Welcoming the New Bride

It’s interesting how your life can take on changes you would never imagine in the beginning. When I first married 26 years ago, it was very common to have visitors at my house quite frequently all the time.  My mom and dad showed me how to be hospitable when I was growing up and my husband’s parents set an example for him. My husband took to hospitality like a fish to water. It became his passion and still is to this day. There was a problem. I didn’t know how to cook when I married so me and cookbooks spent a lot of time together. So here I was not knowing how to cook much besides spaghetti and tacos… but I did know how to…

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Leaving Boring Clothing Behind

What would you do if you were offered an all expense paid trip to a country that was not on your bucket list of places to go someday? It would be hard to say, “No” and we didn’t and so we are going… {drumroll, please} to the… Democratic Republic of the Congo …a place that is said to be the poorest country in the world.   The reason for our visit? A wedding. A very authentic African wedding! 4 days we’ll be spending in the country of DR Congo and what an experience I’m sure I’ll have to tell about. I’ve been prepared somewhat about the wedding. The other day I received a phone call from my good friend. She said, “Liz, I want to…

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When Your Children Grow Up

Although there comes a time when you must release the arrows in your quiver, it’s still difficult when change comes to your family that you have nurtured and watched over for so many years. My son Wesley, who is 19,  embarked on his own adventure by deciding to go to Canada to work for a few months this summer. What a great opportunity for him to learn new skills and spend time with family. After the camp meeting, we had to say goodbye to him since he was going to be flying out of that area the next day and not traveling home with us. Last hugs for his sister. “I know you’ll be home soon, but we’re going to miss you!”   Things are…

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After the wedding and reception, we headed to Indiana for the church camp arriving very late. As always it was a wonderful time. It had rained just enough that the ground was quite wet and where these kids played the grass was gone in just a matter of hours, leaving mud!  My nephew Lincoln didn’t mind it a bit. The fun thing about this youth camp is that if you have a desire to host a class where you share a skill or talent OR if you just want to do something fun with the kids, there’s plenty of opportunity. There were hair clinics (where you go to get your hair fancied), bread baking classes, art classes, sewing classes, Hot Wheel car races, Dart gun…

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A Beautiful Wedding and Outdoor Reception

We awoke to an overcast sky but that was nothing new. Since we had arrived in Ohio, we had not seen the sun, but this was the wedding day and the reception was to be outdoors. Things did not look good but we were excited anyways about the upcoming day, even if it did rain. And it did. The whole drive to Michigan there was a continuous but gentle rain. About 35 minutes from the church, my husband says, “The alternator is having issues.” Oh, no, this was not a good thing! We pulled off the next exit to get gas because we were on E completely and was fortunate that just about 1/2 mile up the road there was an Auto Zone where we…

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An Eastward Trip… Again

Once again we have made a 1,700 mile trek across the country to a church youth camp which my oldest son started going to when he was 12. It was actually the very first youth camp I went to when I was 15 and it’s still going strong! It’s been a wonderful blessing in my children’s life. We drove the church van and took along 7 other passengers besides our family – making a total of 13. We stopped at a park for breakfast one morning. Audrey found a little bird that had fallen out of its nest. And the kids took opportunity to practice their volleyball bumping skills. It was a great group of kids to travel with. One evening I used Urbanspoon to…

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How Our Father’s Day Celebration Came Together

So I kept getting these calls leading up to Father’s Day, asking me what I was going to do for Father’s Day. “Uh, Father’s Day? I haven’t even thought about it.” One was making a smoked brisket for her husband and another was having dinner guests both of which things my husband would absolutely love. But I had nothing… zilch… zero… planned. Poor man. But my alibi, flimsy as it may be, is I have so much going on right now that I don’t know if I’m coming or going right now, whether my head is on straight or not, or whether this is 2015 or 2016. Seriously, I wrote a check the other day with the year 2016 on it. Wracking my brain with…

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What Can Happen in a Year…

Today I wanted to share a couple of slide shows that I made recently. The first slideshow is of one of our Castle Keeper girls that became engaged recently. When viewing it, it makes me realize what a brief time we have with these girls. Our first Castle Keeper to get married and to graduate out of the club. Haha! And the second one is an overview of our Castle Keeper year showcasing our monthly meetings and challenges. Hope you enjoy!

A Luncheon for 200 Campers

I have survived. There were a few several butterflies in the stomach and some short nights but I made it through! Yesterday we had over 200 people here for a luncheon. There is a youth camp in the area, hosted by a church in Phoenix and it’s been a tradition for several years now that they all come to our place for lunch the day camp is over. To get a big job done, it’s important to have good help. And I was thankful for every one of them. My sidekick for events like this and friend for 38+ years. Excuse our disheveled appearance. Maybe we were feeling a little frazzled? We had a Mexican themed dinner. And the kids were quite hungry after having…

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A Road Trip – Seeing Family & Friends

Our family road trip was a whirlwind trip and we covered a lot of miles and saw a lot of people. We stopped at a family camp for a day-and-a-half seeing old friends and meeting some new ones. I was espcially interested in their breakfast set-up. I thought it was well done. Breakfast every morning is the same but it’s everything. Biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, eggs, omelets & waffles. I know these guys look kind of scary (maybe they were tired from working so hard – because they sure do!) but my niece in picture #3 more than made up for it. Her smile lights up any room she’s in. So, here’s the set-up. About 9 waffle commercial waffle makers were going (left pic), biscuits,…

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A Road Trip – Stop #2 The Alamo, Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was not always called that. It actually began as a Spanish mission and was completed in 1744 with the name San Antonio de Valero Mission. But over the years, it was abandoned and later served as a fort for the army. It became an unforgettable piece of American history in 1836 when the battle of the Alamo took place. But first let me give you a little background as to how the Alamo became involved. Spain held the area of Texas until 1821 when Mexico declared its independence. Mexico then decided to try and colonize the area since it was so sparsely populated. Their plan was to snag immigrants from the United States. This proved to be very successful…

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A road-trip that covered 3,000 miles. You can pack a lot into one week and we proved it by doing just that. Now I need a vacation from my vacation! Seth is getting ready to head to Canada for the next several months as he starts his summer/fall/winter jobs there, just left this morning for Canada so we my hubby decided we really needed to do this family trip before he left. Since I’m just a passenger (no driving for me!) I went along for the ride. First off, it was Carlsbad Caverns, a favorite of ours once we went to see it several years ago. This was our third time to visit. James Larkin White was a cowboy riding along when he saw a…

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Painted Rocks by the Castle Keeper Girls

We’re wrapping up the year for our Castle Keeper girls. They’ve just finished up their last monthly challenge which was to paint a rock. “A rock”, you say? Oh yes, and cute they are! ~~~~~ These owls and ladybugs were even named! “May I introduce you to Jethro, Francis, Kyle and Oliver?” Does that inspire you to make your own? But, wait! Before you run off to paint yours, I have a few more I would like to share. This lovely butterfly is from the hand of an artist in Brazil. I wonder what type butterfly it is? The following rocks were collected while on special outings. One carried all the way from the bottom of the Grand Canyon… …and this one while on a…

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Over fifteen years ago we went to our first 4-H club meeting and Seth joined the swine group for his first market project. And now my baby girl Audrey has reached the age required by 4-H to show and sale an animal. She’s been eagerly anticipating this year because she would now be old enough to raise a pig herself.   Last year, nabbing every chance she could, Audrey walked Serenity’s pig and learned how to train it to go in the direction she wanted.   But now it’s her turn to have her very own pig. And it’s even better when you and your brother are doing the same project because then you get to do everything together. Working alongside each other they worked…

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Our Havasupai Hike – Day 3

After walking in to Havasupai and enjoying the beautiful sights it had to offer, it was time to leave. I had wanted to make our departure at the bright and early hour of 5 am to beat the heat but I was outvoted. The only ones who were with me in leaving early was my 9 year old Audrey and another 13 year old boy, so I opted to wait for everyone. And it turned out fine since the weather was not too hot at all. After Scripture and prayer, we took a last group shot… and started getting ready for our hike out. and we were off, leaving as we were ready – in a staggered fashion. Nothing planned, just how it worked out….

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Our Havasupai Hike – Day 2

After getting a good nights rest, we were ready to see the beautiful falls that Havasupai is famous for. (And if you didn’t get to read about Day 1 of our hike down into this part of the Grand Canyon, you can here.) This is a picture heavy post – almost 40 pictures but I took over 600 photos so trimming it down is hard.   We started off the morning with breakfast in the courtyard, again eating whatever each individual decided to pack along with them. My brother-in-law who knows no stranger invited one of the Natives to come have breakfast with us. Jasper was his name and he shared with us a few stories from the Supai history that had happened right there…

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Our Havasupai Hike – Day 1

Every step, every mile we hiked was worth it. What amazing and stunning views were beheld. Words and pictures cannot capture the pure beauty of it all. And what a wonderful time to be with family and friends. It was mostly families that went which I appreciate. I love seeing families do things together and this was an experience that I was thrilled we could do with our children. We were shocked at the amount of cars at the top. We were not expecting so many. There are a limited number of hikers allowed into the canyon at any one time and I had been under the impression that it wasn’t very many but what about all these cars? We found out later that most…

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The Adventure is Almost Upon Us

You all know about my upcoming adventure to hike a part of the Grand Canyon called Havasupai. Well folks, it’s very close. Only 5 days away! I’ve watched the days go from triple digits down to single. I am so excited to be doing this and we have 34 others that have signed up to go with us so there will be a lot of moral support for any of us who might lag behind. That wouldn’t be me of course! Not at all. A few months ago I did a little spoof on Ernest Shackleton’s advertisement he posted in the newspaper for his expedition to the Antarctic in 1914 and sent it to some who were trying to make up their minds about Havasupai….

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A Desert Girl and a Sea Captain Fall in Love

I survived. One day of kitchen prep work and one day of intense kitchen craziness but it was all mostly all good. This past weekend I catered a wedding reception for a friend of the family. My 5th wedding so far. Am I crazy for doing this? I really do think it’s fun but making sure the food is ready when needed can be a challenge. Especially if the facilities are not up to par. Thankfully, this kitchen was nice and big with 2 refrigerators and 2 ovens. The ovens were only residential grade so that’s not so nice but it IS two ovens, so I have to be thankful for that. The bride, Cherith, married a ship captain from New Zeland and after the…

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Castle Keeper Girls Make Their Own Gift Wrap

Most of the time I haven’t any problem thinking of new challenges for the Castle Keeper girls. It’s actually kind of fun looking for ideas for the girls. This past month they did gift wrapping and bow toppers. They were to wrap a book or some other item (it did not have to be a real gift) and make their own wrapping paper as well as a bow topper.  The girls 13 and up had to do 4 different packages and 12 and under only had to do one. Here’s a sampling of their work.   Audrey (age 9) took a potato and dipped it in red paint to make her watermelon print. It’s an idea she saw on Pinterest.   The use of a…

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