Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007! Favorite Things

Icy Road - Full Sun

The photo above was taken on Christmas Eve, when I was making my early drive to Boise. This is the 'view' once I got on the highway in front of our house. That was the day I was day dreaming, checking out the beautiful scenery and uh, doing the crazy car sideways trick on ice... I took this photo because the wind was blowing snow across the road and it was such a beautiful sight!

Today is another absolutely gorgeous, crystal clear sunny snow covered day! BREATH TAKING!! It started at 10 degrees, but the sun has been out all day, not a cloud in sight (except for the ones hanging on top of the mountains)...

So, for New Years Eve our Day has taken a new twist... Plan A was to clean house (I have to go into the New Year with a Clean House ! My own superstition), and craft and then at midnight (after the kids wake us up!) bang pots and pans... and of course watch the ball drop on time square.

Plan B: The kids and I are going sledding in an hour, with our friends the Scilacci's (who moved up here from CA - we did not know them in CA, but Michele and I have formed a sisterhood -we are twisted sisters - CA girls at heart!), and then our family is going to have dinner and play games at our friends the Maxwell's...until about 10pm...old age is a hard thing... Staying up until 10 is really stepping out for all of us! These are the same friends we spent Christmas Eve with! I love friends!!! They make my heart sing....

Speaking of friends....
Thank you each and every one of you for making my 2007 a blessed year with friends across the blogging sphere....
  • Thank you Dawn for making me create a blog!
  • Thank you cousin Karen - I am so happy we get to check on each other and share our 'behind the scenes' secrets!
  • Thank you cousin Debra - I love reading your chef girl training stories and love your humor! Ditto to secrets
  • Thank you Aunt Alice, for being a beautiful Auntie and loving presence to all of your nieces
  • Thank you Sandy for sharing your beautiful work and love of God with the rest of us
Those are the ones off the top of my head... I know there are more of you...that communicate with me on a regular basis.... which makes my life out here in a rural area so much more 'in touch' will real people! Seriously, a gal can go stir crazy when her husband just isn't well, a girl!! Don't get me wrong, I do love my Cowboy, but men just aren't the same as girlfriends...or women... in terms of being a girlfriend...confused yet? They just don't talk!!!!

Now, for the list of goodbyes to 2007... My favorite things 'done' list:
  • Spring Trip to CA in March... 2000 miles logged, three breakdowns in my car, but the trip was so darn fun!! I so loved all our little adventures - Chico, CA; Davis, CA; Watsonville, Milbrae; Santa Cruz; back to Chico; and of course, the kids will tell you, swimming at the hotel in Winnemucca NV. The sun was warm, the friends a pleasure to see, and my family always a blessing...
  • April: Road Trip to Sandy, Utah with my Mormon girlfriends for a Scrapbook Convention. These girls are dead drop serious when it comes to scrapbooking... Oh man! The late nights! Lots of fun! Five girls in one hotel room. We were nuts! And they were very tolerant of my coffee obsession... great friends who love you for who you are...
  • April - October: The Boise Farmers Market! GREAT place! I so love Boise! A great big city only 2.5 hours away... Even though I had to get up at 3:30am to hit the road at 4:15am, it was so worth it! The people! The culture! The scenery! And, yes!!! The shopping!!!!! Met lots of great people.
  • Farmers Market Season - all of them: I love the markets because I get to socialize and be with people who appreciate what we do! So much fun... even when it's 106 degrees, blazing hot (Pendleton) or a mere 28 degrees (La Grande/Baker)....
  • Grandpa Pat's visit in May: Just love this woman... We took walks every day, drank great wine each night and had fun!
  • Sexton Family Reunion in July: Tons of fun...
  • Bingham Family Rodeo in July: Our kids first rodeo as contestants! Too fun!
  • Baker Air Show: August: Sami and I went - the boys slept... WE went up in a plane and Sami flew! Yeah!
  • Our First Camping and Fishing Trips - August: What a blast... all sorts of funny mishaps (I hooked my finger, etc.).. But so fun..
  • Our Customer Appreciation Day late September: What can I say? We sure know how to throw a party! Fun!
  • Our first Haunted House - October 31st: I finally got with the program and wore a costume instead of just being the chauffeur. Fun!
  • The Visit from the CA Good ol' Boys: Dick's Dad & friend... Hilarious. I want road trips like theirs when I am in my 80's! They hit the road and had adventures, and cocktails had to be ready at 5pm! Like I said... when I am in my 80's....
  • My stamping peas and our two huge events (June & October)! So much fun! Looking forward to Feb.
  • My family... Just watching these silly kids keeps me happily entertained... I love watching Dick teach them new things - he really is a good teacher.. oh, and their wresting matches and dog piles too!
  • New animals - puppies, guard dogs, goats and Ruby
  • Lessons learned - saying goodbye to 2 beautiful guard dogs; letting go of a day job and putting my family and our business first; lawn mowers are inanimate objects and it's useless to yell at them- or husbands, they still don't listen; good friends and family can be the same; girlfriends are the best gift a girl can have!
So, I leave you with my word of 2008 - Spontaneous (I got the idea from Ali Edwards, a major force in the scrapbooking industry - she's just wonderful!). I chose Spontaneous because I am a Type A - Control Freak. I like to plan and have structure... But, starting today, I am just 'going for it' as opportunities present themselves.

OH. Major development:
Heard on the Oprah Station on XM. Dr. Emmett Oz' show. A man by the name of Randy was giving a motivational speech to 450 people, and asked are you a Tigger or Eeyore? Tiggers choose to be happy, they love life and get on with their lives regardless of what is thrown at them. Eeyore on the other hand is grumpy, and always complains about how life has dealt him a bad deal. Randy also talked about character. If you lie, Carma will turn the other cheek (this was very timely, a woman in my life just lied to me yesterday!)... and also, how do you treat others when you disappoint them (lie to them, or let them down) - do you actually apologize? And, most importantly, do you ask how to make it right? That involves compassion.. the act of wanting to make things right with another person. The most important thing about Randy's motivational speech was what he said at the end 'this presentation is not intended for 450 people. It is intended for 3 people, who one day will watch it when they are older'. Randy is dying, has 2 months to live, is a father, and has chosen to be a Tigger..... oh, how I cried.

Peace be with all of you.. May 2008 Bring you all Hope, Peace, Love & Happiness.. But it won't land in your lap. You have to make it, and welcome it, and LIVE it!

Amen.

National Treasure - Book of Secrets

Our little family ventured out on a stormy winter night (Saturday) to go see National Treasure - Book of Secrets... Our theater is 17 miles from our home. It took us about 45 minutes to get there because of the weather! The movie was great! All of us enjoyed it. I am such a sucker for adventure combined with clues and a 'treasure' hunt! I loved the 'resolute desks' and their role in the movie, as well as three Statue of Liberties and and a President's Book of Secrets! Super duper fun....

We came out to 3 inches of snow in the car and a nice, slow drive home. Sunday morning was spent shoveling snow, again, from the front walkway and high traffic areas!

I give the movie 5 stars.

We only go to the big theater about twice a year. It's a huge treat! Our Movie Adventure was a Christmas gift from my sister Christy... Thanks Christy!

Christmas - Food Related

Cornbread... Made this yesterday... The mix came in a gift


Here are more goodies from the gift box - beans, and salsa mixes.

What a cool present my sister Christy sent! She send us a gift box from the Woman's
Bean Project... On Christmas Day I cooked a ham (we usually have one of our super tasty
prime ribs, but I am saving ours for tonight)... Well, ham seems to be one of those things
that never ends! I swear it multiplies... For close to a week we have been eating ham, ham & beans, grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, and last night we had egg mc muffins (ham, cheese, fried eggs on an English muffin).... for lunch today I think we will have a big chef salad...

Check out those cool lemons... Direct from California. My friend Michele, who moved here about a year ago (our kids are in the same classroom) from CA and she brought these to us recently!


A Sexton Christmas is not complete without AnnaBelle Compton Sexton's homemade Eggnog!


A tasty beverage... It calls for:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C Golden Rum (Dick's Grandma used 2 C Bourbon)
  • 1 qt light cream (not to be found in stores... I use 1/2 and 1/2)
  • nutmeg
Beat eggs
Add sugar and salt, beat
Stir in alcohol
Chill for 3 hours
add nutmeg on top of poured drinks

So, I double this recipe and have non-alcohol batch and one with alcohol. It is not thick.. Nice and light!

Christmas Recap - Part 2

Our Santa Hats...

The story about these is at the bottom of the post... I hit a 'backspace' and deleted the photo earlier! ACK!
An MP3 Player for Me??? Thanks Auntie Paula!

This girl 'fainted' on the couch when she opened this baby up... Both Jake & Sami got MP3 players... which is a good thing.. instead of 1... Jake was really vocal about 'what??? you got what???? Until he opened his... That was a close call! Dick spent most of the day helping the kidlets load music....such a good Daddy! Check out Sami's cool cowboy boot slippers!
Homemade nog sitting on the itty bitty table!


Some of my favorite things... This will be next year's spot for a nativity... I so need to get one!

I collect Boyd's Bears.. Thanks to my little sis Paula! See the little white one? That was in this year's stocking! Fa la la la la. Mrs. Claus tucked it in for me... she knows how to treat a gal. Oh! That's me! Tee hee!



Our Nutcracker that came directly from Germany - thanks Auntie Patti!

Dick's sister gave us this gift last year. She went to Germany and had a great trip, she sent a post card from the Cinderella Castle! The best part about Christmas is opening all the decor boxes and seeing your old friends again! The kids spent the first 2 days playing with all the nutcrackers... itty bitty ones and the big ones... Notice the snow in the background? Fresh powder, baby...


Our Advent Calendar... After Christmas Sami reset it for the countdown to her birthday

See, only 6 more days when this photo was taken! Now we are down to 5! Gee, I took this shot yesterday? Seems like so long ago! I spent yesterday 'cleaning' up... Putting away the indoor decor, taking down the tree, dragging the tree through the snow to the yard waste pile in the back 40... and vacuuming the needles... joy..


More of my Favorite Things....
Our Santa Hats, (which is now the first photo - was the last until I did some fancy editing!) which we wear when it's music time at night.... I have to say, Dick has been an awesome music teacher! Each night at 5pm the kids get music lessons from their dad. They both have a list of songs to practice on the guitar and keyboard! While I am fixing dinner I get to hear my little angels and their daddy... It is one of my favorite things.... The basket has all my Christmas related books... So fun to go through these each year...

Highlights from Christmas

Making the Gingerbread House


That Would Be a California Gingerbread House - Build on Landfill....

Notice the toothpick holding the structure... The builders did not follow building code,

they put on the roof goodies before the walls were sealed.. and thus, major shifting!


Christmas Eve Fondue Party... Cheese needed a bit more heat!

But the boys loved playing with it (and no, that is not my son's wine!)


Christmas Morning... Stocking Dump and Santa's Gifts!

The first step is opening stockings, and seeing what Santa left... Then a few presents get opened , then we wait for Dick to get back from feeding all the critters...


Dick's favorite Gift...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December 27th - All is Calm

Teacher Gifts that I did not share with all of you! Oops!

I love the name of the Tazo teas - Refresh & Awake...

Hope Mrs. Black didn't think I was 'hinting' at anything (like, Hey Lady, Wake Up! or Snap Out of It!).. Both kids are in Mrs. Black's class, it is a little rural school, and the grades are doubled up, so 3rd & 4th grade are together, and Jake and Sami likewise... And, if you know Jake, you definitely have to be on your toes when it comes to slipping him any new tricks... at least I know I have to be awake and feeling refreshed!!

Recap:
Christmas was wonderful.. Yes, I did drive to Boise on the 24th which made Christmas Eve a flurry! Phew! We had an awesome fondue dinner party with friends, and Mrs. Claus finally rolled into bed about midnight. Chocolate fondue is wonderful for keeping you alert!

Christmas Day started early... Sami woke at 4:23 am sharp! She woke us up and said 'is it time to get up'? After three rounds of sending her back to bed, which was in our closet (kids are still camping out - dont' worry, closet is an open huge room) we finally stirred about 6am.. and what a day it was! Santa was 'very very good to me'. Well, good to all of us!

This is the cozy time.. no deadlines, no rushing around, and ignoring all the items on my to do list... For today, just cruzing... and savoring every moment. The kids have recouped from a nasty cold, and I am trying to keep the germs at bay... And, there is a winter storm warning for tonight.. Oh well!

So, mainly I just wanted to check in, say 'hi' and let you know, I'm still here, but taking life easy for a few days...

Thank you to all our great friends and family members that sent beautiful cards and sweet gifts! We have a great collection of cards on the windowsills.. the presents are still under the tree, unwrapped, and they shall remain there until I get my next wind...about December 31st!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Advent Day 22-24 - Merry Christmas!

I woke at 4 am today... Sami woke me up. It's the day before Christmas, It's Christmas Eve. Our little buddies have rewired their internal clocks to Christmas Time.. They are getting ready for tomorrow...which means I have to rewire my internal clock!

The kids have been sleeping in our room for the last three days... They are in heaven. They are having a nice string of slumber party days... It's Christmas Break and a special time for all of us.

Each morning one of the little bodies sneaks out of one of the sleeping bags and slithers into our bed for a snuggle...so cozy!

It snowed yesterday... The kids worked on their gingerbread house and I worked on more cards.. Last night the kids and I went to the church of a friend and watched a couple movies about Christmas, and the meaning of Christmas. It was beautiful... The drive was horrid.. icy roads, but we went slow.. guided by the light of the moon.

This morning I am making my list and checking it twice...
  • Hang Stockings
  • Make Eggnog for tonight
  • Pick out lamb sausages for tonight's fondue party
  • Take out lamb salami for tonight's party
  • Cut up fruit for tonight's fondue dessert portion of party
  • Wrap gifts for our friends - for tonight
  • Make cookies to deliver to neighbors
  • Make tags for all the gifts I have hidden (big fat cheesy grin right here!)
  • Oh.. Leave at 8:00 am and drive to Boise to meet the Sausage Man
The last one is throwing all of the above for a loop.. I'll be on the road for 5 hours. So, I'll have two hours for the remainder...

But, it's Christmas Eve.. None of the above really matters, does it? What matters are the sweet little bodies that snuggle with us, the songs we sing in the evening, and the comfort of knowing a man named Jesus was born as our Savior, and he is always beside us to guide us.

Have a beautiful day today. Have a wonderful night. And, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Advent Day 21 - Food & Song

First, the Song
Dick has been giving music lessons each night in preparation of Christmas Eve.
Sami gets guitar lessons, Jake keyboard lessons.. They are practicing
for our Christmas Eve sing along... Silent Night is our favorite!
Last year I made song books for everyone...in big type for those of us that are sight challenged!
Sami's song book is the binder under the lesson book.


Now, for the Food
Last night was Favorite Foods Friday! I made 'Tomato Melties' for appetizers.
This is a recipe Dick & I invented....

Start with sourdough bread......


Heat a cube of butter, sliced mushrooms, ots of garlic, and Italian Seasoning.


Baste the butter mixture onto the bread, add sliced roma tomatoes.


Top with grated Mozzarella cheese...as you can see, I goofed and put on cheddar!


Bake until somewhat crispy... and cheese is melted! These are a family favorite!
Well, with the exception of the mushrooms... the kids pick those off!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Advent Day 18 - Family Christmas Cookie Recipe

I am so on a roll!

Oh, and yes, I realize today is actually Day 21, but I am trying to get caught up!!!

After sharing with you some private moments about my day yesterday, this 'sweet' cookie recipe found its way into my email box from my ever so talented mother Pat. Pat is an awesome cook, had a wonderful career, (she is retired now) golfs every chance she gets, has great legs from all the walking she does in downtown Seattle (well, she's always had great legs!), dresses impeccably, and is a woman who is now living life to the fullest (I say that now, because remember the dysfunctional testimonial? We had some rough years, very rough) ... Anyway, she is a 'turn lemons into lemonade' type of woman, and refuses to be a victim or dwell on the past. A great role model for any woman who really needs to 'get a life'!

Here is the cookie recipe that she sent to me and my older sister Christy... Christy and I both have/had a tendency to 'attempt the Martha Stewart level' when in comes to the holidays...Christy is 'over it'. Hmmm.. come to think of it, Christy sent me a Martha Stewart book last Christmas (she tried to get it autographed, but that did not work out!)... wonder if there was a hidden message there?

Christmas Cookie Recipe

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Crown Royal

Instructions:
- Sample the Crown Royal to check quality.

- Take a large bowl, check the Crown Royal again, to be sure it is of
the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

- Turn on the electric mixer...Beat one cup of butter in a large
fluffy bowl.

- Add one teaspoon of sugar...Beat again.

- At this point it's best to make sure the Crown Royal is still OK,
try another cup.. just in case.

- Turn off the mixer thingy.

- Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried
fruit.

- Pick the frigging fruit off floor...

- Mix on the turner.

- If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose
with a dewscriver.

- Sample the Crown Royal to check for tonsisticity.

- Next, sift two cups of salt, or something.... who giveshz a sheet.

- Check the Crown Royal.

- Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

- Add one table.

- Add a spoon of ar, or somefink.... whatever you can find.

- Greash the oven.

- Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

- Don't forget to beat off the turner.

- Finally, throw the bowl through the window.

- Finish the bottle of Crown Royal.

- Make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

Cherry Mistmas

Hope you all get a chuckle out of this!!! I sure did... Kills me every time I read it!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Advent - Day 19 - All Wrapped and Packed!

Fa la la la la!

I did it...everything got wrapped (Monday), packed (Tuesday) and shipped (Tuesday, so they tell me!) ... Here's a sample of my wrapped packs...

And here is a sample of a cute little bear who I used to hold photos of the kids!

A Boyds Bear, of course! It's a Hallmark Gift Card Holder, but I turned him into
a wallet photo holder.


And, the Goody Boxes.
Yum... Lots of tasty treats in these babies! Gourmet hot cocoa, some truffles,
fudge, chocolate covered cherries or mint malt balls, or toffee, moose munch...
Of course I forgot to save one! Dolt!
I don't have a photo of the cd calendar in all it's glory or the wall calendars.. Oh well!
But everything got sent yesterday! Woo Hoo! Here's the list of destinations:
  • Millbrae, CA
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Ballwin, MO
  • Denver, CO
  • Seattle, WA
  • Sonoma, CA
  • Freedom, CA
  • Artois, CA
  • Kings Hill, Idaho
  • Federal Way, WA
  • New Jersey
How about that list? Now, family & friends, if you see your 'destination' on the list, it doesn't necessarily mean you get all of the above! You might get door #1, door #2, door #3 or perhaps, a surprise which is not shown above!

Fa la la la la!

Advent - Day 20th - Ice, Ice Baby!

Wow! Only 5 days until we celebrate the birth of Jesus! Isn't it just amazing how these days are going by fast???

Speaking of fast, I had an interesting experience this morning... I was scheduled to meet one of our customers in Baker City, which is 17 miles from here... Our hookup time was 9am.

At 6:40 am - which is meet the school bus time, I noticed the roads were very icy.. Ice Ice Baby! It was still dark out, so I didn't really give it any serious thought..

At 8:30 am - I hit the road... We live off the Anthony Lakes Highway, the road to the ski resort, which has a few big turns in it. Drives me crazy when the skiing 'yahoos' come flying down it! We have rescued quite a few wayward into the ditch drivers...

Anyway, one big turn is at our headquarters (2 Miles down the road) and another big turn is about 5 miles down... The roads were still icy... So, I'm cruzin'... Thinking how wonderful the day looks, all cloudy and ready to dump more snow... About 40 miles an hour.... obviously in my own little world with music involved... Then, uh, I hit the big turn and do the 'side ways shuffle'... I do have studded tires, and all wheel drive.. Thank goodness.... I corrected, my heart fluttered, and my shuffle ended, and I cruised some more... Then I got sideways again! More heart flutters.. Dang!

Two big trucks were coming from the opposite direction.. No where near impact, just close enough for me to show them my fancy driving skills.... Sigh... They waved... I waved back... needless to say, I drove a whole lot slower... Yahoo...

I canceled today's trip to Boise.. The interstate was closed North of us... and after my episode, I just wasn't up for more adventures. Good thing.. When I picked the kids up we got smacked my a mini snow storm!

I did have a fun moment though.. Our local C&W station was playing a real fun Christmas song, that I have not heard before... Family Christmas? A male singer shares his Family Christmas celebration - it's very dysfunctional - it includes ex wives, lots of kids, blowing out the Christmas lights when a relative plugs in their RV... and lots of trips to the quick mart to get more alcohol (eggnog, then margaritas then bloody Marys). I know, you're all probably disgusted, but it sounded so much like some of my family celebrations that I got out of the car (don't worry, by this time I was sitting in front of our mailbox, on the highway) and danced! (No one was around, just the cows, I promise!).... Yahoo!!! When I got back in the car, I got all emotional, and cried.

Sometimes it's hard to be with your family, and some times it's hard to be away.
And that's fine... Really...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Advent - Day 17.. Deep Breaths!

Slight panic... only got 2 things done on my 'to do' list today....

The bad news is it looks like I have to drive to Boise again, twice, between now and Christmas... ARG! This was not in my schedule... I still have 1 beef and a bunch of patties and hotdogs to pick up..for trip number 1. Never mind that I found out today that the hotdogs have NOT been packaged! Woah! That's not exceptable.. Loose dogs in a box??? GADS... wonder when this will all be sorted out? How long will it take? I was supposed to go back like, tomorrow or Wednesday!

Oh, but that's not all.. I got another call. This was a surprise. The sausage/salami guy wants to meet me either Sunday (5pm in Boise? HECK NO! That means driving in the dark on ice and unloading in the dark at 8pm!!) or Monday... Excuse me? Christmas EVE??? Doesn't he know I am Mrs. Clause and I have a lot on my plate???? Who will take care of the reindeer? Or stuff the stockings? Or get dinner ready for our big get together with the neighbors? Or do all the last minute stuff that did not get done because I was too busy blogging for goodness sakes?
I wasn't expecting the sausage/salami delivery until mid January! Oh boy...

Or, oh Men...

Sorry male readers... but I do have a bone to pick... my guy has been sick since Saturday and can only muster enough energy to read books in a cozy chair by the woodstove... while yours truly is running around like the Tasmanian devil.... Hey! I'm thinking he can drive to Boise twice himself!!! Just driving.. I'll do the heavy lifting when he gets to Baker! It would save at least 12 hours!!! I could get a lot done in those saved 12 hours... He would be saving the day!! Coming to my rescue!! My hero!! Superman! Stud!!! The man of all men! And, he would get out of the house and get some fresh air and scenery!! Truly, a win win situation for everyone.... (Am I convincing enough? Should I spring my plan?)

Thanks for listening... ... I feel so much better..and feel like I did some great problem solving....
Off to get some holiday spirits.. and cook dinner...
fa la la la la!!
(big cheesy grin inserted here)



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Advent - Days 13 Thru 16! Ramblings

Advent Day 13 - The Penguins Save Christmas!


My Little Guy... Kazoo in Hand

Well folks! As you can see I have some catching up to do... I'll just give you the 'highlights'!

Day 13: The Penguins Saved Christmas... Thursday was one of those 'killer' busy days! Left here at 8am for Boise (2.5 hr drive one way!) - met customers, picked up 4 beef - drove back to Baker, met Dick in town and unloaded beef... did I mention the ice and snow? Boise was not ready for winter!!! Anyway, then home.. baked cookies for the evening Christmas Program.....and off to the school.

Ah... nothing like an elementary School Christmas Program to align your spirit! It was the BEST program at our little school yet! We could actually hear the kids (our PTCO group bought new microphones - a project we have been discussing for 3 years!)... Sami was a reindeer, I didn't get her in her costume!! RATS.... we came home and everyone slept wonderfully!

Day 14: Favorite Foods Friday We started a new family 'ritual' the Friday after Thanksgiving... It's called 'Favorite Foods Friday'. For dinner we have someone's favorite foods, or a combo of several of our favorite foods.. This Friday was beef 'heart'.. Jake's favorite meat. When you are in the beef or lamb business, as we are, you use what you can.. I know some of you are probably 'freaking out' right about now, but heart is a very lean, and tasty item... We slice it and grill it...
I also bought pizzas thinking we would have those (another kid favorite) but, Dick already started dinner... So I made mashed potatoes with garlic... a family fave!

Day 15: Winter Deliveries & Sleep Under the Tree! Yesterday was busy... I hit the road about 9:30 am, with the orders I packed here all day Friday, went to Baker City (17 miles away), loaded up the big boxes, then to La Grande and Pendleton (1.5 hours away)... It was snowing when I left... but the roads were fine! Studded tires are a girls best friend! One of my customers gave me a plate of Christmas cookies! Cute ones! Red & green rice crispy treats!

Got home about 4pm with my sugar high (ate 2 cookies) and found Dick on the couch... sick... he looked bad! Yet, dinner was on the stove (are you ready for this? A chicken that was in our freezer - one of the ones from our 2005 harvest! It was actually a rooster, and a tasty one!).. Mr. Sick passed on dinner and went to bed, about 6pm, so the kids and I watched Meet the Robinson's and we had our slumber party under the tree! I slept on the couch, the kids on the floor.... fa la la la la!!!! Nothing like a lit Christmas tree to send you off with great dreams...

Day 16: Sunday!! My favorite day... it's my 'let's stay in our jammies and play' day! Got a crick in the right side of my neck from sleeping on the couch (a small sacrifice), but it's still going to be a great day.... Dick is now awake (he slept in until 7:30 am) and he is trying to wake the kids... he must be feeling better... I hear giggles... always a great way to start the day!!!

Have a wonderful Sunday...


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Advent Day 11 & 12 - Uh Oh... Fatigue!



I'm tired... Pooped...

I keep getting up at 3:30 am, or 3:45 am and starting my day, and then going to bed late! My normal bedtime is 8am, because my normal wakeup time is 5am! but last night I got to bed about 10:00 pm...

I'm not setting an alarm clock at all. My peepers just 'peep' open, and there I am.. making lists in my head... gotta get it all done...jump out, get dressed, and off I go....

Is it anxiety? Some sort of built in 'type A' wiring system?

This week is a rough one... And it has nothing to do with the Holidays (gift wise, that is).

Drove to Boise & back yesterday. 300 miles. Meat pickup.
Drove to La Grande and back today. 60 miles. Meat deliveries. Mailed meat off to Arizona.
Drive to Boise and back again, tomorrow. 300 miles. Meat pickup and deliveries.
Sneak in the kids Christmas Program tomorrow night. Oh.. gotta bake cookies for the school.
Prep meat orders on Friday.
Big delivery day on Saturday to La Grande & Pendleton.... 180 miles.

It's catching up to me. I am now finally tired.

I'm looking forward to Saturday Night & Sunday...
Pajama Rama.
Catch you all later! Thanks for listening...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Calling All Lamb & Beef Clients! Input Needed!

I need some assistance... if any of you reading this blog are our lamb and beef clients I would truly appreciate some input.

Our website continues to need 'upgrades' in order to serve you, our clients better. I emailed our new prices to our web designer two weeks ago, and we are still having design issues with how to get the interface more user friendly.

I try to email pricing sheets to those that request them and it is a tedious process at best.
So here is my question.... (actually 4, pick one that best serves your needs!)

1. Would you like to see a separate blog dedicated to the ranch business that has pricing data, product data, and delivery information, and a place for me to answer common questions, or
2. Would you prefer the data was at this site, and you could just access the appropriate archives (data on the left side, do the same as in #1) or
3. Would you prefer to get all info at the Web Site or
4. Everything is cool, and you are fine with the emails...

If you don't feel comfortable answering on this blog please email your answers to andisexton at cascadeaccess dot com. Sorry for the funky address, just trying to reduce spam (and I get tons from the website! Viagra anyone? Apparently the world web thinks I need it, as well as bigger body parts that would involve a sex change!)...

Thank you for your help!

Advent Day 10 - Happy Holidays!!! Meet Jess

Presenting......Our Christmas Card from Sexton Ranches

Every time I read or say out loud 'Happy holidays' I break out in song, Bing Crosby style!!!!
This is our Christmas Card (be sure to click on it to see it in all its glory!) that we are sending to all our wonderful beef and lamb clients...and some relatives and some friends!

You haven't met Jess yet - he is our new guard dog - and he is in the background with the sheep. Jess' full name is Jessie James, courtesy of Sami, the namer of all creatures great and small.

Jess is a shy guy... A true Guard Dog... also a little sweetie pie.. You can walk up to him, and he wags his tail, but he has his flight zone... get too close and off he goes!

Jess is the young dog Sami & Dick went to get after our other guard dogs were killed by the train. He actually came with a name... a mean one (Satan)... his previous owner obviously did not know his true spirit...

Advent Day 9 - Just a recap from yesterday.. Sami decided we needed a tea party.. She is so intuitive! She broke out her beautiful tea set from Auntie Paula, a Beatrix Potter collection, and she and I and Jake had tea and cookies! She made real herb tea. It was such a great Sunday event! Everyone poured their own tea. And our little hostess passed around cream and sugar. Afterwards I napped.. Sami joined me. Oh, life is wonderful! Of course it was only 11 am, but once again my insomnia woke me about 2:20 am and I just can't get back to sleep! By the way, in case any relatives are reading, Sami's tea set only has 2 cups.. we may need to upgrade!

Well, I am off to Grand Jury orientation! Yep.. I might be a little busy January through April! The kids are so curious about the jury process.. on one hand I would love to be selected since it will be a great experience to share with them. The downside is we would be home bound for Spring Break, and any other trips planned... and the markets start up again mid April! Oh well.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Advent Day 9 - Clean Up on Isle 5!!!

Results of Last Week's Storm


Side View of My Green House


Another view.....So, as most of you have heard, a good portion of Washington and Oregon have been declared National Disaster zones... A week ago we had a wallop of a storm here - winds, snow... the highways were closed due to accidents in our area - snow drifts... And, lots of flooding on the west side... We escaped damage, other than the above... It was the straw that broke the camels back!

So, looks like come March I'll be a buildin' a new structure! Or attempting to fix this one.. Oh Uncle John!!! Come on out!!! My Uncle John is the super duper man of all men when it comes to home repairs and yard stuff... Love him...

Advent Day 8 - Goodness From Ginny's Small Studio

Check out This Cool Box! The Label reads ' Good Goods from Small Studio Productions.com'
Let's take a peek, shall we?



Woah! Vintage Quilt hearts? Cool Stamping Badges?

As a former girl scout, I am so 'digging' the badges! One reads 'Cutting Edge Society'
another reads 'International Order of the Bone Folder' and the third is 'The Royal Union
of Attachments'!!! Gonna have to make a sash to wear these babies on - especially for the
next weekend of challenges at the 2peas stamping board! Winterfest!!!


Here is a close up of some of the other goods:

Cool ribbon, mini ATC easels, antique clothes pin and cute little man buttons! Hmm.. what do do with those cute buttons....


Here's more! Vintage Post cards and goodness

Also in the box is the 1000 Journals Project book, 4 curio ladies , and a super heavy
duty board book and box!


And, for the grand finale, Beautiful Ribbons!!!!

Sigh.. What a great box of fun goodies! All of these gems are available at Ginny's studio.. You can visit her blog for wonderful inspiration, or go directly to her studio at smallstudioproductions.com.

Thank you Ginny!!!!!!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Advent - Day 6 & 7 - More Sweet Things


Day 6 - Last night we started watching the movie The Princess Bride. Such a cute little family fun movie! We are saving the rest for tonight, our stay up late night (TGIF!). Our little guy Jake was skeptical of a princess movie, very similar to the little boy who is sick in bed listening to his Grandfather 'read' him the story ! Naturally, Mr. Doubting Jake got absorbed into the flick - thanks to some good sword fighting...

Weather Report: This morning we woke to more snow! Two inches. The bad news is Jake went to school in sneakers. His snow boots managed to find doggy droppings and he 'forgot' to clean them. Not only that, for some reason, he can't find his NEW HAT that we bought last Saturday! Arg. Not sure if he has gloves. I'm sure his teacher is going to want to give me one of those 'mommy of the year' awards!

Today is Day 7 of Advent and I would like to share with you some sweet things! All of my family members live in other states, as well as my husband's family, so things are gonna have to hit the postal system next week, or shortly thereafter, which means, this weekend is going to be the baking weekend! My all time favorite resource for my cookies is the Gooseberry Patch Old Fashioned Country Cookies book! I've discovered all sorts of fun things in this little book. I have discovered another super duper awesome resource, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I'm linking you up to the Pioneer Woman's blog page that is featuring a great cookie recipe - I hope to try tomorrow. BTW, the Pioneer Woman is a hoot. Check her out anyway. She has a great sense of humor.

Have a great day! Here is one of my fave Christmas recipes...

MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

Whole Milk

IBARRA Authentic Mexican Chocolate

On the stove top, heat milk. Add 2 wedges of the Mexican chocolate per cup of milk. Use a wooden spoon to break up the chocolate as it melts. Heat to desired temperature!

To speed up the process break up the wedges in a blender prior to putting in milk.



Thursday, December 6, 2007

Advent - Day 5 It's The Little Things!

Jake made this cutie pie in Cub Scouts...

Isn't this awesome? My little guy made this!


Our Christmas Tree
As requested! I still need to add the fragile bulbs - gold and red... A mommy job. It's funny, I didn't notice the big 'gaping hole' in our tree down at the left until I took photos! A good spot to put the bigger boxes..

A peek at My Tree Skirt, below

Nice skirt, eh? Dick & I have stockings to match - one has a bear, the other a moose...

Good morning everyone! My son came home from cub scouts yesterday with the cutest little snowman he made... So Advent Day 5 is about being happy for the little things in life....every time I look at this little snowman I get a smile on my face!

I'll post Advent Day 6 later... I gotta run! ... It's Thursday, the day I help out in the kid's classroom (small rural school, grades are paired together - so 3rd & 4th in one classroom with a total of 20 kids in the class) .

Have a wonderful day.


And the Blog Candy Winner is...

Calling all Blog Candy posters!!! We have picked a winner!!!

Using a highly scientific system (kids, pick a number between 1 & 15) the third person comment is our winner!!!!

Canden - come on down!!!! Woo Hoo! Please email me your address...
Here is her original post:

YEAH! You are VERY generous to give away that beautiful box!

Let's see....Christmas memory.....The ONE year in ALL my 31 years that we had snow on Christmas! It was after my parents had divorced. We were at my father's house and he borrowed my uncle's diesel duelly to take us to my mother. When we got to her house, the snow drifts were over 5.5' (YES FEET) tall! You couldn't see my mother anywhere! LOL She's about 5' and VERY petite! We spent most of the day using the duelly to pull people out of ditches!

Canden - I loved reading your post as well!! You are a girl after my own heart - tons of snow, diesel trucks, a short mom (mine if 4' 11"), and the ability to take a 'bad' situation and look at the good!!!

Thank you everyone that posted... And, I will have more blog candy soon! Looks like I am approaching my 100th post, and have passed the '3000' views threshhold!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Advent - Day 4 - Reminders & Call for Angels

REMINDER
**** Heads up everyone! Last chance to get in on the RAK giveaway I posted a week ago! Go to the post on Nov. 27th regarding Blog Candy!!! Tomorrow I will pick one lucky winner!!! You must comment on the original post! ****

Today was one of those super woman days.. You know, when you wake up early, get tons of stuff done, and want to drop at the end of the day and end up biting everyone's heads off (that you love dearly)? My poor little family...
  1. One of my accomplishments involved a 'discovery'. I found a 'leak' in my car. Kid related leak. You know those pockets on the back of the front seats that the little people use for toys?? Well, my little guy thinks it's a pretty cool soda holder... not a canned soda... A ast food type of container... The bummer is the soda has been there for a few days, and leaking through the paper seam and into the pocket! So, cleaned that baby out...and uh, my son as well....
  2. It was warm today! ACK! Our snow is melting!!!!! (said to tune of the the wicked witch of the west, melting on OZ).... So, I washed a couple windows... It was 40 degrees after all! Balmy! Also picked up stuff hidden under snow...
  3. I did decorate out my the mailbox... That was the extend of today's festive festivities...
  4. Lots of ranch work... getting ready for December deliveries, new sausage orders, and mailing out our Christmas Card (just ordered it yesterday - thank-you snapfish pals)!
  5. Lots of errands... a meeting.. groceries... and some shopping..

So, last night was such a fun night! We had breakfast for dinner... Lamb sausage, eggs and fried potatoes... YUM! THEN we ate while watching a super duper cool move 'Transformers'. That was a great night!!!!

****** Now, for Advent Day 4...... A call For Angels....... *****************
I want each and everyone of you to visit Courtney's Blog.


Courtney has posted a Give-A-Way, for a very special cause... This is a special season, correct? Where we love to give more than we receive and try to spread some love... Right?
Well, there is a young mother, Gina, who has 3 young boys, and she is sick... Cancer sick... She is getting chemo. She needs some encouragement... Apparently, she is having a hard time balancing being a wife, mom, and being super sick - all during the holidays!!!! Think of how hard it is a mom to have the flu and juggle everything! Please visit Courtney to see how you can help.

And, say a prayer for Gina, her boys, and her husband. I am sure each is carrying a burden we don't quite understand.... yet we can brighten their day!

Peace be with all of you.....

Monday, December 3, 2007

Advent - Day 3. Curse the Weather! Thank God for Elves!

Our Handmade Star
Dick & I made this star during our dating years... It's a keepsake!


A Heart Ornament - Made from my Grandpa's Quilt (he made the quilt)
My Cousin guy made these heart ornaments for everyone after my
Grandfather Leonard left this world.

Some Ornaments! Do you see the Coyotes Singing? Or the Sheep?
Don't you love ornaments with a story? Opening up the ornament box is like opening
up a 3-D Journal, or treasure box. So many memories...


Last night 'we' put up the tree... Charlie Brown would be so proud! This is always a mommy & kids job. After getting the tree off the Ford Explorer, sawing off the end of the tree, and hauling into the house and setting it up, I decided it was time to just supervise (as in catch my breath!). Sami is the best little elf! She put the lights on mostly by herself and she supervised the 'who gets what ornaments' assignments. I love looking at all our ornaments. So many memories come back. For the most part, each ornament has a story.
  1. The baby year ornaments - ones that were given from my Sister Avis - beautiful pewter ones.
  2. Ornaments that the kids make each year in school.
  3. Ones I have made as part of my various years of crafting.
  4. The ones received as gifts - cute ranch related ones, or airplanes (Dick used to fly).
  5. The quilted heart my cousin Guy made from my Grandfather Leonard's chair quilt.
  6. And the Hallmark ones I have buying for our children that showcase their various interests each year (Barbie, Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh, Spider man, etc.)
Dick put our little handmade star on the top. That's his job. The star is one we made during our dating years, and it remains to be our tree topper. It has aluminum foil over a cardboard star we cut out.

The tree is a little crooked.. so after it gets an adjustment, I'll take a photo. The kids also decorated their little trees, which are in their rooms. We had our Mexican Hot Cocoa and snacks.. Did I mention the peppermint Ice Cream? It's a holiday limited edition and ever so tasty!

Weather Report: Day 3
The wind blew all day yesterday and all night, and it is still blowing! I could not drive the kids down the driveway this morning it was so drifted in. So, instead we got bundled up and 'hiked' down to the road. The bus backed into a huge drift, and had to spin some rubber to get out...

It wouldn't be so bad if the snow was just snow... It's easier to move and shovel when it's nice and light. But the temperature (which has been in the mid 20's for days) is now climbing... We are at 35 degrees.. so snow is melting, the wind is carrying wet ice that slaps you in the face, and moving slosh is not fun... it weighs a million or so pounds. This morning was the first I didn't have to break ice for the critters!

All that aside, a big elf has come to our rescue! My husband just got done plowing with the tractor. This means the afternoon bus can drive in - or I can get the kids, or Mr. Brown can deliver packages, and the kids have a new hill to sled on!

fa la la la la!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Advent - Day 2 - Stay Cozy & Warm & Sneak Peaks!

Look Who is Staying Cozy & Warm with Hot Cocoa..

A perfect Sunday... the kids and I are still in our jammies.. and it's almost 4pm!



Sneak Peak #1 - CD Calendar January & February 2008

So, this year I decided to make a different sized calendar for my Christmas gifts
for family members. I need some input - do you prefer a wall calendar or desk
top calendar? Mr. Sexton is not 'digging' this size... something about his eyes and small photos.
The stamps used on January & February are from Purple Onion Designs.. the snowflake stamp is part of a new RAK directly from Purple Onion Designs!!!!

Sneak #2: CD Calendar
Here are all the pages, but since I do have my little sister checking out my blog,
it's just a sneak! Paula, let me know what size you prefer... Desktop or Wall?

So, the idea of a CD calendar is to put all the pages, into a CD case, then you flip the case top around, so it holds a page 'up' on your desk. Great concept, but, uh, my pages are longer than the case and I can't package them in the case!!! DRAT!!! I am playing with the idea of binding them instead... decisions, decisions...

NEWS FLASH - WEATHER STORM REPORT:

Huge storm going on outside!!!

I'm looking out the big windows and I cant see past the wheel-line - which right on the other side of the yard's south fence (good thing it is staked down)... My view white, blowing trees, blowing snow, and the making of drifts.... It's been like this all day... which means tomorrow morning's drive down the driveway will be 'interesting'.. Usually, I have to go fast through the drifts so I don't get stuck...even though I have 4 wheel-drive.. When the county plows the highway they leave a huge berm at the end of the drive, and I have to go through that, land on the road, and hope no one is coming... Oh Joy!


At 5pm we are 'scheduled' to put up the tree and decorate it! The tree is still on top of my car, but it's nice and safe in the garage.. Good thing I didn't put it outside! It would have been buried by now, or blown into the next County.

I'm going to make a crock pot full of Mexican Hot Cocoa for our decorating party, and perhaps some tasty snacks.. I've got some of that ever so tasty spinach dip and some sour dough garlic bread. Yum! Just need some celery and carrot sticks, lamb salami, a tasty big girl drink and dinner is served!

Have a great evening! If we get done, I'll take a photo of the tree...

Be sure to leave a comment and help me with my calendar dilemma! Again, do you prefer a desktop calendar or wall calendar???

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advent - Day 1 - Get the Tree

Day 1 of Advent - Go to Town, take in the festivities, get tree, panic and run home!

Every year a Festival Trees event is put on in Baker City, a benefit for our local hospital, all of which are 30 minutes from our home. Saturday is the public viewing of the trees for those of us living at the lower end of the food chain that can not afford the $75/head dinner tickets. The kids and I have never been to the tree viewing, or the other related activities, so we thought this year we would be festive and give it a try...End result? Ba Humbug. I'm with Shrek when it comes to crowds. Just give me my little family, our cozy home, and call it good. I do love people, don't get be wrong. I'm just not into all that frenzy that comes with crowds.

Anyway, after we escaped the Holiday fluff, our fun really began. I bought Sami & Jake new winter hats (seen below), new kid calendars for 2008; and we went out for Chinese Food where the kids tackled chop sticks, noodles and fortune cookies! Then, for the big finale, we went and got our tree! That was our celebration in a nutshell. We baled on the downtown parade and community tree lighting. Perhaps next year. I have to take these things in small doses. I'm sure it's related to some sort of anxiety.. deep breaths..

So! Once we got home, the snow started falling! Big, fat, beautiful, slow falling flakes. You know, I love our open spaces right here at home. Looking out the windows and seeing the fields and animals is just all I need for a festive atmosphere. I also have a candle lit, and Christmas music playing. This is the life..


I also visiting some of my favorite blog's. It's fun seeing what everyone is doing for this season of joy. Looks like a lot my faves are trying to make it special - not just crafty, or decorated, or over the top. I appreciate all the tutorials that are going up, as well as 'special things to do' lists. Truly fun. One idea is to have a camp out by your Christmas Tree. I love this idea!!

I saw that Dawn also got her tree today and her family got to play with some baby pigs! Dawn is doing a daily post until Christmas. What a great idea!

Have a great weekend! Peace be with you during this holiday season. We have three weeks until the biggest birthday celebration on earth - lets enjoy each day. Try to carve out a bit of magic for yourself and for those you love dearly. Each day spread some love. And, be Nice.