December 25, 2009

It's Official...Christmas is HeRe NoW !!!

What crazy person sits around on Christmas day in the morning blogging? This one. The gifts are made (whew!), wrapped and under the tree, Miranda put the cookies and milk out and Santa is on His way. Steven is in a LOOOOONG hot bath to relax from this CrAzY week at work and I am here in the living room - sipping hot herbal tea, enjoying the warmth from the fireplace, listening to the radio next to our beautiful tree. I am realizing how short a time I have left of Miranda's "childhood"...she was out in a flash in her pink froggy footie jammies to pick out cookies. Sariah was asleep on the couch - aloof as a teenager would be. Tallen is pure child...the wonder on his face and his sweet voice singing "Jingle bells". LOVE IT!!!

Crazy! NOW that my projects are complete and I have time to enjoy the Christmas season and it's over! I always feel a let down. People are nicer to each other, the decorations and music...everything about Christmas is good. Except maybe finding a parking spot at WalMart! hahaha And then the DAY comes and people forget to be nice, the radio stations play the same yuck they do all year round again, the decorations go just ends!! I felt that way as a child on Christmas morning, too. We'd sit down to open gifts and tear through them. We didn't take turns and get to see what everyone else got. That's why we do what we do in my family now. We did numbers a few years ago. That was fun!! Sariah got at a time...3 numbers or so apart. Our Christmas is pretty modest. One or two from Santa, one from each person in the family and the stocking.

We got money from Grandpa so we used it to get a new camera for the family. The kids' needs are met and the tree looks full under there so, I got a camera. Canon SX120 IS. SwEeT!!!! I got it last night and am loving it! It's compact - compared to my Casio - and soooo easy to use! I can zoom really (too) close and the clarity of color is fantastic! I have to remember to wear makeup....that skin tone is killin' me! I'll post pictures after our opening in the morning and our trip to Mimi's in Ohio.

Happy Christmas!!
What family traditions did you start??

December 22, 2009

Christmas once again

I love Christmas! I always have and I think I will forever...or at least until the children are grown. I woke up one year at 2am. I was old enough to read an alarm clock, so my parents, who had JUST gotten to bed...(that was the year for the "Walton's House - some assembly required", sent me back to bed until 4 or 6 or some really late hour!! I couldn't sleep and didn't want to get in trouble for peeking so I lay there in a tortured state of anticipation. Awful!  Fast forward to now.  I am JUST as excited every year!  I wake up early, not 2am early now that I'm on the assembly team, but early...and I wake the children, because I can hardly wait to see what Santa has brought.  I know, I'm twisted.  I think that I will wait for the kids to get me up this year (I think they did last year as well.) We usually have the missionaries to breakfast on Christmas morning - and most folks do dinner, so we've been free to do so.  This year, someone from the other congregation beat us to the Sisters.  So it will be just the 5 of us in our cute jammies enjoying a FAMILY Christmas. 

We went to the Ward Christmas Party last Friday, 12/19, and had a great time.  Here are a few fun shots taken by Lovice, a friend of mine.

Here is Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus in his Dad’s arms.

13959_237052072353_638662353_4260731_5995435_s Justin P., Miranda B. & a baby doll









Miranda made a beautiful Mary


me getting in some peaceful knitting time







Steven relaxing as wise guys do

the king of bling 

The “King of Bling” holding court!

Michael S., Brian M., and the rest of the gang. 

3 friends @party


Odd, how the boys of all ages REALLY got into the dress-up…

oh and and the little kids…



And then the “Special Guest” arrived, in a police car!


Tallen was a little nervous about the whole sitting with Santa deal.  so he had to check it out…

2 helper, 1 boy and his friend


He circled…

and watched.








And at last the moment arrived…he got up on "HO HO's" lap and told him his sweet list! 

tallen on Santa's lap







t on santa



I did it!  and got candy... He DID IT!! And got candy from the Elves as a reward!

Tallen sat on Santa's lap!  It must be the magic of 3yrs old.  He has cried the other times.  We don't have TV channels and we don't take the paper, so I guess we are a little "UNCONNECTED" to the mass toy shoving that begins in September on TV.  Tallen has been compiling his "HO HO" list for about two months.  A new train, lots of cars and trucks and a race track.  I think that's it. I’m so pleased that he got up there and spoke to Santa!

The girls did not get up Santa's lap as they got to be the ELF Helpers this year. I'm actually tearing up with pride and shock over how fast they have grown up!  Here they are helping some of the other kids.





helping the scared ones






asking for a car


I had to put this one in here…it cracks me up!  This is 16 yr old Chloee B. asking for a CAR from Santa.  Too Funny! Her comment afterwards was, “I’m getting a car by July, anyway!”  She cracks me up!





Well, my break is over.  I have to get back to work on the Christmas goodies I am making…and I WILL get the labels on the cards TODAY.  I had them made in Mid November and then got busy with the other parts of preparing.  Oh well. I’ll do better next year – MAYBE.  I guess I am who I am and there’s room for improvement.

Happy Christmas to all and

to all a relaxing New Year!

December 2, 2009

Much to be Thankful For

The girls went to Grandma Bykofsky’s with their dad for Turkey Day.  They always do. It’s in the divorce decree actually… I’m thankful they had safe travels there and back.

They went down on Wednesday – he drove up from Atlanta to Cincinnati, slept a bit and then continued all the way up to get them.  I’m thankful I didn’t have to drive them down to Ohio and then turn around and travel the same route on Thursday.

Steven, Tallen and I went down to Mimi’s for Thanksgiving.  My sister and her family were also there.  Jaden is getting so big and running around more.  Mom cornered him for a few pictures though. Tallen moves too fast, too much or something…there aren’t many pictures of him - ever.Edwin and Jaden Megan and Jaden





Me and my Boy (Tallen)

Edwin's 1st pumpkin pie





My brother made the pie Me…trying to get him to eat

I see the “change of the guard” as it were. I remember always going to Grandma Gnew’s for the holidays and then my Mom took over as the years went on.  Now Megan, Edwin and I are taking a greater roll each year and I’m OK with that.  Grandma is not remembering things very well anymore and our days with her here are growing fewer and fewer.  I am thankful that I have had a chance to know Verna Gnew.  She is a good grandma.  I remember getting the cards every holiday with the quarters stuck in it.  Did you get those?? I know, I’m OLD.  The girls remind me often. Meg and I would play downstairs with the piano, the games and watch movies on the TV while rocking on the sofa.  Yup- rocking on the sofa.

I am VERY thankful that my Mom is a great cook and that together as a family we put together a mean Thanksgiving Meal.  Turkey (of course), dressing from inside the bird – it’s the best!, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes…I’m sure I have forgotten parts. Meg brought fresh veggies to keep us healthy – but noone had room for them at dinner! My Brother-in-law made cornbread stuffing. I made cranberry-sauce Jell-O cups VERY GOOD and I made 26 AwEsOmE rolls.  There were 4 left when I went home.  Everything disappeared rapidly and then we sat around and talked and watched the boys play and the nocturnal-men sleep in front of the TV.

Adam brought the girls BACK up on Friday for the evening Fantasy of Lights parade.  Miranda sang with the Children’s Chorale before hand and Sariah marched with the middle school band.  I’m thankful we stayed relatively warm…more blankets next year!  I am also thankful that we all stayed SAFE!! Adam changed the “pick up after the parade location” and caused quite a fright for the Mama as I was searching for my first baby as SHE searched for his car on a VERY bust street.  All turned out OK – but we won’t be doing THAT again!! Thankful for text messages, too - so I could express my…disapproval…of the happenings.

I’m thankful for my computer which is becoming more of a tool and a bit less of a toy.  A little bit anyway…I still love to check in with everyone on Facebook and checking out the blogs on my reading list. 

I have of course saved the best for last.  My famiy:

I am thankful for my parents who did the best they could with the child I was.  I’m still not perfect and may never be the person they had planned on me being…but I do my best to live right, to live the commandments, and be the person that my Heavenly Father would have me be. 

I learned to be handy and use tools from my Dad.  And so many times throughout the day, my thoughts go to him.  I SURE do miss him! He was so good at so many things.  Just today, a friend said the same thing to me.  I was so surprised at that!  I feel so un-developed as of yet.  I guess Dad may have felt that way too.  Thus he “never decided what he wanted to be” and kept reinventing himself. He’s been gone for 13 years now and there is still a Dad shaped hole in my everyday life.

I guess I learned how to be a “Woman of the 90’s” from my Mother.  In essence it is to be true to one’s self.  I learned – through trial and error- how to cook in her kitchen.  NOW I’m told that I’m an amazing cook!! I got my first job there in PA when I had just graduated.  I worked for Nora at her home based business “Herbs For Healthful Living” and that alone has made a VAST difference in who I am today. 

I learned from my Mom all the everyday things that moms teach their daughters: To always think before you speak, to sit up straight, that family is MOST important of all, to go to church every week, how to clean my room (I don’t always USE the information…mind you).

I am ever thankful for Megan.  The best sister a gal could have.  We may not see eye to eye (she’s taller) but we weather the storms together and help each other where we can. I am thankful she found her soul mate in Sam.  They are so suited for each other!!!  Sweet Jaden is such a blessing to our family.

Edwin – my 28 year old BABY BROTHER – is a rock to my Mom and Grandma.  He’s one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met!  I guess that part of that is, that by the time he was old enough to argue and fight with, I had left home…so we get on pretty well.  I like him, he’s neat-o!

Of course, there’s MY rock.  Steven is the best friend I could ever want.  He stands by me no matter what and yet calls me on my mistakes and flaws.  He works hard for our family and does his best. ALWAYS!  THIS is how marriage is supposed to be!  He is an awesome Daddy to all of my children.  For that I am VERY thankful.

My children!  I am in awe of the people they are becoming.  Sariah and Miranda are beautiful young women now!  Where did my babies go??? And Tallen…I can’t keep up with his mind!  Always into things…making a way to get what he needs.  He reminds me of my Dad.  I need to keep an eye on my tools, he’ll be taking apart my appliance soon no doubt!

Did I mention I have MUCH to be thankful for???

Now – to gear up for Christmas!!  Have fun…I know I will.

November 12, 2009

Halloween 2009

I’m a bit slow getting the pictures up…I have no excuse, other than I have been doing other things: sewing some, knitting some, watching some movies, going to parent teacher conferences, living, being the mom, etc.

Here they are…those really cute kids.










Tallen = Bob the Builder











Miranda = Queen of Everything












Sariah = Alice Cullen (Twilight)










Jaden = Cutest Puppy EVER


Megan and Sam came up with Jaden to Trick-or-Treat.  Steven took the kids out and I stayed home to hand out candy…which I won’t bother doing next year.  We had 6 kids come to our house.  We are in a neighborhood, but I guess it’s older homes so they skip it for the high priced sub next door.  Happy Fall!!!!

November 5, 2009

Alice Cullen sleeps downstairs!

Of course I have neglected to document the most important moment - thus far - in Sariah's preteen existence.  She has been wearing her hair long for MANY years. Pretty much since she was one...and it began to grow.Sariah 08-97

Sariah 12-97 before

6 months                                    1yr – 1st haircut

Sariah spring 04-2000

 Sariah 1-21-05







  3 years                                              8 years

She got it cut for 5th grade to her shoulders but that's it.  And THAT was still a bob.


Photo_083007_007    the process                           beautiful Sariah 

She decided last spring t grow it long enough to donate to locks of love and that was the plan.  I actually thought she wouldn't make it.  Sariah wanted to get her hair cut for school this year to start 7th grade off great...but it was too short by an inch.  We figured that by Halloween it should be long enough...

WELL...October 24th she decided that the time was right!

Sariah at YW-YM boat sinking activity








summer ‘09                     10 inches off the back please…

We all went into the bathroom and first I shaved Tallen’s head (as usual – only it turned out better with the new clippers I got with birthday money :o) ) and then the conversation went something like this:

ME: “Do you want to?”

Sariah: “Sure!”

ME: “Are you 100% sure about this???”

Sariah: “ YES!  Do it…”

cut cut cut

Sariah:”Oh, my hair! My one true beauty!!!  I’ll write a book. It’ll be called ‘I can’t believe I DID that!!!!!”

Here’s the after…in case you haven’t seen her about town looking very chic!  OH – and she LOVES it!!  It’s flippy like Alice’s.  That’s all it takes, right??

sariah 10-24-09 NEW hairdo....1st ever

10-24-09 the back






       10/24/09                                            10/24/09

11233_165846687786_741892786_2856480_2639299_n                                 Alice Cullen for Halloween ‘09

She really is growing up into a beautiful young lady.  I’m so proud to have her as part of my family.

November 4, 2009

A Day Filled with Blogging

...and not much else.
It's so true isn't it that ya get suuuuucked into the computer when there are cute colors to chose from, signatures to make and blinkies to add along the way. I helped both girls get a blog of their own...Miranda is on my account, different page, so they can express themselves and practice typing skills. I need to remember the reason I made the blog in the first place. I made it so that I could write, think and consider life in a journal style...not ever having to think about what others will think about what I write. I have actually ALMOST erased one of the posts from the summer...because I thought that others may not like it. I own this page, I love my blog the way it is and HOPE that those 3 people that drop in to visit from time to time like it too...but I write for me. ;o) Maybe I should check on my actual journal....gotta go.

Fun New Goodies All Around $

I had fun yesterday fixing up my blog. I learned some great tips! I learned how to make the Blogger panel at the top of the page to go invisible and how to havb dividers between posts. I gathered this info from they also tell how to make your own signature! Cool... I chose to go with for that though - LESS WORK!! I grabbed some cute blinkies for everyone, too. I found some AwEsOmE fonts at I changed the background and banner to show the season at

My Sariah and Miranda are both delving into the blogging world. Sariah got an email address - they charge the parent $.50!! (I'm cool with that, as I know that she has it and couldn't without me.) She then signed up for her own blog. VERY CUTE. Next step - Facebook. But not until 13. Their rules, and mine. :o)

October 19, 2009

Growing pains...

I can hardly think of baby is growing up!!!! OK, so it's been happening for a few years now but the fact became crystal clear at church yesterday. Here's how it went down; Daddy took Tallen to use the restroom during sacrament meeting and before class I asked if he'd been. The reply was,"Yes and he even stood up!" Now this is not a big deal - even at home he sometimes wants to be the big boy and stand. The big deal came later, during Relief Society (3rd hr) when his teacher came and got me. The child would NOT come with me to the ladies room, he insisted he be able to go in the Men's room to "Go like Daddy!" So there I stood, just outside the door standing guard. On the OUTSIDE for the first time! I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of my being on the outside of all the guy stuff......"welcome, Bronwen, to being the Mom of a boy!" Now how do I handle this when in PUBLIC? Hmmmm. I think it will be a few more years before little man can go in by himself and even then I will be standing guard at the doorway. Boys are just DIFFERENT!!!!

October 2, 2009

All Things Domestic

Somewhere in my bedroom I have a pillow that says “Domestic Goddess” on it…you caught the “somewhere in there” part? I feel there are lots of different kinds of Goddess with the title of Domestic. Cleaning ones, decorating ones, baking ones, knitting ones, and sewing ones, there are even home repair fix-it ones. Well, I am not the usual kind of Domestic Goddess, I hate cleaning! Just ask my Moms, both of ‘em. They’ll tell you…I have never been inclined to clean. I love to sit in a clean and peaceful room but I don’t like cleaning the room to get it there. Needless to say, my family struggles with this tendency – but really, who doesn’t?? OK, I’m not the cleaning kind, but I am the kind of Domestic Goddess who happily slaves over brownies and knitting sweet things for family and friends, I sew up a cute skirt for myself and the girls. Most happy when crafty stuff is involved.

Today it is gloomy outside but happy as all get out inside! Tallen is happily playing with his trucks and cars and making those cute sounds that go with… I have 3 baskets of laundry to fold and at least 6 months of socks to sort…actually it IS time for Nana to come. She LOVES to sort socks – yes, I get some of my weirdness form her! But instead of being the “laundry folding Domestic Goddess” I ought to be, I am making tuxedo brownies for Cindy Hougaboom’s baby shower tomorrow. And blogging about it of course… These brownies are SOOOOO good. I first had them at my wedding in 2005. My awesome visiting teachers made them as there was no cake.

Let’s travel the road of preparation together shall we? I got a rather inexpensive box of brownies last night at Wal-Mart, if I had been REALLY on the ball, I would’ve stopped at Aldi to grab theirs. Next time! I mixed it up and used my handy dandy scoop (from Meijer) to put in my ultra-cool and expensive ($9.99 @ Target) square brownie pan from Wilton (the cake decorating people). I only have the one of those, and it holds 24, so decided to also throw some batter in my mini silicone cups (on sale for $.75 for 12 @ Meijer) to compare. I always forget I have these sweet babies…I will never forget again!! OK – I digress. I sprayed all cups & squares with Baker’s Joy – the kind with the spray & flour combined and put in the batter. Baked for 15 min. removed the pans and tried to take the brownies out to cool them.

The square pan is nifty looking and has a fancy name, but let me tell you, those babies WON’T come out hot!! (please notice the broken bits clinging to the pan...)

So Tallen & I sacrificed ourselves and put the broken ones out of their misery…he’s such a helper when there are baked goods about. Here he is helping clean the bowl:

The squares will have to cool completely before removal but those little silicone cups were great! I popped the brownies out and was able to refill in a jiffy – thus saving on energy by a quick turn around. Here’s the 2nd batch baking:

I am going to get MORE of those cups and be able to make like 48-55 cups in 15 min!!!
Watch out bake sale Mamas, here comes Bronwen! Woo-Hoo!!!
OK – now after I fold this laundry and maybe make a healthy (rather than an un-healthy one) I’ll run up to the store, Aldi is across the street, so I’ll go there, and get the whipped topping and cream cheese for the frosting. Oh, and some raspberries to garnish. I’m drooling now…gotta match the socks so Sariah doesn’t wear mismatched socks to school again…it’s so embarrassing to me.