Welcome....Here's a glimpse of our happenings!

The verses that have REALLY spoken to me (Sarah) lately....

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Acts 17:26-28

May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:32-33

God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It's up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 (The Message)

About the Friesen's....

We are Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate Friesen. We were married June 5, 2004. We have one son, born July 21, 2008, named Luke Andrew -- now 4 years old. We also have a daughter named Kate Christine -- born June 6, 2012. Marc is working at Cessna as a Senior Accountant, and Sarah stays home full-time with Luke. Sarah also gets to work very part-time at home for Graber Backhoe -- an excavation company AND VERY part-time at our church. We LOVE being a part of Grace Community Church here in Newton, KS. We lead a Community Life Group of other wonderful couples. Marc thoroughly enjoys long-distance running and Taekwondo. Sarah thoroughly enjoys walking -- especially when the weather is nice to take Luke and/or out in the stroller. Thanks for reading our blog!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Unusual Arizona Bean Dip....

A few weekends ago, I was here....

It's called Maple Memories. It's a craft house "retreat" type place.

Some of the girls who were there have already blogged about it. I haven't yet done so, and this post isn't going to be that post either.

But, in the meantime, I will share something from that weekend.

Each of us brought a snack to share. I chose to make my snack.

I'll share the recipe....It's actually from a cookbook that a Dairy Queen owner gave me a few years ago -- remember, I worked for 10 whopping years for International Dairy Queen. She thought I'd enjoy it, and I do appreciate the thoughtfulness.

It's called "Unusual Arizona Bean Dip."

Here goes....

2 (7 oz.) cans Mexicorn, drained
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 C. Italian creamy-style dressing
1/4 C. Ranch salad dressing
1/2 sm. onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 C. Sour Cream
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1 sm. avocado
1 tsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper

It sounds interesting, doesn't it?

Here are a few photos...

First, all of the ingredients....

Starting to get them all mixed together....

I scooped out the avocado last....It's so nice when the avocadoes are nice and ripe as it's much easier to scoop.

And, Voila -- the finished product....

It's really quite tasty with tortilla chips. Since New Year's Eve is coming up soon, give it a try. I promise it won't let you down!


And, for the usual dose of thankfulness, today it's #339 -- the distant cry of a train whistle.

For those of you who do not live in the same town as us, let me explain something to you.

The railroad is HUGE here in town. The school's mascot is named after the railroad. The railroad employees quite a few people here in town. It truly is a very efficient way of transporting goods that we need....etc., etc.

But, it sometimes can be an inconvenience. Trains in this town have taught us all patience as you cannot cross the town without crossing the tracks. I don't think I've ever met somebody in this town who isn't occasionally annoyed by the trains.

Probably a month ago or so, I made a Facebook status post about trains. I mentioned in this post that I USED to get annoyed a bit with trains.

But, Luke has taken a real liking to trains. He knows from several blocks away when we're approaching the tracks. He immediately looks to the side of this carseat to see if there is a train.

Now, when it's sooooo utterly cute to watch Luke and his trains, it seems as if we never see one.

I actually wish we'd see one more often.

So, there's my thankfulness -- I'm thankful for the distant cry of a train whistle. It gives me sooooo much joy to see Luke watch his trains and get excited when he knows one is coming.

Here's a photo of Luke...This was taken a little over a month ago (it mustn't have been real cold that day since he doesn't have a coat on). This photo was taken when we were actually stopped for at rain. He just watched it very intently from his carseat.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Navajo Soup....

Marc and I have a favorite soup in our household -- Navajo Soup.

This recipe is actually from our friend, Lisa. I most definitely want to give Lisa complete and total credit for this recipe, and I'm hoping that Lisa doesn't mind that I'm sharing this recipe with the world :)

I actually first made this soup back in October for Community Life Leaders' Luncheon at our church. Then, recently, I made it at a Christmas party at Allen and Debby's -- the Saturday before Christmas.

This Christmas party was with the Tuesday morning Young Moms/Wives Accountability Group/Bible Study....I neglected to take photos at this party. But, I know Debby and Jess did plenty of photographing :)

So, I'll quit blabbing and move on with the recipe. Here goes....

Navajo Soup

* 1 lb. hamburger, browned with onion and garlic salt -- drained (I also used pepper, of course)
* 1 can corn
* 1 can petite diced tomatoes
* 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
* 1 can white beans
* 1 jar Cheese Whiz (not the small one)

Mix all together in crock-pot, and let simmer several hours. Serve with Fritos on top.

That's all there is to is...so easy and oh so good!

You know -- I can't make a post without photos. So, here are a few....

The meat browning with onion, garlic salt, and pepper....

I actually had mixed this soup the night before in a big bowl. Then, I put it in the crock-pot the next day -- the day of the party. So, here are the ingredients in a big bowl....

I actually completely forgot to take a photo when I put the soup in the crock-pot. I only managed to get a photo of the soup almost gone -- it was well liked so much that this is what I ended up with....And yes, even though this soup is very good, it does leave a mess in the crock-pot. However, it's nothing that a good overnight soaking can't handle :)

And, almost all of this soup was eaten at the party -- I had even made a double-batch. But, there was just enough for Marc to have some leftovers the next day. So, here's his bowl -- with the Fritos on top.



And, for your daily dose of what I'm personally thankful for....

Today -- #632 -- getting a smile from a baby....

Now, I'm extremely biased to Luke's smile. I absolutely LOVE his smile. Lately, he's been VERY smiley here at home with us. In fact, we've been calling it his "perpetual smile."

But, here's another favorite photo of mine. This photo is the first smile photo of Luke that I have. I will treasure it forever. He was probably around 7 weeks old or so with this smile.

Luke's smile is most definitely something I'm thankful for....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Day After Christmas....

Well, the day after Christmas was relaxing, but we had a few things to accomplish...

We actually took a trip to Wal-Mart in the morning. We went there about 9:30. We were thinking it would be busy, but it was not busy at all. It was actually kind of nice.

Our purpose for being there -- we had a gift card of Luke's to redeem, and we needed a couple of other things.

This gift card of Luke's was a gift from the owners of Graber Backhoe -- the small excavation company I do some very parttime work for. We feel very touched that they provided Luke a gift for Christmas.

What did Luke get? Well, take a look at the "popper" -- you know, one of those classic toys that we all had and that probably many kids have today.

The toy has been a H.U.G.E. hit in this household. Luke has loved it!

If you look closely in these photos, you'll notice Luke has a Lionel Train t-shirt on.

That was one of those "unplanned" purchases....Marc saw them on sale for $3 during this trip. We thought they were cute. We knew we had $3 to spare in the family budget.

He wore it today (Sunday). He looked very cute in it -- at least in our opinion.

After the brief shopping trip, we hung out at home.

After Luke's nap in the afternoon, we had a birthday party that we were invited to attend. The party was for our neighbors -- Erwin & Gertrude Olson, or Dr. & Mrs. Olson as some know them.

Dr. & Mrs. Olson are a fantastic couple in our neighborhood. They're of "elderly" age, but they certainly don't act elderly. The birthday party was a double party celebrating their 90th birthdays. Yep -- I said 90th birthdays.

Dr. Olson's 90th birthday was back in November. Mrs. Olson's birthday is coming up in May, 2010.

Marc and I think they're 90 going on about 55 or so.

Seriously, they are the most "going strong" 90 year-olds I have ever seen in my life.

They've been married nearly 70 years (I'm not sure of the exact number), and they really do spend time together :) But, for some reason, I wasn't able to get a photo of them together.

First, here's a photo of Mrs. Olson -- with the red lipstick, looking up -- talking to a guest.

And, here's Dr. Olson -- in the suit and tie.

And, when I say going strong, here's what I mean --

**Dr. Olson still skies in Colorado each winter.
**They both still play golf.
**They still live in the same house they've probably lived in for 50 years or so -- a two-story house.
**This house has a indoor swimming pool that they still care for.
**They still swim laps more than once a week in this indoor swimming pool.
**Last year, they traveled up to Minnesota to watch their grandson graduate from college.
**When the ice storm hit our area five years ago, they were the first in the neighborhood to have their yard cleaned up.
**They both still do yard work.
**I still see Mrs. Olson hanging laundry on the closeline when it's nice outside.
**When we've had neighborhood gatherings, Dr. & Mrs. Olson are the prime entertainers.
**Mrs. Olson still plays the piano and violin.
**Dr. Olson sings in his church choir.

I could go on and on....They really are inspirational.

Some of you may know Dr. Olson as he is a retired pediatrician in this town. They've also been quite involved in the community throughout the years.

When the weather's been nicer, they've frequently talked with Luke and me as we've been out on our walks. They LOVE seeing Luke in the jogging stroller.

So, back to this party....

Their children and grandchildren threw this party for them. They had many photos to share in the hallways.

Here's a poster of many more photos that were shared....Sorry -- it turned out a bit blurry.

And, my personal favorite of photos -- their wedding photo. Again -- I'm not sure of the year. I'll have to ask them sometime.

When we first received the invitation, I didn't see anything on the invitation about kids being invited. So, when I e-mailed their daughter-in-law for our R.S.V.P., I asked about small children. She said, "Absolutely, bring him along."

So, we took Luke....He did fairly well. At first, he was typical Luke and was very shy. Then, he came alive and walked all over the place.

But, of course, he did receive some attention....

That was one party we were thankful for the opportunity to attend....

Happy Birthday Dr. & Mrs. Olson! You're fantastic neighbors! We can learn a lot from you guys!


And, for my "blog posting thankfulness," today, I picked # 556....Smooth Peanut Butter.

Don't laugh -- you know you all have your favorite peanut butter. We do too in this household.

I MUCH prefer creamy peanut butter. Marc prefers the crunchy kind. But, since he doesn't eat peanut butter that much, I merely stock creamy peanut butter in our pantry.

And no, from this photo, you can tell "generic" doesn't bother me.

I am thankful for the creation of peanut butter!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our Christmas Day....

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

Yesterday was Christmas Day -- the day we celebrated Christ's glorious birth!

If you haven't yet had a chance, please read Amanda's blog....Amanda describes Christ's birth in a wonderful way! Thanks Amanda!

Before I tell about our Christmas Day, I want to jump back very briefly to the night before....Marc did something that many parents do -- he put together toys for the next morning. So, here are a couple of photos of Marc, preparing Luke's new truck as well as his farmset.

In all seriousness, I think he was "playing" with the truck more than anything :)


Christmas morning, I was actually the first one up which is NOT normal. Marc generally is the first one up. But, I didn't mind. It was a wonderful morning to look outside -- a WHITE CHRISTMAS. Here in Kansas, a white Christmas is not all that common. In fact, one of the local weathermen said last week that in this part of the state, we've only had 13 white Christmas days since the 1880s. Now, because of this Christmas, we've had 14!

So, here's the view of our yard and cul-de-sac from our front door -- hope you don't mind seeing our neighbors' house. It was COLD! I wasn't about to go outside in my pajamas just to snap a photo of our house.

Before Marc and Luke got out of bed, I prepared breakfast -- egg casserole and Monkey Bread.

After awhile, Marc and Luke got out of bed. We took Luke into the living room by the tree for presents! Luke wasn't quite sure what to make of everything just yet. First, Marc showed Luke his new truck.

After a bit, Luke started to figure it out and really enjoy it. He mostly enjoyed the sounds that it makes.

After showing Luke the various animal sounds that the farmset makes, he too was enthralled with that gift.

At that point, we decided it was time for breakfast -- but not without first getting Luke out his pajamas and very wet morning diaper. Luke normally eats egg casserole very well, but when given egg casserole WITH Monkey Bread, he certainly chose the Monkey Bread.

He's eating his breakfast in his new plate he received from his Aunt Amber. You can't see it in this photo because of the food, but the plate has cars, trucks, and trains on it -- VERY CUTE for Luke!

After breakfast, Luke had to once again play with his truck and farmset. By this point in the morning, he was getting the hang of it.

From when we were first married, we established something -- that Christmas morning and afternoon were OUR'S. So, we've always stayed home on Christmas morning and afternoon.

So, this year was no different. But, after Luke's nap in the afternoon, we headed to a town very nearby to visit Marc's parents.

We had a nice supper that Marc's mom fixed -- we didn't go home hungry!

We also exchanged gifts with them. Luke received a new block set with a little pull wagon for the blocks of which I have yet to be able to get a new photo.

So, you'll have to use your imagination.

After awhile as it started to approach Luke's bedtime and the fact that he had a leaky diaper, we headed on home.

It ended up being a fantastic Christmas Day to celebrate the birth of our Savior.


To keep going with my previous post, I want to mention something else I'm thankful for from this book....

Today, it's #147 -- Hikes in the Woods....

This awesome photo was actually taken by me in Redwood National Park in northern California. We were in this park in July/August, 2007. We didn't spend a great deal of time in this park because we were trying to get to my aunt and uncle's by a certain time that day. But, we did stop briefly and hike amongst the tall trees -- probably only a mile or so.

Even though we didn't hike far, I clearly remember being so amazed by the tall trees. It was amazing to see God's creation! The other thing that distinctly sticks out about that short hike was how Q.U.I.E.T. those woods were -- so VERY peaceful. It would've been a great place to spend considerable amounts of quiet time with God.

The other part of that hike and trip in general I remember was the peace with God I did feel. We took that trip very shortly after I had miscarried our first baby and subsequently had been hospitalized after surgery. I was emotionally a mess, and that trip with Marc was one of the best things for me at that time.

So much to be thankful for....including hikes in the woods.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve with the Friesen's....

So, it's Christmas Day, in the afternoon. Luke is napping in his bed. Marc is napping on the couch. I napped for a bit, and then, I got up to do some blogging. I am listening to my new Newsboys CD that Marc gave me for Christmas. They're one of my favorite groups....

I want to tell everybody about our Christmas Eve....

We got up yesterday morning and headed to our little local donut shop -- Druber's. As you can tell from this photo, the weather was a bit frightful -- cold and very windy...it started to snow just as we arrived at the donut shop.

Many of you locals know about Druber's on Christmas Eve. Everybody who comes in gets one complimentary donut and one complimentary drink. Also, Santa is there for the kids. Last year, Luke wasn't feeling real well on Christmas Eve, and so, Marc just went and got some donuts for us. This year, we were all healthy.

To start off, here's a photo of Marc -- eating a donut.

Luke too ate a little bit of his donut. The donut shop was busy. Therefore, Luke was definitely enthralled with watching everybody.

An added bonus -- we saw the Smith Family and the Kirtley Family there. We also saw our neighbors, Willis and Joan.

Those of you who know Luke even a little know that Luke doesn't go to new people real well -- let alone to a man dressed in a Santa costume. So, needless to say, Luke didn't go on Santa's lap real well. In fact, we didn't even get a photo...Oh well -- Luke's certainly not the only child who wouldn't sit on Santa's lap. Perhaps next year?????

But, he did get his goody bag. Here are the goodies we found once we got home.

After we had been back home for an hour or so, we got a surprise phone call from friends Russell and Camille. Russell used to run cross-country for Marc when Marc was coaching cross-country at Bethel College. Russell and Camille were in town for Christmas (they live in Oregon now). They wondered if they could stop by. ABSOLUTELY -- anytime guys!

They stopped by for a bit. As they were leaving, I asked for a photo....Luke actually let Russell hold him for the photo -- even though he doesn't know them. Go Luke!

Russell and Camille, later in 2010, will be moving to the midwest somewhere. Perhaps we'll get to see them more????

After Luke's nap in the afternoon, we headed toward the town my parents live in -- normally about 40 minutes away or so. However, because of the interesting weather, it took a little bit longer.

We first went to church with them at their church. This is the church I attended from early on in college until Marc and I were married. It's also the church where Marc and I were married. So, it is special for me to go there for a Christmas Eve service.

Luke did absolutely FABULOUS during the Christmas Eve service (no childcare available) until he turned around and saw his Grandpa (my dad was on the lights for the service and was back in the tech booth). Then, Luke proceeded to talk out loud to my dad. So, I ended up in the hallway with him for a bit. It ended up being a neat thing in the hallway because I ended up seeing an elderly gentleman who I've known since very early childhood. It was nice to talk to him.

After church, we all headed over to my parents (our family, my brother's family, and my parents). It's always fairly wild over there (in a good way) because of three small children.

Because we all filled up on appetizers right away, we ended up opening presents before supper. Let the choas go!

Luke spent quite a bit of the evening on his Grandpa's lap (and I don't think Grandpa minded). I think he feels secure on his lap amongst everything going on. Luke's pretty used to quietness here at home with me during the week. I think the loudness sometimes intimidates him a bit.

My mom gave our two nieces some new sheets for their beds -- they're soon going to be in bunkbeds. Our oldest niece, Grace, absolutely LOVED her new Cinderella sheets. She pretty much carried them around most of the evening.

Luke received some very nice gifts from the my family, and for that, we're very grateful. He received a new wooden train (don't have a photo yet), a gift card for some new shoes (much needed), a new outfit, a pull toy (again, don't have a photo yet), etc.....We feel very blessed for what Luke received as well as what we received.

Marc received some nice stocking stuffers. Here's Marc in classic "Marc Mode" -- modeling with some of his goodies.

After presents, we sat down and had dinner together. We don't do a classic Christmas dinner...instead, this year, we had chili. The kids had mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.

After dinner, we did play a game as a family (the adults did). But, I'll make a separate post on that at another time because I won!

After dessert and more family fun, Marc and I decided we should head on out. Luke was getting tired, as you can see by this photo -- again on Grandpa's lap....

And, the weather was NOT getting any better. We knew we had a longer trip home than the usual 40 minutes. So, my dad and Marc spent some time outside in the cold, scraping the vehicle windows and shoveling. I changed Luke into his jammies and got his coat on...We ventured out.

I have to say that it truly was not the most fun drive home. However, my awesome protector and provider husband is such a "safety man." He drives very carefully and slowly through bad weather. I am sooooo very grateful for the way Marc takes care of Luke and me. I was also sooooo very grateful when we pulled safely into our garage last night. I immediately carried Luke into his bedroom and rocked him a bit before bed (it was most definitely past his bedtime). As I was rocking him, I felt so very safe inside our warm home.

I truly have so much to be thankful for....

With that being said, my sister-in-law, Amber, gave me this book last night....

It's 1001 Things to be Thankful For. It's one of those Hallmark Gift Books. Some of the things in the book are things you wouldn't even really think to be thankful for, but as I was looking through it, I was reminded that we really should be thankful for everything -- no matter how trivial. God provided everything for us....AND, it's all His.

So, I want to begin something new on this blog -- I want to list out, on each post, something in this book that I have been reminded to be thankful for.

For starters -- #8 -- Love Notes.

Here's a photo of a love note that Marc wrote to me early in 2008 -- at a Weekend to Remember marriage conference. I intentionally took a distant photo of it because I really don't want everybody else reading it. He wrote it "for my eyes only." But, that's what I love about it. It is for my eyes only. It's from my husband. It was ONE way that he has expressed his love for me -- ONE of just many ways.

I am very grateful for my husband and his love notes.

I'm also grateful for this book, reminding me of the notes to be thankful for.

Until the next post when I talk about Christmas Day and Christ's glorious birth.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Last Several Days....

Marc actually is off work for two straight weeks for the holidays, and Luke and I certainly LOVE having him home.

We've actually been very relaxed and low-key around here. We haven't been rushing around. We've spent quite a bit of time together as a family, and we've even gotten a few things accomplished. It's been really N.I.C.E.

So, if you're looking for a really exciting, event-filled blog post, this isn't for you. But, if you've been following our family for any length of time, this post will certainly clue you into our lives this week.

Tuesday morning, my dad came over. We had asked him to come over to help pull out the washer and dryer. That way, we could clean the floor underneath those appliances (you know -- one of those jobs you just don't do very often). Also, we wanted to check the hoses to make sure they weren't about to break or anything (and replace them if needed).

So, here's a photo of my dad and Marc pulling out the washer -- in other words, getting the project started.

And, as I figured -- this is what we found underneath. YUCK!

In case you're wondering -- Luke did supervise this entire event.

Here's a photo of my dad behind the washer. I'm not totally sure what exactly he was cleaning up at this point. I'm not sure I want to know. In case you're wondering, Marc, at this point, was locating cleaning supplies for this project.

Marc and my dad did have to make one trip to the hardware store, though I'm not completely sure what they had to buy....Personally, I just know that our washer and dryer do work, and I'm thankful for that.

Upon completion, they moved the washer and dryer back....

See, I told you -- not that exciting. But, it needed to be done. Have we inspired any of you to do the same in your home?

Later that day, it was a bit more exciting as Luke and I headed over to my friend Andrea's house. We did a little gift exchange with our children before they headed up to see family in snowy and icy Nebraska. (Glad to hear you guys made it safely up there, by the way).

Luke received some big, fun blocks. You can see them in the front part of this photo. This photo represents something else that has gone on this week -- plenty of Marc and Daddy playtime.

This afternoon (Wednesday), I had to go to a dental appointment to have a bit of work done. Y.U.C.K. However, as I was lying down flat in the dental chair, I did honestly think to myself that though I don't enjoy getting dental work done, I am extremely thankful for dentists. I enjoy keeping my teeth nice. I enjoy good gum and teeth health.

This evening, Marc, Luke, and I went out for a new family tradition which I know many of you have also started -- we drove around town, looking at Christmas lights. So, here's a photo of Luke all bundled up in our all-time favorite winter hat. Keep in mind I took this photo in the dark -- I didn't know what type of face Luke would make.

I can't say the town we live in has fabulous Christmas lights, but we did see some nice ones. We also did see this way overdone house.....Joel and Kendall actually told us about it. It's close to their home. If you're reading this post and it's your home, just understand it's not our style. Not everybody has the same style.

Afterwards, we stopped by the busy grocery store to pick up one thing I forgot for tomorrow. Marc had already suggested that we splurge a bit on some Ben and Jerry's ice cream -- something we treat ourselves to on occasion.

Our favorite flavor is most definitely Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Yes, we have tried other flavors, but none compare.

This evening, this grocery store was out. We were a bit bummed. We looked around a bit for a substitute flavor. Finally, we decided on a Breyer's flavor. After we got home we enjoyed Breyer's Cookies and Cream made with Oreo.

Awhile back, I purchased something at Amanda's Tupperware party. I had purchased the Shape-O Toy. Luke has gotten to where he really likes to play with it, though he needs a little bit of help finding the correct shapes.

So, here's what Luke and I did after eating some ice cream.

He's now in bed after our relaxing days -- sleeping soundly.

So, there's what the Friesen family has been up to -- not too exciting, but it certainly has been NICE.

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