Why I “Count it all Joy” Wednesday

Welcome to Why I Count It All Joy Wednesday!!  To join in on all the JOY, grab my button for your post, make your own JOY list, and link up below this post so others will be able to find your blog!!  Don’t forget to post a link on your blog back to me!!
I am filled with JOY because Jesus Loves ME!!!
I am filled with JOY because all my kids were here for dinner last night.  The grown ones, the not so grown ones, the granddaughter, all of us!!!  It happens a lot but it never ceases to fill me with JOY!!
I am filled with JOY because this will be a three day weekend and we will all be here again!!
I am filled with JOY because I got to make the cupcakes for the gender revealing party for Loren’s daughter!!  It’s a BOY and it was so exciting!!
I am filled with JOY because even though some things are happening with our family that are not exactly like we had planned or envisioned, God has a plan and we know that all things work for good to those who love the Lord, and WE DO!!!
I am filled with JOY because my sweet hubby is building me a shoe/coat bench in my laundry room and it is going to be amazing!!
I am filled with JOY because I lost my mom a year ago last Thursday, buried her a year ago yesterday, and even though it is hard, I have such loving and supportive friends and an amazing family who puts up with me and loves me even when I am sad and testy!!
I am filled with JOY because I serve The God of Peace, The God of Love, The God of Mercy, The God of Understanding, and He doesn’t complain about the long hours He puts in because of me and mine!!
I am filled with JOY because the message series at church has been Toxic (toxic words, toxic relationships, toxic religion, toxic thoughts, and toxic influences) lately and it has been so good, I just wish everyone was hearing it!!
I am filled with JOY because you all help me spread JOY!!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.  James 1:2
What is filling you with JOY these days??
Counting it all Joy!!

The Cupcake SAGA - pt 5

We got up early and headed to San Diego for some sight seeing and the harbor excursion we had been blessed with, free, thanks to a guy Dan works!!  So  many blessings on this trip!!  What an awesome God we serve!!  And last but definitely not least some CUPCAKES!!
We were so excited, our first stop was going to be Little Italy.  Oh my, Italy is at the top of my list of places to go, so anything remotely close, is exciting.  I wasn’t sure if we would be finding any ITALIAN cupcakes, but I was definitely willing to try some!!  We must have looked like tourist (couldn’t have been the amazed look of our faces or the large camera around my neck) because a local man stopped us and asked where we were from.  He started telling us all kinds of things about the area and recommended a local restaurant he thought the boys would enjoy.  We took his advice, and headed to  Filippi’s Pizza Grotto!! 

It was so cool.  You walk in through a very authentic Italian market with a cheese counter and fresh pasta you can buy.  Then we came to the restaurant part, which was cool too.  You could see into the whole kitchen and watch the chef, now that’s our kind of restaurant.  We were seated and everything looked and sounded so good that before it was over, we had ordered way too much food.  Oh well, we knew we wouldn’t be eating again for quite a while, so we stuffed ourselves, good thing we were going to be walking a lot!!!  Pizza, ravioli, pasta shells with a humongous meatball, and a foot-long meatball sandwich, not to mention the free bread they serve first!!  Yummy!!  There was also an old Italian man sitting at a booth across the restaurant from us and I got such a kick out of him with his heavy Italian accent and the way he carried on!!

This little business cracked me up with the matching car in front!!

Loved this old house in the middle of Little Italy

After leaving the restaurant, we walked around a bit and eventually found a beautiful old cathedral.  I was so excited to look in it, I love all the detail.  I walked up the steps with my camera ready, the door was open just a bit, so I knew it was okay to go in (we’ve done this in other cities).  Just as I pulled on the door to open it, MASS let out!!  It was the middle of the day and it was a weekday, I guess I didn’t realize they had lunch time mass for people who work!!  Imagine my surprise when there were tons of people headed straight for me and I appeared to be taking a picture of them.  I about died, of course Dan and the boys were getting quite a kick out of it.  Oh well, definitely not the craziest thing I’ve ever done...  I will be thinking long and hard before entering another cathedral though!!  Needless to say, I didn't get a picture of it!!
A view of the bay

On to the Harbor Excursion, a tour of the San Diego bay on a huge boat!!  We saw lots of huge Navy ships, sail boats, The Star of India, several old timey pirate ships, and tons of sea lions!  That was totally cool, the boys really got a kick out of it.  The tour took us down and under the Coronado Bridge.  This bridge is the only way to get to Coronado Island and I wanted to go there, they had CUPCAKES, but bridges are just about my least favorite thing, right up there with windy mountain roads on a stormy, rainy night, so I searched the internet long and hard for another cupcake place!  Imagine my excitement when I found Cupcakes Squared and it was only a few miles from where we parked to go on the Excursion!!  I was loving the excursion and all the sights, but I was ready to get back to the car and head for cupcakes.

The people who own these boats, live on them.  There is a 2-3 year waiting list to rent a buoy to anchor to and live.  I was shocked that these people pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month to rent a tiny buoy and a little bit of water.

Loved these old style pirate ships

Unconditional Surrender!!  I’ve seen pictures of this my whole life, was really cool to see it in person!!

The sea lions were out in abundance.  This one was really fat!!

A mad dash across town and HUGE disappointment, they are closed on Mondays and you guessed it, it was Monday!!  The truth of the matter though is Dan and the boys were dying to go across that BRIDGE, so I think they had secretly been praying for a closed shop so they could talk me into the trip across.  With a tiny bit of coaxing and a huge promise to produce cupcakes, I agreed to go.  Just a tad terrified, but I agreed.  It was a little weird as we entered the bridge, to see them moving the center lane dividers, apparently they do that at heavy traffic time to make one side have more lanes.  I had never seen anything like it, but for a minute it got my mind off the fact that I was even on that 2 1/2 mile bridge.  The rest of the time it was pretty much a 2 1/2 mile prayer!!

This is only a small part of the bridge.  It is 2 1/2 miles long and SCARY!!

Off the bridge and the cupcakes weren’t far away!!  Coronado Cupcakes!!  A little whole in the wall, no seating, just lots of cupcakes with funky names, to go - my kind of place!!  There was lots to choose from, so after a long while, we picked ours and headed to the car, forks in hand.
Here’s the run down!!

Isaac with his Chai Spice Marianne - Chai Spice cake with unknown frosting, we couldn’t even figure it out so who knows!!  He said it was dry but had good flavor!!

Adam with his - DUH!!!  Velvet Valerie (has anyone figured out what his favorite is???)  Red Velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting!!  All he said was YUCK!!

Drew with his Black Bottom Betty - It was a layered cupcake, chocolate bottom, chocolate chip top with red piped frosting!!  He said Delicious!!  I think everyone liked this one!!

Dan with his Mama Rosa - Chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache frosting and bavarian cream filling.  He also said good but a little dry!!  Cream filling was similar to mine!!

Me with my Mexican Maria - Joke of the day, I read it wrong and ordered a Mexican Marla and really got teased about it because Marla isn’t Mexican!!  It was a mexican chocolate cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting!!  Again flavor good but dry!!

After the cupcakes, we walked around the island a bit, it was really neat, would love to stay there sometime but from what I hear it is extremely expensive.  They told us the smallest houses there were 10-15 million dollars!!  Just a tad out of my budget!!  So we decided to move on, unfortunately, that meant back across the bridge, UGH!!  I have to say it was better the first time, I had my eye on the prize!!  Another 2 1/2 mile prayer and I was back on solid ground and thanking the Lord for protection!!
We headed to a part of town called Hillcrest because we had seen it on Food Network and they said it was the culinary capital of San Diego.  You know we love food, so why not!!  WELL, we were in for a big surprise, let’s just say, it wasn’t the part of town we wanted our boys to be spending time in!!!  SOOOOO, we headed to Indigo Grill, owner, a well known head chef we have watched on Food Network.  We were definitely not disappointed!!  The food was amazing and our waiter was fabulous.  He BLESSED us with an appetizer and an amazing desert, HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!  With all the food we ordered, we were stuffed once again only this time it was kind of late, so we headed back to the hotel for the night!!
Baked Brie with all the extras - OMGosh this was awesome!!
Stuffed Chicken - Dan and I shared and it was still too much!!

Ribs for Drew with a Corn Pudding that was to die for!!

Adam and Isaac shared Nachos and they were huge and definitely the be nachos ever!!  They were really different and I have craved them since!!

This was the fabulous desert we were blessed with - a pan browning with caramel and chocolate molten center, ice cream and the chocolate mold on top - Can You Say “Can we have another!!!”

A trip to Italy, lots of sightseeing, a long boat ride, sea lions, full tummies from tons of amazing food, and CUPCAKES all in one day - we were exhausted and looking forward to tomorrow, no plans except hopefully some cupcakes and a relaxing day at the beach.
As the Cupcake Saga continues, I am wondering if we are going to find an “to die for” cupcakes, you know the kind you talk about to your friends??  So far, we have had some good ones, some okay ones, and even some “I wouldn’t eat those again” ones, but where are the “I gotta have another one” ones???  Obviously, still searching!!!

Don’t forget tomorrow is my JOYfilled Wednesday post!!  Grab my button, make your list, and come back and link up so everyone can read your JOY!!

Counting it all Joy!!

The Cupcake SAGA - pt 4

If you are just stopping in and haven’t read the first parts of The Cupcake Saga, click part 1part 2, and part 3 .
Ok so we got up early the next morning, to Drew’s phone alarm and my phone still wasn’t working, UGH!!!  I googled to find an AT&T store and was thrilled to learn there was one pretty close.  We set off to get that fixed first and then we knew the days agenda would be some time at the beach, some time sightseeing, and definitely a cupcake, it had been almost 48 hours since our last one and we were on a mission to see how many cupcakes were as good as or better than mine.  I had a huge decision to make and lately I wasn’t making much progress.
We arrived at the AT&T store and immediately found out the problem was more than likely water damage and Apple Care or not, it wasn’t covered therefore, I would have to go to the Apple Store and replace it which would cost a little over $200.  Oh my, was I upset.  We got to the Apple Store they said was closest and they told us they didn’t have any appointments available so I would have to go to a different store or come back later in the week.  HELLO, not to be rude or anything, but we are miles from home, my grown kids aren’t with us and might need me, I really need to be able to read a blog or two when I get the chance, and  waiting that long really wasn’t going to work very well.  That being said, we made an appointment for the next closest store and headed out.  We grabbed lunch at a local hamburger joint that was right by the beach, they had a famous breakfast burrito that Drew decided to try even though it was lunch time.  It was incredible, at least 3 pounds of eggs, hashbrowns, sausage links, salsa, and I don’t even know what else, even though he’s a growin’ college kid, he couldn’t even finish it!!  
Again the restaurant was WAY dirtier than this, somewhat germaphobe, would like, but the food ended up being really good and I always pray really hard, LOL!!  
Again headed to the Apple Store and by this point I was feeling pretty guilty that it was the first full day in California and we were wasting WAY too much time dealing with my phone.  The JOY, I have a wonderful family who were extremely patient and continued to say, we have all week to play Mom, this is no big deal and we are seeing things we wouldn’t have seen while we drive from store to store!!!  They are wonderful!!
While wandering and waiting for the appointment, we drove down the Coast Highway - can you say AWESOME!!  God’s beauty as far as you can see!!  We drove through fancy areas and surfy areas, but all beautiful in its own way!!

Third store was a charm, to say the least!!  The girl who helped me explained that if she took the phone apart and two of the four water detectors were tripped she would have to charge me for a new phone.  She also said from the exterior it did appear that two of them were, again UGH!!!  I’m thinking, “I guess my souvenir will be a new phone”  I wasn’t too thrilled about this, I had only had this one since May.  We waited around while she checked it and I prayed, when she came back, she said, “there ARE two tripped but the ones inside aren’t and I am really supposed to charge you, but I’m not going to.”  I pretty much shouted Hallelujah right there in the middle of the store, she looked at me like I was a weirdo, and I got my new phone and left that store praising Jesus that even though we had to go to three cities and three different stores, His hand was so in it and I ended up with a HUGE blessing!!  Day three of our trip and so far, we had previously been given free cupcakes and a now free $200 phone!!  This was going to be a good day, I could tell!!
We headed straight for the beach, of course we were in our normal clothes, but we didn’t want to waste anymore time, so we were content just walking at the edge of the water and enjoying each other and the beauty of the Lord’s creation!!  We also love just watching people, you know the ones who obviously don’t do much but lay at the beach, the cute families who are probably vacationing, and the surfers are super cool.  

We loved this grandma in her Monster Truck Wheel Chair made especially for going to the beach.

After leaving the beach, we headed straight to the cupcake shop we had found previously that had been closed.  Today was Sunday and it was the middle of the day, they had to be open and surely they still had cupcakes.  Our luck hadn’t been good lately, but I was really believing for a cupcake.  A mad dash across town and YAY, they are open.  We entered and I thought it was so cute, all pink and little girlish, and the cupcakes looked really good too.  Everyone ordered their pick and we, as usual, grabbed forks and headed to the car to share all five.  
We were pretty excited to actually have cupcakes again and I had even heard of this place before, so I felt they had to be pretty good.  They were all decorated pretty which matters to me!!  I think everything tastes better if it is plated or decorated pretty, but I know I am weird like that, LOL!!  Here goes, a run down of my cheesy family and their cupcake of choices.
Dan with his piled high German Chocolate - he really liked it and over all I think it was the best one we tried from there.

Me - when I saw this cupcake, I really wanted to try it but the lady said it was called Chocolate Sin, I wasn’t too crazy about that, but then she said it was her favorite so I decided to forget about the name and just enjoy it!!!  I so should have gone with my first instinct - anything with SIN in it can’t be very good, it was extremely dry and the icing was hard!!  Oh well, I had four others to try!!

Drew picked Nana Nut - the cake part was really good, wasn’t too crazy about the cream cheese frosting with it though!!

Adam as usual picked Red Velvet, before it is over with, I think he will know who has the best Red Velvet in the country!!  He thought it tasted like chocolate cake with way too much food coloring in it!!  I love it when I hear technical things about baking from my guys!!  They listen well!!

Isaac picked Lemon Cream Pie and it was good!!  Filled with Lemon curd!!  He’s not much on chocolate, he almost always goes for the fruit!!

Over all, it was a good cupcake experience, and I was gaining some knowledge to help make that decision!!  Family vote was mine are way better than any we have tried so far, but they are my family so...
Okay, now Thai food for dinner, and swimming, for the boys, in the hotel pool, which was absolutely freezing.  Drew and I sat by a fire while Adam and Isaac swam in the so called “heated” pool, then to bed at a decent time.  We had a big day planned for tomorrow, a harbor excursion tour of the San Diego Bay, a couple of restaurants we had been told to try, and whatever cupcakes we chose.  There were several places I knew about and wanted to try, but I also knew we would have to pick, that’s always a challenge.
All in all it was a great day, good food at Angelo’s, an iphone blessing, fun people watching and walking on the beach, and end the day with more good food and a cupcake, now that’s my kind of day!!
So The Cupcake Saga continues...
How long has it been since your last cupcake???
Counting it all Joy!!

Why I “Count it all Joy” Wednesday

Welcome to Why I Count It All Joy Wednesday!!  To join in on all the JOY, grab my button for your post, make your own JOY list, and link up below this post so others will be able to find your blog!!  Don’t forget to post a link on your blog back to me!!
I am filled with JOY because everyone seems to be enjoying The Cupcake Saga posts!!  
I am filled with JOY because I received a book to review in the mail today and it is by one of my very favorite authors!!  Yay!!
I am filled with JOY because Loren and her family came to church with us on Saturday evening and then we went to dinner!!  Always lots of fun and laughter!!!
I am filled with JOY because my husband is so talented, he never ceases to amaze me!!
I am filled with JOY because after dinner last night, we went to Peach Wave - a self serve frozen yogurt place, YUMMY!!  Almost as good as a cupcake!!
I am filled with JOY because out of all the accounting students at ORU, Drew’s professor from last year called and asked him to become an Accounting Lab Tech - with pay!!  He said he asked him because he had impressive test scores, turned in all his homework when he could have taken passes, was a very solid student that he could always count on in class, and he had also realized that he was very family oriented!!  Boy, he makes me proud!!
I am filled with JOY because when I went to the grocery store over the weekend, I found JOY!!!  It’s even in Pepsi!!

I am filled with JOY because no matter what my idea is, I have the most supportive, encouraging family!!  I just love 'em!!
I am filled with JOY because I have some really big decisions to make and the Lord is showing up and giving me direction, even if it is usually in the middle of the night!!
I am filled with JOY because JOY is contagious and some of you link up and help me spread it week after week!!
You will go out in JOY and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Isaiah 55:12
What is filling you with JOY this week?
Counting it all Joy!!

The Cupcake SAGA - pt 3

If you are just stopping in and haven’t read the first two parts of the Cupcake Saga click here for pt 1 and here for pt 2

After leaving Albuquerque and the cupcake blessing, we were pretty excited about this cupcake adventure.  I was still praying and believing for an answer to the Cupcake Wars dilemma, but at this point it was turning in to way more than whether or not I was going to be on the show or not.  I mean when you pray about something for months, feel like God has given you clear direction, then you are obedient to what you feel He is saying, and then it resurfaces months later in a huge way, including random ladies giving you cupcakes, you begin to wonder what is going on!!!
We were on to Phoenix, where we had hotel reservations for the night.  We knew we would be late getting there and we wanted to leave early to head into San Diego, we were really getting excited for the beach at this point.  We had been told, by a friend, about a restaurant in a little, unheard of town, so we decided to stop in and get some of the wonderful food he spoke of.  
OH MY, I am not sure what I was expecting, but not what we found.  It was an old route 66 town, a little speck on the map, but I was still shocked.  This place was not only tiny, but when we entered, it was so run down, it didn’t appear to be too clean, there was only one or two other groups in the whole place, and it was Friday night dinner time.  I really wanted to turn and run, but considering, what looked to be the owner, was sitting right inside the door in a booth AND she saw us and greeted us the minute we entered, it would have been a little awkward.  There wasn’t really anything else around, so saying we were in the wrong place, was out of the question.  Here goes then, a torn up booth in the corner and pray really hard over your food.  Note to self:  Have a long talk with, and never take the advice of the friend with the great dinner idea!!!  We ordered what the waiter said was the most popular and prayed!!!  I have to say though, we were VERY pleasantly surprised, what this placed lacked in charm and appearance, they made up for in food.  It was really good.  We were all stuffed by the time we left, the only negative, they didn’t have cupcakes anywhere in this TINY town!!  During the meal, the waiter told us there was a bad storm coming in and recommended a different highway for us to take.  Apparently the way we had mapped was somewhat dangerous on a good day, the road he preferred would be WAY safer.  Thank you Jesus for protection!!

WITHOUT cupcake in hand, we headed out.  We did find a neat little place - WigWam Motel - Just like The Cozy Cone on the movie Cars.

We traveled lots of twisty roads, in the dark, and I am pretty sure Dan’s right arm was bruised by the time we got out of the mountains from me either PATTING it or grabbing it to say “Slow Down”.  I’m not too big on those two lane mountain highways and this was the safest way, the way with the least curves and hills!!!
We made it to Phoenix, checked in, and crashed.  Up early, breakfast, and hit the road.  We had the first cupcake place of the day picked out.  We didn’t have a lot to pick from because once we left the city and surrounding suburbs, we would be in heavy desert for a LONG time.  We mapped the bakery, and then found out they wouldn’t be opening for a couple of hours, WHAT!?!?!  We were discouraged, but we headed out of town and decided we would google cupcakes all the way to our hotel in California and see what we came up with.  It was quite a ways so we just knew there would be several. Unfortunately, as we drove through the desert, and all the border check points, we didn’t find any cupcakes.  What’s up with that, don’t border patrol officers eat CUPCAKES??  

It was kind of weird driving down the highway with the US on our right and Mexico on our left.  I couldn’t believe it is really just separated with a black fence.  This fence ran beside the highway for miles and miles!!

I really couldn’t believe the randomness of the desert.  Miles and miles of nothing and then a house in the middle of nowhere, why would anyone pick this place to build or “move in” a house?  It would be a day trip just to get groceries and it was 110°.  Dan was sad for them because they obviously couldn’t buy ice cream very often, LOL!!  I thought it strange enough that there would be a random house miles from civilization, but I was really shocked at the Arby’s sitting way out in the desert, no where close to a city or anything else for that matter.
Random houses in the middle of nowhere, and 
these weren't even in the extreme desert parts!!

I loved this one!!  The house was again in the middle of nowhere, but they had built a church on the hill behind the house and it appeared it was only for them!!!

The cactus were huge and everywhere!!

We were driving through the desert and out of nowhere we were in the midst of some major sand dunes with a beautiful blue stream running between the dunes and the highway.

We made it to Del Mar (a small town a few miles from San Diego), and to our hotel.  We checked in and immediately asked how far to the beach!!!  We were told about a half mile up the street we would run into it.  We headed out on foot since we had been in the car for days, we walked and we walked and we walked.  Eventually, I said, did he say half a mile or a mile and a half???  We kept walking, finally we asked a guy directing traffic and he said, “Oh, you are almost there, just keep walking up over that hill and you will be able to SEE it.”  I think this would be the point I realized miles are longer in California!!  The JOY, we finally rounded that corner and could see the ocean, boy were we excited.  

Our first glimpse of the beach!!

Two of my very favorite things, Dan and the ocean!!!

I think this picture is really cool.  I love how you see our complete reflection in the wet sand!!

After a little time on the beach we headed back so we could find something to eat and grab a cupcake at the local cupcake shop we had already mapped!!!  The plan was to return to the hotel long enough to rinse off our sandy feet and head out.  During the rinse off, I dropped my iphone in the tub, thank the Lord it only got splashed since there wasn’t any standing water.  We dried it off, checked it out, and headed to dinner.  California Pizza, YUMMY!!  We were anxious to get to that cupcake shop, we hadn’t had one ALL day.  The great part was it was in the same shopping strip with the restaurant, the bad part was it was CLOSED!!  Okay, all the cupcake doors were closed today!!  Didn’t gain a lot of cupcake competition info today, but I did realize that these bakeries open and close at random times and if they sell out they close instead of making more!!!  Interesting!!
With some minor cupcake withdrawals, we headed to the hotel and to bed.  Unfortunately, when I tried to set the alarm on my phone, it wouldn’t light up anymore, UGH, maybe it got wetter than I thought!!!
Big plans for tomorrow, get my phone fixed, for sure find some cupcakes, and spend time at the beach!!!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:6-7

More on the cupcake saga at the end of the week.

Don’t forget tomorrow is Why I Count it all Joy Wednesday!!!  Grab my button, make your list, and don’t forget to come back and link up!!!  
Counting it all Joy!!