Monday, January 18, 2010


I am thankful for: the wonderful white snow falling outside and the chicken on the stove.

I am reading: I just started reading James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys because I am wondering if I am missing something or expecting to much.

Around the house: E and A are learning to vacuum. I finally took the experts advice and grouped my chicken/rooster collection together and I am very pleased with the results.

This is the top of my china hutch.

On the to do list: I have a stack of printouts that need to be glued and cut for file folder games, more blog posts, scrapbooking and this behemoth of a mess, Jay calls it "the Tammy know one knows":

This is the top of my dresser/ night stand. It is a major dumping ground for reading materials, lists and future education plans. Can you spy how many books are on it? Too Many! I need to straighten, dust and trash this whole area and there is even a pile on the bottom that you can't see.

When will I ever learn: to stop throwing these precious gift away (or at least put them in the garage garbage where they won't be found.) I started a box to keep the really special ones in but I have cause one to many protruding lips and vanishing smile.

On the menu: Chicken and Dumplings (Jay's favorite), perfect for a snowy day. I have tried scratch dumplings but the best is Bisquick. And for another night Mexican soup from Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa.

Something new I am trying: I found this great list the other day and it was such an answer to prayer. Sometimes it feels like my prayers are all over the place and this has given me a focus for praying for my children. It is also neat because it gives me something to share with them each morning and lets them know Mommy is praying for them. It is a list of verses to pray each day of the month. Click here to see.

In the learning loft: We are studying Dinosaurs, Winter, Australia, the 12 disciples and Ben Franklin. We are reviewing the continents and place value. We are starting to experiment with graphing and counting by 2's and 5's.

Quiet Time ponderings: Practicing the Law of Love. I think we are all familiar with the verses that say "Love your neighbor as yourself" but do you know God wants more than that from us? In John 13:34 Jesus says "A new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another." Jesus doesn't say love others as long as it works for you or as long as it is easy but he says love one another as I have loved you. Jesus also says never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. So we, striving to be more and more like our savior, ought to never stop loving the people in our lives no matter how difficult. Jesus never gives up on us and we are never to give up on others. In the verses just prior to John 13:34 Jesus is having the last supper with his disciples and he is trying to tell them who is going to betray Him, Judas. Did you catch that Judas, the very one who shows his sinfulness and disloyalty was welcome at the dinner table. Judas, no matter how vile or disloyal was gathered with Jesus and sat among his closest friends. We are to do that in our own lives. No matter how much someone hurts us, we are to gather them among our closest most trusted friends and welcome them at our tables, in our very lives. How? Romans 5:5 says "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is by the Holy Spirit in us that we can love the people Jesus places in our lives. We are to love like Jesus does, not matter the situation, Jesus laid it all down and gave it all up. We are to give up ourselves, our feelings, our concerns, our needs and replace it with the spirit of God and love as He does.

Matt. 7:12 says "so in everything do to others what you would have them do to you." So I ponder as I go through my day how to love the little ones and big ones in my life, as Jesus does. I think of how I want to be treated and cared for and then do in kind to others. Oh how I wish I was more perfect, more like Christ, because I daily miss the mark but yet I ask myself what can I sacrifice so they can have abundant life, what can I give, what can I teach, how must I behave to communicate that I love them and so does our Lord.

Blessings To You All!

"Nutella Cookies"

On Christmas morning I found a jar of Nutella in my stocking. Nutella is a wonderful chocolate hazelnut spread that makes the driest graham cracker taste like a decadent dessert. But better than a cracker is a cookie. I stumbled upon this recipe from the Food Network show Everyday Italian and it is yummie. Giada calls the recipe hazelnut biscotti but we just call them Nutella cookies. We omit the hazelnuts and ad 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Enjoy!

Got Nutella?

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis


  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl combine the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, sugar, and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the hazelnuts and stir until just combined.

Using a tablespoon measure, spoon out the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, spacing the mounds about 4 inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten the cookie dough. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Where We Have Been & Where We Are Going!

Happy New Year everyone. I just wanted to share a few glimpses into our lives as we review the last 12 months and look ahead to the next 12. It is my aim to not just create a brag list but rather let you know how we really live here in the mountains raising our sweet ones.

The year has been a blessing and we have had to take it day by day and month by month. As many of you know the building industry has come to a grinding halt which has rocketed us into very uncertain financial times. Our lives have become truly dependent on the Lord and he has not let us down. God has provided for us through several Cornerstone remodels, H & R Block, family, gifts cards, hand me downs, our church, consignment stores and thrift stores. At times I have felt like life is boring and nothing ever exciting happens to me but when I reflect I truly praise God for the slow lifestyle we live here in Truckee. Now, that is not to say that I am bored in the least. A home, husband, 4 children and a home-school keeps me very busy in the day in and day out and I frequently say "I wish I could get bored." I love my family dearly and pray that in the coming year the Lord will continue to endear my heart to theirs and show me their real worth and value in His eyes. So let me start with me. The highlight of my year was all the hiking that we got to do this summer and fall (scroll down to see me and my shadows on a fall hike). I love the outdoors and I look forward to finding more family friendly hikes this next summer season. Blogging also became a big part of my time this year--there is a whole world out there, pick your hobby and you can find an online community to share your passion with and glean ideas and encouragement from. As for me I read homeschooling blogs, frugal living blogs, decorating blogs and spiritually encouraging blogs. I continue to enjoy great music and good books. Kari Jobe was the music artist of the year for me; check her out on YouTube if you need some good inspiring tunes. As far as books I read the Forever Faithful series by Karen Kingsbury, Unafraid and Unshaken by Francine Rivers. Unafraid and Unshaken our 2 books about the women in the lineage of Christ, both were great and gave me new thoughts to ponder about Ruth and Mary. I have started reading the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs (Available through the Truckee Library). Now I am not typically a murder mystery fan but these are great and super fun to read. I get to indulge my love of tea and reading in one fell swoop. I also revisited an old favorite The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elizabeth Elliot, just great encouragement for caring for my home and family. This next year I hope to read books by Debbie Macomber (Truckee Library). I read A Cedar Cove Christmas and really enjoyed it so I plan to continue on in the series. How do I have time to read? I make time. I try to get 30 minutes a day to read whatever I want. It doesn’t always work out but I think it is one of the keys to staying sane in a busy noisy house. I have discovered that it is not enough for me to be left alone in a room full of people doing their own thing but that I actually need to retreat alone and for me that is usually my room. So in the next year I hope to spruce it up with a few more pretty accessories, courtesy of the thrift store and a can a spray paint if necessary. I also aspire to beautify a few more areas in our home through thrifty finds and hope to be better at taking before and after photos. I pray that our lives both inside and out will be a thing of beauty to the Lord. I pray that the Lord will keep my heart open to whoever and whatever he brings into my life in 2010 (2010, can you believe it? I can't) So on the inner beautification side, I am continuing to work my way through the bible, book by book, trying to walk in the spirit day by day, praying the scriptures for my loved ones and keeping the Sabbath set apart as a day of rest and reflection with our family. I plan to do a bit more studying on fasting in the next year and have been so delighted to share my love of bible women with others. This past summer I lead a bible study called Bible Moms and then subsequently got to teach on Jochebed (the mom of Moses) at our local MOPS and Mary at our church's Christmas tea. I always knew I wanted to teach/speak but I just never thought it would be form the word, I always thought it would be in the form of counseling. Just a few last thoughts on the year ahead--I hope to reinstitute Movie Time Monday at our hose. I did this during the summer and it allowed me to get a lot of scrapping done while the children enjoyed a movie. I hope to sit more. Yes, you read that right, I said sit more. Just sit and enjoy my surroundings and the people in them. Sitting needs to become a discipline for me because many days I never even leave my house but I never just sit and enjoy what is in or around me. And finally, I hope we can plan a camping trip to Yosemite, I haven't been since I was very little and would love to enjoy it again with our family.
So enough about me and on to the rest of the Garbarino clan.

Kensley is 3 years old and full of life, both happiness and venom. She loves to dance, wear fancy shoes, look at books, count, paint and color. However, look out if she doesn’t like what you say or you cross a line she screams with the best of them.

July 2009--Lake Nacimiento

Emry Anne is 7 and in second grade. She loves to dance, draw, play with friends, watch TV and listen to books on tape. The Boxcar Children have been her favorite CD's to listen to. It has been a new world for us this year with all of the new girls in the neighborhood. Emry is learning to strike a balance between times with friends, TV and just being content to BE at home. It has and is a growth process for us both.

Martis Creek--2009

Ayden is 5 1/2 and in kindergarten. The boy loves to build and anything that transforms. He learned to ride his bike this fall on his own. He picked up a neighbors bike and just rode off leaving me with my mouth hanging open and Emry screaming "He's riding a bike, he's riding a bike! We also rejoiced this fall because Ayden is pull-up free--yahoo! (Only 2 more to go) Ayden is the opposite of Emry, she has friends in all directions and Ayden has very few. At times it has left him feeling very sad and mischievous to see his sister, his best friend, play with others. So we are problem solving and seeking solutions on this issue. It is so sad to see my dear boy cry tears over being left out.

Our backyard--June 2009

Brady is one and so much fun! He has been walking for the last month and talking up a storm. They say boys are so much slower to develop linguistically but that is not and has not been our experience. Brady has so many words and daily seems to come up with new ones. Last night he was saying Kensley's name, he tries to repeat most everything, now if he would just stop hitting his head on the tile.

Learning Loft--September 2009

Me and my precious jewels--Crystal Falls--September 2009

Now as for Jay he is plugging along. He continues to engineer, workout and love good food. He has perfected a sourdough starter and bread this year as well as tiramisu. He has us starting a P90x hybrid with Tony Horton's, One on One series this week and he still desires to stay fit and encourage others to do the same. We are blessed that he will be working for H & R Block again this winter and possibly the U.S. Census in the spring. He still plays monster with the children and is currently instituting a memory game with the children all over the house in the evenings. He has been attending a men's bible study on Friday mornings, reading Jerry Bridges online devotional, enjoying Facebook and maintaining 2 blogs of his own (see the sidebar for his links).

Paige Meadows--October 2009

Angora Lakes--October 2009

So that is it our lives in a nutshell. Thanks to everyone who sent us pictures and cards, we love the updates and pray your hearts will be open to the hand of the Lord in your lives in 2010--May God Bless You!