Florida Family 2013

  We love when our Florida family comes to visit!  My brother Chad, Sis in law, Lauren & my nephews, Brayden & Colby came to visit for almost a week.  They have changed SO much since last time, when they were itty bitty crawling babies!!!!!!!!!

  We had so much fun with them, it’s always that much harder to say good-bye though. Wish we could convince them to move to the Mid-west already!  🙂

  Anyhow, here are the photos from their visit.

Due to lack of space at my house, Chad & Lauren moved into mom’s side of the duplex.  She moved over to Grandma’s side.  God is so good to have worked out my mom and Grandmas “neighbor” status. He knew they needed each other close by!

We hung at Mom’s some nights, but were over here at our house most of the time. 

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  Mom and Great Grandma were brave and kept all 6 kids between the duplex sides OVER NIGHT, so we could have a date night with Chad & Lauren!  HOW AWESOME!

  It’s State Fair time, so we went and walked around and ate yummy food.  I didn’t take my camera because I wanted to hold hands with my man, but we got this shot before we left.  My favorite part of the night was watching Lauren peel herself off the floor of our “boat” during the ride Ye Old Mill.  Lest you think I wasn’t fazed by this ride, I will tell you my throat was sore from all the screaming I did. 

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Saturday morning I was privileged to be asked to do a food demonstration at an awesome kitchen store downtown, Apron Strings.  They asked for me to make a seasonal food, so right away I said BBQ Chicken Pie. It always reminds me of Back to School!

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Mom and Lauren were GREAT helpers and I wouldn’t have gotten my prep done in time without them. Next time, I will go earlier until I know my way around that kitchen a little better.

  And yes, there will be a next time! They asked me to come back in January.  I am thinking Settlers Beans and Cornbread, what do you think?

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The rest of the time we just hung out.  Honestly, with 6 kids in the house, and 4 extra adults with mom and Grandma coming over for supper, it was a loud, full house and there was always something going on.  I LOVE that part!  There is nothing better than being elbow to elbow with your loved ones talking loudly over each other.  blog 1

We also made sure we had the extended family over for Sunday Night Snack Supper.  Food, fellowship and some outside duck & chicken feeding fun. 

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You break it, you buy it BUDDY!

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The 2nd Cousins

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Monday was no school, so we headed to the Fair with the whole crew!

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With 3 strollers, 6 kids, 5 adults and an Electric Scooter, we soon had to divide up, but it was still a great day. 100* hot, but great!

  Because it was dollar day, we were able to do a lot of the rides.  Pax pretty much hated all of them!  Here he is on the Carousel, it was all fun and games until his hat flew off, then he sobbed and sobbed. I think he thought HE was flying off next.  It broke my heart, and I almost jumped the fence to rescue him, mid-ride, but he did fine inspite of the sobs.

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  The big kids thought Chad & Lauren were the COOLEST Uncle & Aunt EVER after they did the White Water Ride with them.

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  Destiny met up with one of her friends from school and got to go with her and her mom the rest of the afternoon.  I knew they would take good care of her, and she’d be able to do more big kid rides, but I missed her too!  Just another step in the process of her growing up and away from me.  Pax hated these rides too, every turn he would hollar, “I DON’T WIKE DIS WIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  All except the truck.  That one was the most slow, boring one ever, but he loved it! Is my adventuresome one finally taming?!?!?!?!

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  One day Aunt Gena brought over a 32 pound Watermelon she grew in her garden.  We had it for after school snack, and would you believe most of it was gone in 20 minutes?! It was goooood!

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    I almost cried when I packed back up the baby toys and put away the cribs.  We miss the Bontrager Family already!  The good news is, we MIGHT get to see them again over Thanksgiving!!!!

  Tomorrow, I will share their family photo session that I took their last night here.  Busy, don’t hold me back, 1 year olds are always a challenge, but we did our best! 🙂


Bills, Bills & Blessings?

{SIGH}  I hate starting with a disclaimer, but apparently, I must!

  Last week I shared a post with you called With Cherries On Top.  It’s purpose?

To glorify God and give credit to Him as He provided in some AMAZING ways for us that week.   

  Apparently, someone read as far as the picture of the $4 bank account, and decided they needed to run call their friends to share the scandal of Tonya’s blog post with bank account picture. 

“Does she think she’s the only one whose bank account ever looks like that?”

“Is she trying to get people to feel sorry for her?”

“Who takes pictures of their bank account?”

No.  And NO.  And the picture thing? 

  I’m a blogger, we take photos of everything!  My shoes, my chickens, the sky, my garden, my kids feet…you name it, we blog it. It’s how we let people see into our worlds. 

  Would’ve you been any less shocked, had I just written the amount $4.89, rather than taking a picture of the number? Would it have made any difference to you? I seriously doubt it!  Funny, the thing that shocked you, made another reader cry.  It was a visual that caught her heart and made her rejoice with me, not judge me.  There are times photos tell stories like words never could.  They are a powerful tool.

  To this person , I ask 2 things: 

1) Go back and read it. Really read it to the clear bottom.  Please?  I believe you will find that I shared with you each and every way God answered those needs, including the bank account.  I believe you will see my heart was to share with you God’s amazing provision above and beyond anything I could ask or imagine.  I believe you will see there was no pity party, no donation button at the end. 

2) Decide if its necessary that you keep coming here to read.  I’d love to have you come and enjoy yourself, giggle at something the kids did, print off a recipe that sounds good, or praise God with me over His provision, but here’s the deal, if you choose to circle my glass house and throw rocks, you will only hurt both of us in the process.  The shards of my shattered home WILL fly, and unfortunately, neither of us will be unscathed.

  Hurt people, hurt people.  I can only assume this all stems from some hurts in your own life.  I’m sorry if you are hurting. I am sorry if you are going through a tough time.  I am too.  Hardest time in my LIFE.  I haven’t even BEGUN to touch on the heartache and struggles we are currently going through, and I can’t talk about it yet, but let me walk with you. Let me encourage you.  And please, encourage me too. Isn’t that what Christ asks us to do?

{Stepping off soap box}

I keep reminding myself:

 “We find comfort among those who agree with us — growth among those who don’t!”

  Thank you for letting me vent, you’ll see why I felt like I needed to cover that topic here in a second. 

  Last week something awesome happened.  As is his custom, Dale gets the mail from the mailbox as he drives in from work.  The kids and I were hanging outside, awaiting his arrival and enjoying the beautiful weather.

 Oh, and playing with our new “pet”, Fuzzy Wuzzy.  Poor kids, they miss our kitty, Saprina SO bad, but Fuzzy Wuzzy will do for now as they pray for Saprina’s safe return to her home.


   Daddy drives in and pulls into the garage.  I love Paxton’s newest “thing”:

  When he spots his daddy, he begins to wave his arm frantically, like “Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!”,  toddling as fast as those little fat legs can carry him.  He waves from wherever he is in the yard, all the way up to his Daddy.  That arm never stopping, not once, until he has reached his goal. “Hi, Daddy!”

Just precious!


Anyhow, Dale comes out of the garage and says, “Uh babe. You might want to come here.”  Mixed in with a stack of bills is a card:


  A card full of beautiful, encouraging, uplifting words, signed by a Sister In Christ. 

Also in this card? 

State Fair Tickets and cash.



Dale’s mouth was slack, his eyes wide.  He just stood there, card in one hand, cash and tickets in another.   Amidst tears and grins, our children caught on to what was happening.  It was like Christmas! Jumping up and down squealing with joy!!!

And what blessed me most:

  Destiny kept saying: “Oh praise the Lord! He totally knew I was wishing I could go to the fair this year…..” 

  Of course, the little kids have to do whatever big sis does, so soon the chorus rang, “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” Or, if you are Avery, “Pwaise da Waurd, Pwaise da Waurd” with a jump in the air: “YIPEEE!” thrown in for good measure.

   Off to the fair we went, and we had so much fun! 


  More fun than usual I think, when every second you are there, you are thanking God for His provision.


When every fun snack you taste and ride you ride, remind you of your blessings. 


  When you feel led to take a moment under the lit up midway, to breath a prayer of thanksgiving and ask special favor and blessings on the generous giver, whoever they may be.


  Have I mentioned lately that I think God loves us with a Cherry on top? 

cherry-on-top    I love how He lavishes His love on us! It makes these rough patches we are going through so much more tolerable.  It helps me to remember that He hears my whispered prayers, that He feels my heart ache, that He cares enough to provide for my “wants” as well as my needs.  Praise His name!

  Thank you generous giver, for listening to the Lord’s prompting and providing a fun “Cherry on top” experience for our family. 

May you be richly blessed!

Hugs from Dale, Tonya & 4 extra happy little Fergusons 🙂

Fish, Fish & More Fish

I wanted the title to look like this:

<º))))><, <º))))>< & More <º))))><

Get it?!

{pats self on back}

Fish <º))))><,  Fish <º))))>< & More Fish <º))))><

But, WordPress wouldn’t let me do symbols for a title, Meanies!

I was pretty darn proud of myself for thinking of it.  In FACT, I may or may not be a Closet Genius.  Well that, or it’s 11:14 pm and I may or may not be a bit delirious with lack of sleep from an uber-busy wedding weekend!  (I was asked to plan, set up, coordinate and photograph a wedding for a friend from church & his bride from Thailand.)

  The wedding went great, thanks for asking. I was thankful for my 2 momma’s help: Mom and Mom in Law.  I couldn’t have done it without them! Oh and I was thankful for Dale coming with the kids, to help tear down while I did the after-wedding photo shoot.  Running around being photographer but still trying to run the show was hard work!  I have 700+ photos to edit, but hope to get them done, and share them with you this week sometime.  Thanks for your prayers!!!! 🙂  And A HUGE thank you to Lenatte, who swooped in with her stylish basket full of floral gear to redo some ugly flower arrangements after my panicked phone call.  BLESS YOU, friend!!!!!!!

Goin’ Fishin’:


  Tylan decided he needed to practice his cast during nap time the other day, so he could be ready when Daddy takes him fishing. 


He got pretty good, casting all the way to the front porch from our picnic table, er, I mean, his boat.  He is SO excited to show Daddy!


  Fisher of Men:


  I am so proud to be part of a church so involved in community outreach.  Did you know that our church offered free tickets to the State Fair to the community?!  All they asked in return, was that if you accepted a ticket, you’d attend a 10 am service at an arena within the Fair grounds.  Seriously!

  Our church building was empty on Sunday, because we all went to the State Fair to worship.



It was AMAZING!  Rainy, but amazing. To see people pouring in as the rains poured down, incredible!  To see Fair workers there with hands raised in worship, awesome!


  Mark 16:15 “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.’”



Oh, & praise the Lord, if they didn’t have some smokin’ HOT ushers there: 



{He’s taken!}

Here are some photos of the rest of the day:



There is a different Butter sculpture every year, this year was apparently a monkey riding a sheep.  We Kansans are easily amused.  🙂


Lunch was GOOOOOD!


  Check out this booth we found at the fair!!


Free, personalized, John 3:16 Horseshoes.  While you wait, they share the good news of Jesus Christ. They told us that 90 have come to know Jesus through this ministry at the 2011 Ks State Fair.

Praise the Lord!


  In going with the fish theme, it’s only right that I share a Salmon recipe with you today before I go……

It is decadent, rich and delicious!

Orange Cilantro Glazed Salmon



  • 4 whole Salmon Fillets
  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • 4-½ teaspoons Finely Chopped Red Onion
  • 4-½ teaspoons Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder (I Did Half As Much)
  • 1 teaspoon Honey Dijon Mustard
  • ½ cups Italian Salad Dressing
  • 4 teaspoons Minced Fresh Cilantro
  • Salt And Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Place orange juice in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, cooking until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup. Cool slightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together onion, cilantro, lime juice, seasonings and mustard.
Season fillets with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, cook filets for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Remove fillets to baking pan. Brush generously with orange mixture and bake at 400* for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Matthew 4:19 “”Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”


This post linked to:

Wonka Wednesday at Hugs & Cookies

This Chick Cooks

Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursday