...

This is the apron I made.  Come to think of it, I never really wear aprons...I have no idea why though, because they're cute, and they do help keep flour off you.

Originally, it wasn't supposed to have this bow in the front, but it's too big unless I double up the ties and knot it in front.

I was hard pressed to find any material for these that wasn't granny material.  Believe me, most of the material we have was donated.  *whispers* - What people donate was usually given away for a reason.

This is the camera strap I made for Julia.  I think these straps are so pretty!
 One of the best things about them is that you can sew them up in an hour or two - maybe less!


Make sure you all go over and check out Cookie Monster!

Nov 19, 2010

Drip, drip...

This is what the side of our yard looked like after some of the heavy rain we've had...

 Am I in Venice?  No?  Oh.  
Well, can I please borrow a gondola?

Another post coming soon!

Nov 13, 2010

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday, Luke!

 Yes, today is Luke's birthday!  We kicked off the festivities with singing happy birthday.  Then we proceeded to sing happy birthday... Followed, of course, by singing happy birthday.  We're going to make some homemade coconut-pineapple ice cream to go with brownies!

Panya is learning really fast to obey her commands.  She already knows: Sit, stay, lay, up (on her hind legs), give (release an object she has in her mouth), and how to play fetch.  :)  What a good doggie!

Yesterday I actually did almost everything that was on my to do list!  I usually don't end up getting everything I write down done.  I was actually going to do a longer post (complete with pictures) yesterday, but got too busy.  My daily list usually looks something like this:

| Bible study
| Clean the house         
| Straighten room
| Make supper
| Laundry
| Exercise

It's usually longer than that, but these are the ones that are pretty much always on there.  Speaking of which...I better go and get some more stuff done! 

Hope you all have a great weekend!  

Nov 8, 2010

Game night

When we were little, we had a tradition at our house of Friday nights being a game night.  We'd make popcorn or some such, and play a board\card game together.  Over the years, this tradition has fell by the wayside somewhat.   

We're bringin' it back

Game night before last we decided to play dominoes (and why no, I didn't just type in "dominose" at first!).  I don't think us kids have ever played dominoes in our lives.  In fact, I don't think the domino box has even been touched since it fell off the shelf and onto Julia's head when she was a small child {it really happened}.  But we played it!  Mainly by us kids sticking random tiles onto the end of the train until we figured out that it was supposed to match the tile it was connecting to.  What?  The rules weren't explained beforehand!

Some members of the family think of game night as a fun way to bond while playing a game that you don't know the rules to and having to consult the instructions paper every two minutes, others think of it as a great excuse to spend the whole evening snacking, and some look at it as a combination of the two.  

The boys: "Hey Linz, are you going to make hot chocolate?"
Me: *Noncommittal grunt*
Boys: "What's the use of playing a game if we don't get some hot chocolate out of it? *snick snick snick*"
Me: "Okay!! I'll make some!"
Mom: "Wee'rrree staaaartiiing!"

We settle down around the table with our hot chocolate mugs and try to figure out how in the world you play this game.

Dad: "I know how to play this, we used to play this at Grandma Langston's all the time"
Me: "I don't know...isn't that sort of a big pile of dominoes....?"
Mom: "They have to all be used up by the end of the game!"
Me: *Falls onto the floor*
Boys: *slurp slurp*
Luke: "Whew! That hot chocolate sure makes you warm.  I just got a hot-chocolate flash."
Me&Mom: *laughs until our sides ache*..."Hot-chocolate flash!...Ow, oh, my stomach!"

{Please note that these are actual events and quotes. Thank you}

Jake: *wearing the domino box on his head like a hat* "Do you think wearing this box on my head shows a lack of maturity on my part?"
Dad: "AAHAHAhaha, I don't think so!!!"  

What kills me is how funny the boys are.  Have you ever laughed so long that you're truly concerned that you might die from a lack of oxygen?  I have.  It wasn't pleasant.  The worst thing was that I couldn't even talk to tell someone to help me, or call an ambulance.  Mom and I often just sit back and laugh at the banter that goes on between them.  What can ya do?

Hooray for game night!

Nov 2, 2010


Ok, ok, so I realize that I sound like a new grandma asking everyone if they want to see the newest grandbaby pictures, but I thought I'd just do a post completely dedicated to Panya pictures and be done with it!  (She's just so cute)

 I'm a sucker for whiskers and doggie mustaches. 

This picture makes me want to swoop down and take her in my arms!  Wait, every picture makes me want to do that...


This is quite possibly my favorite.  Hi little girl!

Thanks for bearing with me while I ooh and ahh over my little, and thanks to Dad for taking these pictures!

Oct 27, 2010

Don't look at me like that!

Look at that face!  {And this is nothing compared to when she wrinkles her forehead and looks all worried.} I can't resist it!

Now that I have that off my chest...

Dad and Jacob left for Nairobi at about 3am this morning,  so Jake can get some dental work done.  Hopefully they'll be back either tonight or tomorrow morning.

I'd like to thank Mum for sharing the link for my last post on facebook!  Since you all enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd give you a couple more quotes from when we did pilates next.
TV: "Make sure you engage your abdominals for this segment..."
Us: "This sure is a good neck exercise!"
TV: "...Now, rest with your head face-down on the mat..."
Me: "*bonk* I can't - that squishes my nose!"

I feel like I should inform you that we do spend some time working out when we work out.  

I need to come up with a halloween costume.  We're having the Gees over for a party, and everyone has to dress up!  Bwahaha, we'll see what everyone comes up with. 

Don't forget to go check out Cookie Monster for some new recipes!

Oct 23, 2010

Hi triceps, long time no see

Furlough was not kind to my muscles.  Not kind at all.  So a few days ago I said, "Mom, let's do pilates!".  It was going to be easy- like before, right?  We got the mats out, and ready-set-go!  It burned.  Apparently, after a couple months of almost no real physical activity, you lose some muscle.  *Arrrgh, my triceps!

As I'm in a heap on my mat, I contemplate my situation.  Surely someone will walk by and help me up sooner or later.  That, or I'll just lay here on my mat collecting dust until I'm no more.  Feebly, I call for help.  "Help.Whew, that was exhausting.  "Heeeeeelp!

With my arms feeling like jelly, and not even being able to lift my arm up to reach my water bottle, I make the comment, "Well, this makes me appreciate the shape we were in last time we did this!"

To top it all off, a savage beast takes advantage of my helpless state, and attacks my stomach.  

Me: "Panya, bleh, get offa me! *Tries to ward off her attack with a useless arm*
Panya: "Raaaawr!"
Me: "Heeelp, I'm being attacked!...Giant pink tongue, aaargh! Fiend!  Flea-bitten mongrel!  Back, back I say!"

How I survived is anybody's guess.  As well as I how I got up.  

The next day I think, "Hmm, that wasn't so bad, let's do it again!

(This account has been dramatized for blogging purposes.)

Oct 19, 2010

Hello fall!

It's not exactly autumn where I am, but it is where most of you reading this are, so that being said, I decided it was time to change the look of my blog for fall!

It was a beautiful day here today.  The sun was shining, I got alot done, Panya was running around in the yard, and I sewed one of these.  It turned out super cute!  I'll have to take a picture and post it.  

Panya is settling in wonderfully!  We finally let her be down together with the other dogs yesterday.  Axe, the female, had no problem at all - just wagged her tail, but wasn't that interested.  Don, the male, didn't exactly have a problem either...but let's just say he's smitten.  Don, honey, I don't think it's going to work out between you.  Over and out.  We need to take Panya to the vet this week to get her booster shots.  We don't want any little beasties anywhere!


Happy Tuesday!

Oct 16, 2010

Home again

A "we made it back safely" post is long overdue, but here it is.  *ahem*

Here we are in TZ again, safe and sound!  We've been getting back to normal, starting with cleaning the house up and getting everything back in order.  

I got my puppy.  Her name is Panya, and she's the cutest little thing!  She's almost exactly four months old.  I don't have any good pictures of her at the moment, but hopefully I will soon!

Hope y'all have had a wonderful week! 

Oct 5, 2010

Goodbye, America

How strange that we're flying back to Africa tomorrow morning!  This has been a great furlough with lots of things that've happened.  Julia got married, we went to Polishing the Pulpit, visited lots of friends, and went to Roundhouse!  Roundhouse is definitely always the highlight of any visit.  It gives a tiny, little taste of what Heaven must be like one day.  

I don't have too much to say, just please pray that we have a safe journey!


Sep 22, 2010

Here we are, back in Knoxville; right now we're staying with the Apples.  They're so kind and generous to us!

Pretty much at this point, we're just waiting until Roundhouse is over, then we'll head back home.  Last week we got in things like dentist appointments.  It turns out that we even have great hygiene.  *ding!*  Mr. Dentist, yes, I have been flossing...I don't want to have my teeth rotted out by the time I'm 45.  

Before I close out this little blurb, I just want to say one word: Vanilla Cupcake.

 Yes, please!

These are $4 at Walmart and smell really good.  I mean reeaally good!

These are exactly what I smell like after I use the lotion or body spray.
I love smelly-good things!


Sep 15, 2010

Lonesome Pine, I hear ya calling

We were able to go to a bluegrass festival on the September 2nd, and it was so much fun!  We got to see Donna Hughes, Blue Highway, the Josh Williams Band, and (drum roll, please!) the Tony Rice Unit.  If you haven't heard Tony Rice, look him up on Youtube or some such.  My favorite thing of his is Shenandoah.

The great thing about Bluegrass is that the bands usually sound their best when they're performing live.  You can't say that about really any other genre.  

We got there early in the afternoon in time to hear Donna Hughes, and after that we listened to Josh Williams for an hour, then Blue Highway.  Blue Highway's banjo picker smiled at me about 5 times.  Through the sea of the wild, screaming fans!  Ok, so that's not true.  Out of the handful of people that were scattered here and there at that time, he happened to look our way and smile.  I won't even mention when their bass player grinned at me, either.
    Anyway, we went back to the van and had a bite to eat (mine consisted mainly of peanut butter), then looked around at the vendors until it was time for Tony Rice to have a signing session of his biography.  The boys went to look at knives, and I went to look at purses and bags.  {Who would've guessed that?}  I got a really cute purse - the perfect size that doesn't look huge, but is bottomless, sort of like the Mary Poppins bag!  It's a good thing I'd already decided to buy it anyway, because the lady started telling me what a pretty bag it was, and how great it would look on my arm.  *snort* Sorry, but that's not the way to make me buy something.  Way to be sly...

We headed to the place where Tony Rice would be doing the book signing, and waited.  Dad and the boys got in line (they were third), and Mom and I sat on a bench right outside the open window.  After a while of waiting, and people passing by and saying over and over to each other "Is he here yet?", a big blue truck pulled up.  A guy who was talking away on his cell phone suddenly said, "He's here!" and snapped it shut.
    Meanwhile, my head was whipping around in every direction just in case he came from a side I wasn't expecting.  Then...I saw him.  {And his wife that looked like Cruela DeVill} I heard the gravely voice, and he started slowly walking towards us.  He walked so close in front of me, I could've squeaked out a toe and tripped him.  Then he looked right at me (grinning like an idiot, no doubt), and his mustache twitched.  I was starstruck.  He kept walking, and I saw his nasty little ponytail that looked like it got caught in the garbage disposal, and then it lessened just a bit.  He went inside and sat at a little table, and started signing books.  When it was Luke's turn, he handed Tony his guitar and asked if he would mind signing it.  I hear from a very reliable source that Tony rasped "myeah, if you want me to deface it".  Luke was starstruck too.  
    After the guitar and book were signed, we went back to the car so Luke could put it away.  We all oohed and aahed at it for a while, then headed back to our seats and listened to more Blue Highway, Josh Williams, and Donna Hughes.

It was 10pm when it was finally time for the Tony Rice Unit.  It was amazing!  They didn't play that many songs, but the songs they did play were long.  For example, they did Nine Pound Hammer, and the instrumental break was so long that when they finally wrapped it up with the last verse, people had pretty much forgot that was the song they were doing.  

We finally got back to the hotel after 12, and all had to look at the signature on the guitar for a while before we could go to bed. :)

Jake and Luke having fun listening

Tony Rice
"*stutter stutter* Would you mind signing my guitar?"

Blue Highway

Josh Williams Band

The Tony Rice Unit!

Aug 25, 2010

Goodbye, California

This last month we've been in California spending time with family.  It's been really fun, and great to visit with everyone!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the Jackson {my mum's side} clan, but I did get some pictures of when we spent time with the Jensen side of the family.

 8 of the 12 cousins!
(Back row, from left to right: Jacob, Luke, Andy, Marcus
Front row, left to right: Amy, me, Emily, Laura) 

One day, we decided to drive up to Yosemite National Park since it was only about two hours away.  It was so beautiful!  I was so glad we could spend time together looking at God's creation.  (Minus the time we spent riding the stinky shuttle with the grumpy driver lady honking the whole time and complaining about traffic having to stop for pedestrians crossing the road...and making terrifying sounds over the mic to stop a baby from crying. But that's another story...)

Everything was massive! 

It was a good day. :)

Right now, we're on our way to Tennessee to go to Polishing the Pulpit.  I'm really excited about going, I've heard alot of good things about it!


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