It is hard to believe that we are already this far into 2008. These first few weeks of the year always seem like a good time for a fresh beginning and to tackle bad habits. What will the new year have in store for us? May God be our guide and may His great power help us throughout the year.We had quite a snow and ice storm at the coming of the New Year. We received around 19" inches of snow with five to six foot drifts in some places. We had enough snow that the children could slide right down into our old basement which has still not been filled in. The old house basement is still open and part of the house is still sitting on wheels beside it. As soon as the ground is frozen and some of the snow melts we'd like to move it. With all the snow and ice over the past month it would have been impossible to move it. It will be so nice when that basement hole is filled!

We attended the Coblentz family (my mother's side) Christmas gathering at sister Liz and Levi's. With a two and a half hour drive we were sure glad the snow and ice held off. Ourfamily has added some new members since last year's gathering. We are now a total of 63. Dear father and mother are always thought of and I sometimes wonder what they would say about our family's increasing size.

Of course, sister Emma and Jacob brought 5-month-old Steven along to the gathering. He's one of the new arrivals since last year. Dad and Mom have two great-granddaughters now, which is hard to believe. Also nephew Ben and his wife made it to the gathering all the way from Wisconsin. They had an eight to nine hour ride. As always there was more than enough food: barbecued chicken, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade bread, cheese, noodles, vegetables, and carrot salad allwere on the menu. I brought a homemade white cake, a party mix, and fresh vegetables with dip. After the meal, games were played and singing and visiting was done.

It was nice to be all together but it sure felt good to be back home in Michigan. Good old home sweet home. With all the snow the children had an extra day home from school. Husband Joe had two weeks off from work and will return to his job tomorrow.

Last night 8-year-old Benjamin made a snow and ice sculpture of a horse. It really looked cute. What we didn't know was that after dark he brought it into one of the back-rooms of our house so that the rain would not melt it. This morning he went to go look for it and he said it is gone, that it must have run away during the night. It left a nice sized puddle where it was with temperatures in the 40s now. Benjamin has such a big imagination.

He also made a hen out of ice and snow and was bringing in little "eggs" but it seemed the eggs always melted.

Our thoughts are with Joe's 94-year-old grandmother who was in the hospital this week. We wish her a complete recovery. Meanwhile, I've had some readers asking me for a good casserole recipe to fix during these cold months. Try this one!

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