30 October 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Operation shoebox 015A

It’s that time of year again!  This is the 4th year the girls have participated in Operation Christmas Child. This year, they’re asking neighbors, friends, and family members to help! 

Their goal is to send 10 boxes!!  The best part- the girls will do all the work for you!  It takes about $15-$20 to send one box but any amount will help. In the past, our boxes have ended up in Paraguay, Singapore, and Indonesia.

This is a wonderful and tangible way to help make a difference in the life of a child this Christmas!

We will be accepting donations for the next two weeks. 

National Collection Week is November 12-19.

28 October 2012

Mexico Loft House Parking Lot Pre-Build

Pre-Build Mexico 010


Pre-Build Mexico 011


 Pre-Build Mexico 015


Pre-Build Mexico 016


 Pre-Build Mexico 036

Always fun to serve alongside friends!


Pre-Build Mexico 018


 Pre-Build Mexico 020



Pre-Build Mexico 025


 Pre-Build Mexico 028A


Pre-Build Mexico 027


  Pre-Build Mexico 033


Pre-Build Mexico 034


Pre-Build Mexico 038

Yesterday, we spent the morning at church, pre-building the walls for the Loft Houses that will be taken down to Ensenada, Mexico. Next week, we will be actually going there to complete the homes for those in need.

For months now, we have been praying for a possible mission trip for our family. We tried to go on this very trip a couple of years ago but the 9 miles of rough roads into Mexico made it impossible in our minivan. They recently changed the location and now, the roads are flat and any type of car is permissible. 

We were so proud of how hard the kids worked this morning. God willing, this will be the first of many mission trips as family and we are excited for the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus!

27 October 2012

San Diego Zoo

SD Zoo 089

SD Zoo 008

SD Zoo 014

SD Zoo 015

SD Zoo 019
This elephant was getting a wound washed and cleaned on his side.

SD Zoo 025A

SD Zoo 026A

SD Zoo 029

SD Zoo 036

SD Zoo 037A
Seal pups.

 SD Zoo 016

SD Zoo 038

SD Zoo 042

SD Zoo 043A

SD Zoo 047
I love Grace’s reaction to the right.

SD Zoo 051

SD Zoo 053A

SD Zoo 058

SD Zoo 078

SD Zoo 085

SD Zoo 061A

SD Zoo 087                    

SD Zoo 068
Back scratch?

SD Zoo 077

SD Zoo 063    
It was such a beautiful day in San Diego. We took advantage of KIDS FREE MONTH at the San Diego Zoo this week. Plus, Morgan’s sister gave us two free guest passes!! (You know us, it’s not often we pass up a SUPER DUPER savings, especially when it involves learning and FUN!)

We are incredibly blessed to be able to make a day trip to San Diego and be home by dinner!

Such a fantastic day!!   

Citrus Salsa Verde

Salsa verde 01
This super refreshing and light salsa has been in staple in my fridge for weeks now. 
I usually serve it alongside salmon or tilapia but grilled chicken or steak would be yummy as well. 
The flavors marry so well together and although the ingredients separately, might not be favorites for my kids, they absolutely LOVE this combo together.   
I like that you can make this any time of year and it sort of feels like summer. It’s the perfect accompaniment to whatever you’re barbequing. 
I gave a jar of this to my girlfriend the other day and she said she licked the whole jar clean in one meal, by herself!!! :) 
Give it a try!  It’s fun to have a new salsa in the mix.
*Adapted from Giada’s Citrus Salsa Verde


  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove minced 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (optional, if the oranges aren’t that sweet)



For the salsa: Peel and trim the ends from each orange. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a medium bowl. Squeeze the rest of the juice from the oranges into the bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, scallions, basil, capers, orange zest, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Toss lightly and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for next day.

25 October 2012

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Fall stuff 003A

At least in our backyard anyway.


Lights 01A

The girls helped daddy light up the backyard (and themselves) last week.


Fall stuff 009A

With fall finally making it’s appearance, we’ve been enjoying our backyard more and more in the evenings.  And now, it’s bright and festive, too!

Speaking of bright, festive, and Christmas…

We are counting down the days to our Holiday Cruise! 

At last, we shared the news with the girls yesterday and we couldn’t be MORE EXCITED!!!

21 October 2012

80 years…

50th- Dad 1940A
Who is this adorable little cowboy?  He was 8 years-old in 1940.
Mom & Dad's 50th
Here he is on his wedding day in 1960.

50th- Dad 1958A
Kickin’ back, sometime in the 60’s.

50th- dad cooking for momA
Using his fireman cooking skills to impress his bride.

50th- dad & mom dancing
Dancing at his daughter’s wedding in 1993.

Carnival Paradise 50th 139
Mom & Dad’s 50th Wedding Anniversary in 2000.

Granpa's 80th 032A
Morgan and Jen.
We had a low-key celebration for Dad this weekend.  The bigger gathering will be held on Thanksgiving when the whole family will be here and several birthdays will celebrated together.
Granpa's 80th 040A
4 out of 6 grandkids.

Granpa's 80th 052A
Dad with his soon to be 84 year-old sister, Mary Jo.

Granpa's 80th 043A
His favorite kind of cake… Lemon!

Granpa's 80th 047

Granpa's 80th 048
Always humble.

Granpa's 80th 049

  Granpa's 80th 051
The girls adore their Grandpa.
Wow, 80 years…
I can only hope and pray that God would grant me the gift of so much time.  The years haven’t all been easy but they have been well worn and appreciated more and more, with each passing year. 
I loved him from the moment I met him.  Maybe it was because I could see a glimpse into my future.  After all, as the saying goes, “Like father, like son.” 
I would describe my father-in-law as a gentle, kind, compassionate, and easy-going man.  He is also a man of integrity, incredible humility, and he never wants anyone to “make a fuss” over him. 
He is a Veteran, a Patriot, and a Believer.
Most important to us, he is a loving husband, a wonderful father, a devoted brother, and an extraordinary Grandpa.
Happy Birthday, Dad! 
We are so blessed to call you ours.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory, it can be found in the way of the righteous.” ~Proverbs 16:31

On Instagram

© Brave Soul. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.