Monday, December 24, 2007

Critical Cookies

Finish this sentence:

"It just wouldn't be Christmas without..."

Kurt: Peanut Butter Blossoms with Hershey Kisses!
Jen: Christmas Holly Cookies!

What is YOUR favorite cookie, that you just couldn't live without at Christmas time?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Our Home for the Holidays

I have been meaning to take photos of the house this year. I will try to get a daytime photo tomorrow. Next year we are doing LIGHTS to outline the house (I say We meaning *Kurt*)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Kitchen Remodel Stage 2 complete


I started this project way back in August and now the worst part of my kitchen makeover is complete. Tonight, at 11:14, I completed stage 2 of the kitchen remodeling project.

Phase 1: New overhead lights and under-the-cabinet lights. CHECK!

Phase 2: Refacing the kitchen cabinets. CHECK!
My old, dingy, yellowish wood color cabinets are completely redone with hardware!

Here is a photo of the old cabinets...

Here is how they look now (night photo... I need to take one in the morning)

Phase 3:

Crown molding on the top of the cabinets and 1/2 inch round along the walls.

Phase 4:
New paint on walls

Phase 5:
New tile backsplash

Phase 6:

Phase 7:
ALL new Stainless Steel appliances (coming in the year 2020) :)

Nothing captures the spirit of Christmas like...

an enormous 20,000 watt Monster Truck!

Yeah, Kurt and I struggle with being caught up in the commercial aspect of Christmas. We constantly have to refocus, read our bibles, focus on the Nativity and Jesus related stories for the kids to keep ourselves in check.

We live in a society where on the Saturday before Christmas you can find yourself getting into a line of cars at 8:14 pm and inching your way to the start of a holiday light display, whereupon you get angry with about 20 people along the way for cutting into said line. You watch as one lane becomes 2, then merges back into 1, then becomes 2 again, then merges back into one, all the while everyone wanting to get at least one car length further up in the line during all this merging.

At 9:14, you look down at the clock and realize you are passing the cop that said it would only be 20 minutes to reach this point. Uh-huh. His 20 minutes is your hour, but who was watching the clock, really. I mean, what would be the reason for watching the clock? Maybe because it was already past bedtime when you got IN the line, and you had 2 kids in the back seat gung-ho for some lights?

After you wait for the cars of people who ordered water for 2 bucks, or maybe they got hot chocolate for 4. Or maybe (and I am serious here) a candy cane for 2. Whatever they ordered, you need to wait for them to get it.

Then, there you are... at the START of the display. You are handed a cd to listen to that *goes* with the lights -- commercials and all-- and you proceed to the entrance, when what do your wondering eyes shall appear, but RAIN. Yep. Rain.


Okay... cynicism aside... the sheer joy of watching the kids faces as we told them they can get out of their carseats made it all worth it. They LOVED the lights. We drove right along the boardwalk at the beach.

Sure, it was completely cheesy and commercialized (they did have a lit nativity, which cracked me up. Nothing like Jesus glowing on the beach!) but it really was a joy... even if we had waited about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive for about 20 minutes through the lights. I don't even know if they kids even saw the whole display. They were too busy just being out of their carseats.

Maybe next year, we can save the 3.5 hours, the $10.00 (oh, did I mention that part?) and just let the kids out of their carseats and drive around the cul-de-sac. I think we will get the same reaction.

Friday, December 21, 2007

You wanna know annoying?

This is driving me crazy.

Fruit flies...

with NO FRUIT in the house.


Any advice? Where are these things coming from!?

A Shirt for Seth

So, I am getting really excited. Not only do I have Christmas to look forward to, but 10 days after that is Seth's birthday!

He LOVES Blues Clues, so I made him a shirt today for him to wear at his party...

This is the host of Blues Clues, Joe. His shirt color changes, Blue, Red, Yellow, Orange, Purple.

This is what I made for Seth.

Tell me he isn't gonna look CUTE!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Profound Thought

Brody asked me today if Jesus is ticklish.


I imagine he probably is.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mary Candle

Brody has a girlfriend. Her name is Mary Candle (actually, Mary Kendall). Brody talks about her quite a bit and when he went to have his picture taken with her today, she kissed him on the cheek. I caught the tail end of the kiss with my camera.

It truly is cute to see him start to notice the difference with boys and girls. Today in the car, he was talking about what girls like, and he has realized that when you try to make your girlfriend laugh, funny faces don't cut it, but if you give her a necklace you made, that makes her happy. I told him to learn that lesson early on. :)

Too cute.

And here they are with their teacher, Ms. Sally.

Our Akers Angel

Brody sang in his Christmas program at his preschool today. SO CUTE. We could hear him singing above all the other kids voices (really. no kidding) and he was actually a real angel, staying in his place and doing all the songs with moves! :) Maybe when he is a famous tenor one day, I can get big bucks for these videos!

Away In a Manger

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Go (In-state tuition!) Dukes!

Susan bought these shirts for the boys when they visited Harrisonburg earlier this year. Kurt and I plan to go next year for his TEN YEAR anniversary. It freaks me out that I have been out for 13 years. Sheesh. We are so old. Pretty soon, Brody and Seth will actually be wearing their school shirts, whatever they may be!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Okay, so you are going to think I am whacked... but I had a meal the other day that was SO good, that I vowed to put it on my blog. Seriously.

Kurt and I were right outside of Charlottesville and went to lunch at a new Brewery/restaurant called Blue Mountain Brewery.

I ordered something that I normally would never order, but it had been recommended to us, so I went for it.

I ordered the Roasted Vegetable Pizza. It was the best pizza I have ever had. EVER. I don't even know if you can call it pizza, although technically it is. It was pesto and olive oil on a very thin toasted crust with marinated veggies and goat cheese.

I told Kurt that whenever we are passing through Charlottesville, we have GOT to stop there to eat! He ended up eating some of his meal and then eating mine too, we both loved it so much...

So, for all my friends out there looking for a good vegetarian meal near Charlottesville (one specific friend comes to mind!)... go to Blue Mountain Brewery and get the veggie pizza.

I mean, c'mon, how many meals have you had that you loved so much that you took a photo of it and put it on your blog?!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Visit to Bethlehem

No, we didn't take a quick jaunt over to the middle east this past weekend, but we got as close as we may get for quite a while, until we actually do go visit the Holy Land someday.

While we were driving to our B&B for our anniversary celebration, we saw this huge light in the sky. As we got closer and closer to our own destination, we realized we were really close to the origin of that light, so we *followed the star*.

The star was coming from a *tiny* little church in Afton, Virginia, Hebron Baptist. Behind the church, and I kid you not, was an INCREDIBLE display. The entire town of Bethlehem was set up in a huge field behind their church. And, I dont mean little shacks made of leftover wood, this place was incredible. I don't even think I can describe it.

We happened to arrive just as the angels were singing and proclaiming to the shepherds in the field (many shepherds, and many real sheep) that Jesus was born in the stable. We followed the drama throughout Bethlehem, past all of the town artisans and homes, and people in the streets (including kids running around, soldiers and beggars, one who even asked Kurt for some food) until we found ourselves at the stable... with real ENORMOUS camels, and donkeys, and mules, and goats, and sheep.

We enjoyed looking around and speaking to the 1st century inhabitants, all of whom stayed in character and were very knowledgeable about their trade. We learned how papyrus paper was made, and even got to hold some. They had a restaurant and you could sample food from the 1st century (at least what they would have cooked, not ACTUAL 1st century food!)

When the soldier declared loudly that the streets of Bethlehem were closed, we signed the census on the way out and left a small donation.

This church puts on this drama every 45 minutes of every evening of the last 10 days before Christmas, every year.

We were so impressed with the level of detail and quality of the place. We plan on taking the kids back next year so they can get an understanding of what Bethlehem may have been like when Jesus was born.

Here is their website. I borrowed the photos from their website to include in my blog. Truly, it was an incredible production!

Bethlehem Village

An evening away

Kurt is such a sweetheart. For our 8th wedding anniversary (13 years together!), he took me to our favorite B&B in the mountains, the Oakmoor Country Inn. We had a wonderful evening in our log cabin retreat just outside Charlottesville, then spent Saturday driving around touring wineries. This seems to have become a tradition with us, as we enjoyed the same experience last year. We visited a couple new vineyards this year, but our favorite is still, by far, Cardinal Point. Their wines are all incredible.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Said the blog author to her friends and fam....

... do you see what I see?

What do you think? Let me give you a little history...

Yippppeeee. We spent quite a bit of time on Wednesday baking and decorating our Christmas cut-out cookies. We had a really good time, with holiday songs playing and the kids making a huge mess.

Well, I came down the next morning and noticed something terribly wrong with our cookies. I am not quite sure what it could be, but the evidence seems to indicate that *something* or *someone* has taken bites out of a few of our cookies.


Kurt and I think it is probably someone (perhaps a small child)who hasn't quite figured out how to cover his tracks yet, and most likely, the one that wasn't in bed early that night.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


So, this past Friday was awesome. Kurt arranged a date night for us, and by date night, I mean a REAL date.

I dropped the kids off at my parents house and then went home to get dressed. I was supposed to get really dressed up.

Kurt stopped at my parents house after work, got dressed in a brand new suit and put on his new cologne (all surprises for me!) then he stopped and picked up a rose from the florist on the way home.

He was very prompt and PICKED ME UP AT THE DOOR to take me on a date. I can't remember the last time that happened. Probably high school, and even then, I was older than my boyfriend, who couldn't drive. I usually picked him up for dates! I guess prom was the last time I was picked up at my house for a date. :)

Anywho, my neighbor came over to snap a photo of us (thanks again, Rachel) before Kurt surprised me by taking me to my favorite restaurant and then to the ballet to see The Nutcracker. It was so awesome to get dressed up and go out on the town.

I have the BEST husband anyone could ask for.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Very important question...

In my quest to de-clutter my life, it is this kind of thing that drives me crazy. Please leave me a comment to let me know what your solution to my dilemma is...

What do you do with all the tiny zip-lock bags that come with new shirts that have the extra buttons/beads/thread?

Sure, it sounds insignificant, but these are the kinds of things that add up in my home and all of a sudden, I am drowning in tiny button filled zip lock bags!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hodgepodge of Stuff!

I know, I know. I get it. It has been entirely too long since I posted. For some reason, I can't seem to get my head on straight lately, let alone organize my thoughts and digital photos to post to the blog... but here goes... a recap of the last few weeks... (so, you can stop emailing or telling me to post to my blog!) :)

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We went to Blacksburg to spend the holiday with Kurts family. All the cousins had a blast running in circles and driving the adults bonkers. :) We had a lot of fun at the Children's museum in Roanoke. It was nice to have an outing with Grammy.

Oh, big big news in our home, Poochie had surgery on his tail over Thanksgiving. I am posting some "before" photos here but will have to wait for the "after" photo, as Brody has Poochie in bed right now. He had worn poochies tail down all the way to tatters, so now he has a nice new tail. For a while, Poochie had the old tail and the new one together at the same time, but Brody came to me the other day and asked me to cut the old one off, that "Poochie didn't want it anymore." So, I started to tear up as I cut Poochie's tail off. Crazy. Brody was perfectly fine, but I had a hard time losing the most precious part of Poochie.

The day after we got home from Blacksburg, we went to see Playhouse Disney Live. It really was an awesome show. I tried to snap some good photos, but it was really hard, even though we were really close in the third row. We went with our best friends, Abby and Kim.

A few days later, we took the boys to Richmond to see Santa (the same one I went to see when I was little)and they loved it. Thank the Good Lord that Brody asked for what he did, because there could have been issues if he added one more thing to the list of stuff that has already been acquired, if you know what I mean.

We had a good time hanging out for a little while at the Children's museum... here is a pic of my silly kids.

It is our tradition to go pick out or Christmas tree on our anniversary, so this year, on our EIGHTH wedding anniversary, we went to get the tree. It was FREEZING so there wasn't much time spent outside choosing. We got a good one, though, as usual.
The kids favorite part was just running up and down the rows. I wish I preferred to run everywhere. I am sure I would be in much better shape!

So, now the outside and inside of the house is all decorated (I will take some photos later), the tree is up and decorated, we have watched the Polar Express about 365 times, the Christmas cards are all almost sent, and life is good. I only have 2 more presents that are still being shipped, and other than that, everything is wrapped and waiting for the big day!

We have a Christmas concert at church this Sunday and I am really excited about it. A Christian artist that I have listened to since I was in high school is coming to do a concert with our choir this Sunday. I can't wait to sing with Michael Card! Crazy. He is an amazing talent and I can't believe he will be performing with us at our church! The tickets are completely sold out, so sorry if anyone wanted to come! I will let you know how it went!

One last photo for the grandmoms... we made brownies tonight. Brody helped. :)