Tuesday, November 30, 2010

no touching please!

 I grew up with the rule in my home, "No touching the presents under the tree!" No one was allowed to touch the presents except for mom-the person who wrapped all of the presents! It made the wrapped packages under the tree seem even more suspenseful and more exciting as we tried to guess what each thing was.

Now, it's our turn. We have the same rule for Ryan and I...if you aren't the person who wrapped it; there is no touching under the tree! 
This weekend after the delightful weekend in Kansas with Ryan's family, we spent a peaceful Sunday afternoon with Deeana, LIttle Ceasers pizza, "The Santa Clause" movie, and putting up a Christmas tree.  There was even a little elf that came with the tree!

Deeana was a JOY to have as we put the tree up-it was so fun exchanging Christmas stories with her-she makes Ryan and I laugh so hard.
while my husband sat with his little elf hat and the SAnta Clause playing on the TV, he was a little distracted with it, so Deeana helped me put the lights on the tree...good thing too, because i was confused!
we thought some tree pictures were appropriate to record since we had such fun putting up the tree. We ended up just looking like impatient little kids waiting for Christmas morning to come.

The Santa Clause movie (one of my most favorite Christmas movies) played in the background as we put up the tree...they were both intrigued by the thought of Santa Clause;)

Oh, and it's a good thing we have that rule that no one can touch the gifts under the tree. Having the wrapped packages and knoing the names were written someone on the packages drove Damian crazy. So he twisted and turned all underneath the tree trying to find his name on the gifts. He cracked us up, because definitely didn't touch the presents, but he totally went all around them to find his presents!
[see the little feet buried in the tree? I caught a picture on my phone before he bounded away;))
our tree provided us with lots of entertainment and beauty to our living room. I'm so excited for this Christmas!

p.s. got any sweet Christmas decor up? I need some tips on some good Christmas deocrations. Follow me on the right hand side and I'll come visit your blog!! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday-the most fun shopping day of the year:)

Black Friday started at 3 AM for the Brandenbergers.
We left at 4 and started our shopping day with a some Drubers donuts.
i love bakeries that are open at the wee hours of the day.

the seester and i were the only ones that were this pumped about shopping so early in the morning;)

this was only the start of the day:) We spent 13 hours shopping and two hours eating. We were so excited and hyped up from the coffee, sugar, and excitement of shopping. 
we got alot of the Christmas gifts knocked out of the way and have them all wrapped and under our new Christmas tree! (our little old skeleton one drowned in the flood.)

(can i just say that i love that my husband is a pleasant man to shop with?:) in fact, he's one of the best people to shop with-so patient and actually enjoys it along with me. looooove him.:))

Sunday, November 28, 2010

thanks GOD!

we had a great time in Kansas with Ryan's family for Thanksgiving.

it was fun spending this holiday with this side of the family:)
the turkey was delicious and the rest of the food was fabulous.
We played more Settler's of Catan and watched Christmas movies.
Getting ready for the Christmas season! woo!

so much to be thankful for especially from this past year. God has given us people to love, enjoy, and encourage. God has provided so much for Ryan and I-and have showed us the way he works in wonderous ways.
He's allowed us to see some kids come to the Lord this year; allowed us to be a part of His work in Storm Lake.
So thankful.

So excited about this next month. It's my most favorite time of the year:)
I'll post more about our time in Kansas. Black Friday was a BLAST!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OCC results

All these big brown boxes are full of bright colorful shoeboxes full of toys, candies, and school supplies.
1,734 shoeboxes that are heading to Minneapolis to get stuff even fuller, packed into more boxes, and then onto planes overseas to other countries.

These guys, plus Noah, Checko, Marcie, Randy, Wesley, and quite a few of the ZAO kids helped Palmer and Ryan with the Operation Christmas Child of Storm Lake.

[pictures taken from Ryan's phone]

They had so much fun helping out with it. Kinda cool seeing kids and teens serving:-D
1,734 shoeboxes.
1,734 kids that will recieve a Christmas present.
1,734 kids that will hear the gospel...
 hopefully through it maybe evenvone life will come to know Jesus Christ personally! 
and that's only from Storm Lake. 
Thousands and thousands of boxes from all over the United STates are being sent out.

Let's pray that lives will be changed. 
that little ones will find hope and love in Christ! 
Praise God for the loving hearts of the people in Storm Lake!:)

Monday, November 22, 2010

sprinkles are back again.

last year, i went sugar cookie decorating crazy. it begins again this year; but this time with more help!
Damian helped me out by rolling out the dough and cutting it out. 
after he was done with that, i turned around to put the cookies in the oven, and then looked back at him. He had plopped down on the floor and happily stuck his arms all the way into my flour. 
"ooooh, i love the way this feels!!!!!" 
the picture was too cute too resist taking it.
decorating the cookies was fun, because it turns out, we have quite the artists around.
Randy's cookies always looked so professional and pretty. Ryan really just decorated the cookies so he could immediately eat them.

I think Aaron just liked mixing the icing colors together to see what he could make; turns out whatever combination of colored drops you put, it turns into an icky dark-practically-black color. Oh, well, at least it still tastes the same as the pretty one. He really just made us laugh the whole time.
Damian was very careful about what he wanted on his cookies. he helped me make the dough, so that was fun having him there the whole process of the cookie making.
 do these pictures make you want to grab a glass of cold milk and a cookie?

Thanksgiving week this week! 
I am so thankful today that it is Monday; i love mondays!
1. Thankful for our Storm Lake "families" that makes this town such an exciting and fun place to live.
2. food; because it really brings people together over meal time. whether it's decorating cookies or sitting down for dinner, eating times are definitely the time to enjoy:)
3.this week is a short week of work and the we get to drive down to Wichita. I love the drives with my husband because we talk about everything and anything. 

for now, this'll have to do until i get the chance to take more pics and upate ya'll. 
happy monday!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

today i am thankful for

 1. my husband looking spiffy in a tie. (thanks, God-you created such a handsome man:))
2. little guys trying to dance and sing like justin bieber, but not succeeding; its just so funny to watch. (hearing them laugh is a joy, God, thank you!)
3. pretty presentation of food, provided and presented by a teenage with a caring heart- and he doesn't even realize that the food is actually feeding teens that come who doesn't get a meal everyday and that these snacks are a blessing to those hungry teens. Thanks for him, God.

 4. being asked a big favor from a teenage girl that's hard to read and relate to for many; and that favor being a request to be picked up whenever Ryan and I go to church. Wow, God.
5. being there the very first moment an 8 year old discovers what pomade and hairspray can do to you hair-and watching him for half an hour be amazed with the different looks he could come up with. hee, hee.

6. the turkey adventure Ryan and I have wrestled with throughout the night to get a turkey prepared and cooked for our church's Thanksgiving dinner. What was it that i pulled out of the turkey's cavity?!
7. looking back thru the memories from the past year, and being in utter amazement with what God has worked on and done in such a short amount of time. 
God is so good. All the time.
All the time. God is good.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

fell asleep before midnight

Ryan and i had hoped to go to the midnight opening show of HP. 
Thursday night it was supposed to happen. however, I fell asleep on the couch from weariness of the day.
so we missed it, but today's the big day! I'm so excited! 
I've been telling myself all year to read this book; never got to it, so today i took it off the shelf and held it.

aaah, maybe i'll get to it this next year:) 


I don't believe I have introduced ZAOkids to you yet.
Last year, we had 3-6kids at ZAO. Praise the Lord!:) We had a good year with these kids, even though it was a small group of them and enjoyed teaching them the Bible and doing activities with them.

This year is a little different. We are partnering with The Bridge (please visit  Our Family on mission) and have the privilege of tutoring the kids, teaching the kids, and feeding the kids.
Many times after school, kids find themselves getting into trouble and curiosity can get the best of them and with no adult supervision at home, there can be an ongoing cycle of getting into trouble. And when they do get home, often, no one is there to prepare a meal for that child to eat.
Our hope is to have these kids in program such as ZAO, to keep them off the streets, introduce them to people who love and care for them, and then send them home with a full belly.   

This afterschool program has the goal to strengthen these kids and their families, by teaching them biblical principles, life skills, and doing it while having fun:) 

We started our first set of "Lifeblocks" which is a block of time in the evening that we teach the kids different life skills. Praise the Lord for the volunteers we have from many different churches, small groups, organizations, and of course, BVU!! The students are wonderful to have there and are GREAT with the kids.
We had some of the kids put together some Operation Christmas Child boxes...how neat was it that these kids are from different countries from all over the world...and they were building boxes to send to those very countries!

[the boys were thrilled with the jolly ranchers and stickers they got for helping out.
[these two were fabulous workers...]
[i'm just tickled pink from how cute Akorra is in this picture!]
[sweet kipera was so involved with the boxes...took her job seriously:)]
beautiful, right?:-D
this was a pretty cool Life block...Angie is teaching a "hands-on" life block. This week, they made their own clay! and made beautiful sculptures with pretty glitter.

this is an Acting block. These gals are going to put on a Christmas skit! This is the life block I'll be teaching, but this week, two wonderful BVU students took charge of it.
Alyssa is teaching a "painting" lifeblock. They made turkey pictures! next week, they'll be making clay sculptures and will be painting them.

This lil one just likes to hang out with the Skit gals:) She posed for some pretty pictures.
This is our Sports group and Baking group, both Life blocks will start up December 2nd. Their leaders could not make it this week, but they're ready for ya'll next time! They helped Ryan out with the OCC boxes.
[the stickers represent each box they build, put together, and packed! they were so proud. it's so cool to see little ones serving.]
and of course, dinner time. Dinner time is when we all come together and have a sit down dinner, family style. The kids recieve a GREAT meal each week, this week provided by a 1:10 group! Thank you so much! We enjoyed it! 
We have the FBC men and women serving dinner in the sweetest fashion:)

and lastly, Craig spent the last part of the evening being tackled by the little boys and his daughter. It was probably one of the most fun things to watch; these little guys wrestling, giggling, and squealing!
Craig and Jay D are doing a really neat woodworking and repairs Lifeblock. the kids were pumped after cutting out the wood for their nativity scene.

well, that's a little of what goes on on Thursdays. God's opened alot of doors and we've spent alot of time and prayer over ZAO.
Know any kids that might benefit from this program? We have extra tutoring in any area of subject!
 Praise God for the work he's doing in Storm Lake with so many people from different places working together!