Friday, December 31, 2010

Family Time Friday- Booking it in 2011


Happy New Years~!!!!  Here's to a great 2011!! 

I think I have a problem.  I'm addicted to blogs.  There.  I've admitted it.  :)  I've not done real good with reading books.  Better over the years for sure, and I have practically my own library, because I really like to buy books LOL  ;)  Well, I have found something that I think will help and thought I'd share it with you, in case you have the same problem I do.

I have a friend who she and her kids read every day from like 1-2 or something like that.  She said she had so many books that she wanted to read and never got to them, so they set a time and they do it every day.  I'm not sure how feasible this is for me right now with the babies and all, but I do think it's a great idea!

I never liked reading as a child.  I didn't like to slow down long enough to find the adventure in the book.  As I've gotten older I've begun to crave the slow down :)  But, both of my older boys LOVE to read, and I want to continue to encourage that, so I think I'm going to have them make their own reading list for 2011 as well.  Maybe I'll share it with you to help you if you'd like some things for your kids to read.  I'll try to remember LOL.

Anyway, one of the blogs I read did a program last year (I didn't get in on it, because I just started reading this blog), and she's doing it again this year.  She's calling it Booking it in 2011.  She's choosing 11 books to read in 2011.  I think I'm going to give it a go! I think the accountability of a schedule will get me reading :)

With a hat that size, you will have no trouble

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday- New Year's Resolutions!

Wow...  Time has just flown by!  I think I said that Tuesday too, didn't I?  ;)  As I prepare to write this year's resolutions I am reflecting much on the speed of time and that will have a lot to do with my resolutions this year.  I feel like time is moving so fast, and sometimes feel like a stranger on the side of the road as the car of life goes whizzing past.  My children are growing up so fast.  I'm got only a limited amount of time left with them before they become adults and have their own business to contend with.  I want to make the most of the time I have.  I want to live with no regrets.  My husband and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage this year.  I want to celebrate the time we've spent together.  I don't want to rush it.  Time, like life, is temporary.  We should use it wisely.

With that:

  • Create an Emergency Fund and maintain it
  • Develop a cushion in my checking account to avoid charges
  • Pay off one creditor (credit card, car, Auston's braces)
  • Accumulate no additional debt in 2011
  • Menu Plan to reduce grocery costs

  • Teach Auston to drive Oh My Gosh!  Did I just SAY that???????
  • Potty Train the chick, begin potty training the Goat  Is there really life with no diapers?
  • Find the boys' passions and help them to build on them
  • More grace for my children, less yelling, more teaching
  • Hug my children more
  • Play more games with my children
  • Have a sleepover with my kids
  • Encourage my children to do something extraordinary, and to see the extraordinary in themselves
  • Try to see the world in the wonder that my kids see it
  • Finalize both adoptions

  • Re-Institute date night
  • Do myself up for my husband
  • Have a servant's heart towards my husband
  • Make sure he has clean socks (It's a problem lately LOL)
  • Spend some time away from the house for our Anniversary
  • Renew our vows at church
  • Believe the best about my husband always
  • Tell my husband how much I appreciate him and admire him often

Friends and Family:
  • Do something special anonymously for a friend at least twice this year
  • Plan another homeschool mom's retreat
  • Say no to more activities, and make the ones I say yes to count
  • Send out birthday cards and other occasion cards

Health and Fitness:
  • Lose weight consistently.  Don't let myself sabotage myself.  Get on a plan and stick to it.  
  • Exercise at least 3-5 times a week by the end of the year
  • Make more balanced meals for the family- more fruits and vegetables!
  • Prioritize myself
Home Management:
  • Make my Home Like Heaven in 2011!!!
  • Plant Flowers
  • Plant a Vegetable Garden
  • Replace Facia Boards
  • Replace carpets with Tile Floors
  • Replace furniture
  • Replace tires on Van
  • Stain the Deck
  • Pray more
  • Pray specifically.  Pray for my children more.  Pray for my husband.  Pray for my finances.  Pray for myself.
  • Enrich the DOK Ministry with different topics on prayer and worship
  • Complete my lessons for CBS consistently
  • Share my faith more- don't be afraid to talk about it
  • Revel in awe at God's work
  • Trust God- with my children, with my marriage, when it doesn't seem like He's there especially
Well, I pray that your 2011 holds many exciting experiences.

Don't forget!  Next week we begin the series "Making Our Homes Like Heaven in 2011".  I'm really excited about this!  Can't wait to share it with you!

Create your own banner at!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

GratiTuesday- 2010 a Recap

Wow... 2010... What a year! Full of ups and downs....  As the year draws to a close it's time for a recap, like I did in 2009 and 2008. It was so much fun to read over those again! So, now on to 2010!!!

January was spent mostly adjusting to having a newborn who was very twitchy about how and when he would sleep, mostly not at all, or only on mommy or daddy.  So, we took turns sleeping and  holding the baby.  We continued to chase the chick around, and she turned ONE!!!  We had a "Yo Gabba Gabba" Birthday party for her and I made the coolest cake.  Unfortunately I can't show you because it had her picture on it.  :(  We participated in our last Pinewood Derby with the pack and Gregory decided to race an old car instead of making a new one.

 Our last pack meeting as Cub Scouts :)


Andrew, David, Triston, Hunter, Grego, and Semalee at the Arrow of Light, February 6, 2010

In February Gregory had his Arrow of Light :)  He was also a Super Scouter and we are so proud of him!  We were also excited to have both boys in the Troop and only one scout entity to keep up with LOL  ;)  Also in February, one of our favorite artists, Toby Mac came in for a "Street and Greet" and the kids and I got to meet him.  It was so exciting to see my kids look up so much to such a man of God.  Michael and I also got to go on a get away weekend without any kids and my very very good friend Gwenn watched all FOUR kids for me!  It was a much needed blessing, and Michael and I were just so excited to get to SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT :)

In March Gregory went on his first Boy Scout Camping Trip and first backpacking trip too!  Oh- and his first campout without a parent!!!  Lots of firsts for that boy!  Auston was there, making sure he got adjusted into the troop :)  They went to Enchanted Rock, and called me from the top of the rock telling me they were "high" LOL...  Funny, funny boys.  We didn't really do anything for Spring Break this year because we were still adjusting to our new life, and were planning two big trips for the summer. 
And Auston got braces!!!!  I can't for the life of me find the pictures.... GRRR

In April we spent Easter in Conroe, and it was the first time Michael's mom got to meet "The Goat".  The Chick really enjoyed hunting Easter Eggs, and I couldn't believe how quickly this little 15 month old picked up what she was supposed to do!  She went right to task gathering her eggs, and then when we were done went right to task eating her candy!  She's sooooooo smart....  I'm afraid...  very afraid....  LOL  :)
In May Grego turned 11...  And Oh MY...  He's quite the Tweenager :)  We also finished up school at the Encourager and it was very bitter sweet because I had made the decision not to return in the fall as a teacher.  I really miss teaching and my students, but it is the best decision for us right now... I honestly don't know how I'd fit in working in addition to everything we're doing right now....  We also went on our first camp out with the babies- to Garner State Park with the Boy Scout Troop.  Can I just say how much I LOVE this park?  They have a dance every night during the summer and the boys have SO MUCH FUN...  We're headed there again in 2011 and I'm really looking forward to it :)
In June I went to Summer Camp with the boys.  This year we went to Bear Creek Scout Reservation, out near Kerrville, Texas.  The camp was beautiful, but not organized and SO MUCH HIKING...  One of our other leaders figured out that we hiked almost 5 miles a day just to and from activities in very steep terrain.  It was hard to enjoy ourselves because of the hiking and it was SO hot.  Oh, and at night the wind would blow so hard that the platform tents would rock......  I have no desire to return to that camp.  :)
Our Bathroom Buddy....

See, I told you it was beautiful :)

Gregory leading his pack of "Rangers"

Look at that HAIR.....

Auston and his stick bug :)

Auston, Kelton, and Grant in chow line :)

The Three Stooges- Andrew, Gregory, and Hunter

Our humble campsite LOL...

In July we went to Colorado to visit the Cook side of the family.  It was truly the best time.  My Dad got to spend the whole week with all 6 of his grandkids and the cousins got to know each other.  Om and I got to watch our kids play together and with our Dad.  It was really really wonderful. 
This picture is taken in the elevator of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado.  It is the hotel where Stephen King got his inspiration to write the Shining.  It is supposed to be haunted.

We all got our Hippie on LOL
Here I am with Oma and Opa :)
Om and Tay
The boys on top of the rock they "conquered"...  This was before Zim realized he was too scared to get down LOL
El, Om, Me and Leif :)
August was mostly spend preparing for the upcoming school year, getting last minute stuff and all of the meetings etc that go along with that.  We were also preparing to go out of town again, so we were laying pretty low :)

September was quite the month for us!  School started and the business of life started.  It's our 5th year of homeschooling and Auston is doing mostly 9th grade work this year.  He and I have been surprised by the amount of it.  Gregory is finishing up Encourager and the big man on campus- 6th grade.  Mikey turned 39.........  Duh Duh Doom LOL  ;) We also participated in a St. Baldrick's event where we raised money for Childhood Cancer, by agreeing to shave our heads.  I learned a lot about my own vanity through this LOL  ;)  But, our event raised like $15,000!!!  So it was worth it for sure :)

The day after "The Big Shave" we left town for our second vacation for the year. 

We spent the end of September and the beginning of October driving across the country in the RV that Michael's Dad bought.  It guzzled the gas like we couldn't believe, but it was a LOT more comfortable and much more convenient to travel in.  We drove something like 4,000 miles in just over 2 weeks!!!  We drove first to Midland and stayed the night with the Joneses.  Then we drove into Tuscon and visited with my mom's best friend from childhood, Tevis.  Then we drove into Williams, AZ and stayed at the Grand Canyon Railroad.  We road the train into the Grand Canyon one day (something I've ALWAYS wanted to do) and drove into the canyon the next.  I've wanted to take my family to the Grand Canyon for YEARS, so it was neat to finally be able to do that :)  Then we drove to the Glen Canyon Dam in Utah and went down into the Dam, drove into Zion National Park and stayed at an RV park just outside.  Next we drove to Salt Lake City where much fun was had putting the Carter 6 pack with the Bilbrey 6 pack to make a 12 pack :)  I think staying with the Carters was our favorite part of the trip :)  While in Salt Lake we went to lunch at my Aunt Louise's and my mom and Bug and her kids and Aunt Tootsi were there.  It was surprisingly pleasant.  When we left Salt Lake we drove to Holbrook, AZ where we visited the Petrified Forest.  Finally, we made our trek home, staying a few nights in Midland and then coming back into town.  Are you tired yet?  And we did this all with the 2 babies in tow!  ;)

On top of ALL that, Auston turned 14, but we didn't have his party until after Thanksgiving!  Life is WAY too busy around here, something I plan to work on for 2011....

November marked my 36th birthday sheesh..  And our 6th Annual Bilbrey Family Picnic.  We celebrated the Goat's First Birthday in conjuction with the picnic because it would be mostly the same people anyway :)  Once the adoptions are final I may move the family picnic to the month that happens...  We'll see...  We had Thanksgiving at our house as usual, and played Bingo again for the second year in a row.  I really like that :)  We finally had Auston's birthday party too!  LOL.  He went to the Rock Gym with some friends :)

December came up on us at warp speed and before we blinked it was over.  It was a sad month for us.  Our friend and pastor, Reverend Janet Gilmore lost her battle with cancer.  We know that she got the ultimate gift- to spend Christmas in heaven, but this world got a little darker to us on December 18th.  We miss her tremendously.  She was an amazing friend, mother, pastor, woman.  After attending her funeral the Tuesday before Christmas, suddenly life seemed so much more temporary.  It made Christmas with all FOUR children that much sweeter.

"The light of Christ will shine through and through.  May the Blessings of God Almighty be felt by all who witness this miracle of faith."

All in all a busy, but good year.  I have a lot to think about for 2011, a lot of things we did right this year, and a lot of things we need to change.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Menu Monday- 12/27

The Christmas packages have been opened and paper in the trash... Now it's time to get back to real life, right???? ;)

Monday:  Dinner from 5 Guys :)

Tuesday:  Taco Soup, Molten Lava Cake

Wednesday:  Chicken and sliced potatoes

Thursday:  Sloppy Joes, Fries, Green Beans

Friday: (New Year's Eve)  Chocolate Fountain with Fruit, Sandwiches, chips, dip, holiday punch

Saturday:  Black Eyed Peas, Collard Greens, Corn Bread

Sunday:  Snack Dinner

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Supper Sunday- Tater Tot Casserole

This is one of my all-time favorites... I honestly don't know how in the world it has taken me soooo long to post this!  Ah well...  Here it is...  Hope you enjoy it too :)

Tater Tot Casserole

1 pound Ground Beef
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup Milk
Tater Tots
2 cups Colby Jack Cheese, Shredded
Celery Salt, Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 450.  Brown ground beef with spices.  While beef is cooking, in a medium bowl, combine soup and milk until smooth.  When beef is browned, add soup mixture to beef and mix well.  Transfer Beef mixture to 11x7 pan and spread out.  Top with tater tots and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until tater tots are crisp.  Top casserole with cheese and bake for 6-8 minutes longer until cheese is thoroughly melted.

Now, for my family of 6 this recipe just barely feeds us, so if you have more than 4 people in your family I would recommend doubling it :)

(WW members: If you split it into 12 servings it is approximately 7 points + per serving, 6 servings yields 14 points+)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Singing Saturday- Breath of Heaven

I hope you haven't already begun dismantling the tree and started moving on to the next holiday.  Take a moment to reflect on what today is really about...  I love love love this You Tube Video, I hope it blesses you too...

Breath of Heaven- Amy Grant

I have traveled
Many moonless night
Cold and Weary
With a babe inside
And I wonder
What I've done
Holy Father
You have come
Chosen me now
To carry your son

I am waiting
in a silent prayer
I am frightened
by the load i bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone
Be with me now
Be with me now

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me, your holiness
For your holy Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one, should of had my place
But I offer-all I am
For the mercy-of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me


Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Time Friday- Yule Log


First things first!---  Merry Christmas Eve!!!  I hope you have everything ready and you're able to just enjoy the holiday :)  I'm sharing with you an idea for next week, in case you want to do something different this year for New Year's....  ;)

Back in December of 2008 we started a new tradition for our New Year's Eve festivities. And, it continues to be a tradition that I cherish and we'll definitely do it again this year. We set up the chocolate fountain. created "Yule Logs" with our wishes for the coming year.... Ok, we set up the fountain too LOL  ;)  But, let me tell you about these logs!!

First, we took some strips of leftover wrapping paper and wrote all of our wishes for the coming year on them.  Then we crammed them into toilet paper rolls.  We wrote our name on our "log" and sealed the ends closed with candle wax.

 Then we put the logs all into the fireplace.  Here's Grego putting his log in...  Wow, he's grown up a lot in 2 years!!!

 Then we lit the fire and let our logs burn!  I was hoping the different wrapping papers would make colorful flames, but that didn't happen.  Oh well, still cool and a fun way to ring in the New Year!

I Know you wanted to see the Chocolate Fountain- here's my dad ringing in the New Year :)