Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I will be taking the next few days off. I have a visit from my brother, a New Years Eve dessert buffet to set up tonight and the organizing bug has hit. The sun is shining brightly here and that is not a wonder to waste! I am coming up on my one year anniversary of blogging and I can honestly say it has added a lot of fun and joy to my life. I still say bloggers are the kindest, most creative and giving people you can find:>) I wish you all the happiest most joyful year ever! May it be filled to the brim with personal growth, creative epiphanies, fulfilled wishes and dreams and the courage and discipline to change your life for the better! I have missed you all the past week, hope to see more of you soon:>)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A fresh start. That is what the day after Christmas always feels like to me. The calm after the storm so to speak. Not that Christmas is a storm in a bad way but there is pressure to get everything done and make it magical for the people you live with. Today, it's all new, bright sunshine, cold but no wind, no agendas, no long to do lists, no pressure. Ahhhh, just the warm glow of happy family and a successful Christmas celebration and a New Year with fresh beginnings to look forward to. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We have one more family party this weekend, one that we always look forward to. We don't exchange gifts so there is nothing to do but make something yummy to take and visit with the extended family, which in this family is a bit silly because we are so close there is no "extension" to it. Today we went out to lunch at a delicious new restaurant with our girls, a little clean up, a movie and the book store tonight (just to hang out with coffee and the latest magazines.) Tomorrow, I am having a Johhny Depp film festival with my niece and just putting my feet up (eat your heart out Mrs G!) On another note, in all the hullabaloo of Christmas the winter solstice was completely ignored. I am not heavily into the solstice or anything but it bears mention that from now on the days are getting LONGER instead of shorter every day and for a sunshine junkie like me that is a BIG deal! Yay! So on that note, I will leave you to go enjoy the sunshine and the feeling of freedom that this day after Christmas brings. I hope you all enjoy your new beginnings too!

Monday, December 24, 2007

I just wanted to stop in and quickly finish my advent postings since I was too busy to do it yesterday:>)
The fourth Sunday of advent the Shepherd candle is lit, it also stands for Love and sharing Christ. On Christmas eve a white candle is lit in remembrance that Jesus Christ is the light if the world.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory for your people Israel. Luke 2: 30-32
I am wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Joy, Peace, Hope, Love and Light be yours this Christmas and throughout the year:>)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The tree part 2

Last week I promised to show you some more of our Christmas tree. These are some family ornaments that Earl and I made for each of our family members. This first one is Earls grandfathers baby picture. Isn't it adorable? This was the first one we did and didnt realize we needed to solder over the copper foil. I kind of like the copper color with the sepia tone photo though so it will probably stay that way until it falls apart and has to be redone.
This is a photo of me at about 7 years old. One of my school pictures in fact.
This makes me laugh, it is Earls mom and dad on their wedding day. They eloped! I love the look on Dad's face:>)

This is also one of my favorites, it is a picture of Earl and his sisters and cousins all sitting around his Uncle Art in his uniform. (Remember the live pheasant? Uncle Art is the scamp who left it for us!) Earls cousin Rick is the kid in the lower right hand corner with the glasses. If you click on the picture you can see he looks just like Ralphie in the movie "A Christmas Story"! We tease him about it all the time:>)
And this is the tree all set up in the living room before I got gifts wrapped and set up around it.
I love all the home made ornaments, the glittery stars,the little toys that work, the birds and the antique ornaments we inherited from Earls grandparents. It is certainly an eclectic tree but it kind of shows all our interests and loves. I hope you enjoyed it
I am counting the days to Christmas now and am feeling a bit burned out creatively. I hope I can just relax now and enjoy the next week. I can't believe how quickly Christmas will be here and then over! So much anticipation and focus and's over, so I intend to wring every last bit of joy out of this week that I can. I hope you can sit down, find some time for reflection and relaxation in this busy week, and really enjoy this last week of Christmas:>)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Third week of Advent ~ JOY!

The third week of Advent we celebrate the Joy of the coming King. The pink candle is lit and we remember the angels message of good news:>) We had our Advent tea tonight. Youngest daughter did the honors and it was delicious!
Victoria made these baked baby bella mushrooms stuffed with sausage and parmesan cheese, recipe here. a delightful platter of persimmons and sliced bosc pears to go with a baked brie, and her handmade cream puffs filled with chocolate and vanilla custard! It was all beautiful and delicious. Victoria is 17, am I proud of her? Well, yeah! I wish you all joy in the coming weeks:>)


( PHOTO Courtesy of

I have been tagged by Adrienne Of "With A Grateful Heart" and Penny of "Lavender Hill Studio" to reveal 12 random Christmas things about myself that you don't know.

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas
2. Please refer to it as a 'HOOPLA' and not the dreaded 'm'-word (I think this means meme)

3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.
So here are my 12 Random Christmas Things:

1. I prefer a live tree. When I was little, my family Christmas was not all that great. My step-dad had a "thing" about Christmas and made it as miserable as possible for all of us. I was the one who insisted on Christmas decorations and the tree. We cut our own back then too and it was fairly miserable but for some reason, my step-dad always gave me the final word on the perfect tree. Nobody else cared that much but we would not stop looking or cut a tree until I had pronounced that this is the one. One of the few indulgences I had as a child. I am still picky, but my daughters choose now, and they are as choosey as I was!

2. I prefer wrapped boxes to gift bags. I think it is too easy to peek in a bag and I love the square packages tied with pretty ribbon.

3. I am still the driving force behind decorating and celebrating Christmas. Anyone else wonder what Christmas would be like if you just sat back and put your feet up and left it to someone else?

4. I have only one rule for gifts, no appliances!

5. It wouldn't be Christmas without candles. I burn enough to heat the house!

6. One of my favorite Christmas movies is "The Bishops Wife" with Carey Grant and Loretta Young.

7. I don't remember ever believing in Santa.

8. I love wrapping gifts. I love making them really pretty with tags and ribbon and foof. I buy lots of wired and pretty ribbon and re-use it from year to year.

9. One of my favorite things about Christmas is sitting in the living room with a nice cup of coffee or tea and watching Christmas movies by the glow of the tree and candles. If it is snowy out all the better.

10. I hate taking down the decorations as a job, but each year at New Years I take it all down and relish the clean fresh look for the new year.

11. One of my favorite Christmas memories is when the girls were little and we told them they couldn't wake us up until 6 a.m. We would hear them get up, whisper, giggle, filling our stockings, more giggling, ask each other what time it was (we were awake listening and laughing!) and then when they knew it was time they would "surprise" us by playing a carol on the piano.

12. We don't have a big Christmas dinner. We do a fancy Christmas breakfast, with chocolate stuffed French toast, fresh fruit and sparkling juice. We open our stockings at the table and then move on to presents. Then we get together with extended family(aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma) for a potluck and more gifts. Very relaxed and happy. We all bring our best dish and snack and chat and have a great time.
I am going to pass this on to Rhonda of "Farmhouse Style". Happy Chirstmas to all of you. I will post my Advent celebration later tonight:>)

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Pheasant is no more.....

No, it's not what you think! We have not served poor pheasant in an elegant dish under glass! The little dickens escaped:>) I went out last night to take care of the chickens and the pheasant had picked his shackles apart (I had his leg tethered with twine to an inside part of the coop so he could move around, get to his food and water and not fly out when I opened the door....that didn't work so well!) and flew over my head into the neighbors evergreen tree. Very pretty, like the Christmas trees you see decorated with, er, pheasant feathers, but with the bird attached. So at least I dont have to fret about that anymore. I hope Uncle wont be cranky but it was an accident:>) I also wanted to ask if anyone has seen this magazine....
What a great idea! I found this at JoAnne Fabrics last night and it's great! A lifestyle magazine with a Christian perspective. Decorating,
As well as baking, a two month bible reading calender, articles by Dobson, Gary Smalley and Joyce Meyer and just all kinds of beautiful eye candy and wonderful articles. You can find out more about it here. I have missed Karlas what do you love about your holiday home party. I did get to visit quite a few homes but no time to post. I will have a bit more time this weekend and hopefully next week to show a little bit more of my home and, of course my advent posting. Have a wonderful weekend and a big thank you to everyone who has been taking the time in this busy season to continue to share their life and home through their blogs:>)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thank you Jenn & Jacqui :>)

Whew! It has been a whirlwind couple of days and I am sadly behind in acknowleging the lovely Nice Matters award that Jenn and Jacqui gave me a few days ago. Thank you! I have enjoyed J&J since the very first time I found them, or they found me, I really can't remember how it happened, but they are two of the kindest and most fun people I have met blogging! Don't you just love them and their visits? I do! I cannot wait to see what marvelous things they do with the new apartment they are moving into. I know it will be beautiful:>) Thank you Jenn & Jacqui! I would like to pass this along to Mary at Little Red House who is also just one of the nicest people around and who always makes me smile with her visits:>) I could really pass this to all of you! I haven't met a mean or surly blogger yet and I always look forward to hearing from you. It is like having a network of pen pals but I don't have to wait for the mail. Thank you all for your visits and comments, you all make this a very fun thing to do!

As I mentioned it has been a very busy weekend and the week looks like it isn't slowing down. Sunday our church had its big Christmas celebration. We rented the local Jr. High to accommodate all the people (about 400!) and then hosted a dessert buffet after the program. It was just beautiful! We have some very musically talented people at our church and the whole thing was so wonderful I just smiled through the entire thing! I helped set up the buffet and several of us decorated tables and dessert stations. This is one of the tables I decorated with an angel I made a few years ago.

This little beauty isn't mine but I just love it! Isn't it just beautiful? This lady had two little vintage church centerpieces like this. I was horribly covetous and had to repent several times!

This is one of the dessert tables. The plate of Chocolate covered cheesecake bites were made by my darling husband, They were scrumptious, as were all the desserts (although I did NOT personally try all of them! At least I didn't have to repent for that!) When the program was done we helped clean up and were there very late!
Monday after work we STARTED our Christmas shopping. I got 4 whole gifts! Woohoo! We are also in the unenviable position of needing to look for a vehicle to replace the one that was totalled in November. We had a loaner from a friend for most of the month but he is on his way to Florida to live now and needed it back. We just got the insurance check to replace it yesterday. Car shopping just before Christmas, oh yeah I need that! We will be looking for a mini van to replace the one I had. Just a few more years of needing one for family outings and trips and then something smaller and more fuel efficient.

One funny thing. A couple weeks ago Earls Uncle called and wanted to know if I wanted some pheasant feathers. He is a hunter and I said sure,I would love some feathers for crafts. He brought them last night while we were shopping. They are still attached to the pheasant. The live pheasant. It looks like we will be having pheasant for dinner soon. I will not be dispatching the poor thing myself. Either darling husband will find time to "harvest" it or I will have the loveliest pet pheasant.....and how is your week going?

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I failed to mention in last weeks post that the first Candle of advent symbolizes Hope, or a period of waiting for The birth of Jesus and His return someday. The second Sunday of Advent we light the peace candle and prepare our hearts for the Christ Child. I am going to concentrate on having peace with my fellow man this week. I have caught myself losing a bit of my "Christmas Spirit" this week as I rushed around and fought with crazy drivers and holiday traffic. (Why is it that everyone is so much more agressive driving this time of year?) I can't let the hustle and bustle take away my peace, and I need to lean on God when I feel myself losing it! This week I wish you all the peace of God that passes all understanding. It is peace that only God can give us.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We interrupt the Christmas tree to bring you...

The ornament swap I got today!!!! I am in an ornament swap with Alice of Inspired Tokens and my package arrived today! It was just in time. I had a bad start to the day. I am using a car borrowed from a friend while we deal with the insurance company and wait for a check for our totalled out van (November 4, post). Well, I went out and started it to get it warmed up, came inside and got ready and when I went to get in the car the doors were locked! And the car was running. And I had to call my boss and ask her to pick me up (I only work a mile down the road) I forgot that our friend had said that the car locks itself when the keys are in it (who is the dork who designed that feature!?) And I had to pay someone $50 to get it unlocked because my friend lives an hour and a half away and couldn't leave work to rescue me which I totally understand! Anyway, after a long hard day and much self flagellation for being stupid enough to do that I came home to this...
This amazing, beautiful, wonderful, glittering, gorgeous box of goodness! All wrapped in tulle and satin ribbon. I am in awe! I unwrapped the tulle and found this.
This beautiful box of all my favorite things. Toile, glitter, stars, glitter, toile, well I am just about speechless with joy! How gorgeous, this would have been enough, but wait, there's more!

This beautiful cone filled with peppermint kisses and sticks (which I immediately began eating, hey, I was hungry!) Isn't it just amazing?
These gorgeous handmade moravian star ornaments (did I get that right? They are moravian stars aren't they?) and a beautiful glittered K which can be displayed after Christmas too, I think by my desk:>) I wish photos captured glitter better! Aren't those stars wonderful? I would love to know how to make them!
This tag is so pretty! Alice you are amazing:>)
And what do I love almost as much as glitter? Chocolate! And aren't these almost too pretty to open?! I will be very careful and save the wrappers, but I WILL open them! As if that is not enough, there. is. more!!!

Four beautiful glass ornaments which I immediately put on my tree. Aren't they divine? Alice, thank you from the bottom of my heart! What a perfect, beautiful, generous gift from a wonderful, sweet blogger friend! I immediately put the beautiful box under my tree where it catches the light and just glows with prettiness. I love it all:>)

Oh Christmas Tree...

I am going to show you a few pictures of the tree all decorated. I like to really fill it up. Earl collects birds, the girls collect snowflakes and a few other things, I collect sparkling stars and anything with GLITTER! I really can't say the tree is finished, I might be able to squeeze a few more decorations on, and I didn't use them all! Not by a long shot!
one of the things we like to collect is ornaments that represent toys, especially ones that actually move. This little Santa was given to us by Earls mom the first year we were married, I guess that makes him "vintage"! He has lost his feet but I still think he is adorable.
This little cow is this years "toy that moves" to add to the collection. When you pull her tail her legs move. SO cute.
This is the first in a set of family photo ornaments that Earl and I have made over the years. This is a baby picture of Earl's grandfather. I just love it.
and this is one of the vintage ornaments that belonged to Grandpa. I love this silver bird, I don't know if it is one of the things that sparked Earl's interest in collecting birds for the Christmas tree but it is certainly beautiful. I will share some more of Grandpa's ornaments and more from our tree later today. Right now I have to finish getting ready for work!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cutting the tree

We are a live tree family. Nothing but a live tree for us! Every year we make the trek to our favorite Christmas tree farm and look for the perfect tree, and let me tell you, if that takes an hour and looking at 400 trees with a critical eye, well that's what it takes! Our favorite tree farm has a little shed that serves hot cocoa and cookies and sells the tops of the trees to decorate your childrens room.
It has a fun hayride to take you out to whatever field has the perfect Christmas tree this are the girls waiting for their ride:>)
Of course, this Sunday it was grey and foggy and a little misty, nothing to worry about really. The weather would hold while we chose our tree.
And here it is. we found it within 15 minutes! Wonderful husband does the cutting and hauling, because that is man work and we don't do it. We are really only there to obsess about the perfection of the tree! Aren't men great though?

This is where the pictures end because about 30 seconds later the skies opened up and we were absolutley drenched in a winter downpour! It was only about 38 degrees out there! We ran to the warming shed (they have one in each field! YAY!) and waited for the wagon to come pick us up. After the tree spent the day on the front porch drying out, we set it up last night. It isnt fully decorated yet, I will share when it is, but I can honestly say, it's the perfect tree:>)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,

The first Sunday of Advent. When I was growing up in the Protestant church, I don't remember anything ever being said much about Advent. I didn't really know anything about the symbols or traditions of Advent until I was an adult and looking for a way to focus more on the birth of Christ than on gifts and Santa while raising my girls.
Now, and since they were little, we celebrate every Sunday night of Advent with a special family meal, candles, soft Christmas music and discussions of what the season means. By the way, I made a pretty advent wreath out of ornaments for this year. I love how glittery it is:>) Now that the girls are older, we each take a Sunday and plan the meal and decorations. This year, Earl took the first meal and made Moroccan lamb stew in homemade multi grain bread bowls, goat cheese and crackers, Sparkling pear juice, and to end the meal....

This scrumptious rustic apple tart. Yes, I can actually cook too....but why?

A happy first day of Advent to all of you. May the coming season of love touch you all and bring you joy:>)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The progressive dinner

Well, I hate to say it but I didn't get pictures of most of the dinner, mostly because I feel weird doing a photo shoot at other peoples houses while there is a party going on:>) But I did get a few pictures of our house, after the party! The house was festooned....

The Candles were lit...

The table was made ready...

and Earl made some orange ginger mini cheesecakes ... (recipe here )

After the party there were a few left, we finished them off today:>)

It was a great party and everything was delicious! We had so many appetizers at the first house I could have done without the dinner portion, but the pot roast with herbs and red skin scalloped potatoes were divine! I had to have some:>) Dessert and coffee were the cheesecake bites, an upside down pumpkin pie and a chocolate cake that I can't even describe other than to say it had everything you could possibly want in a dessert!
We planned on cutting our Christmas tree this morning but youngest daughter woke up feeling very sick! (she didn't attend the dinner so that wasnt it!) she is feeling better now and I am hopeing we can go tomorrow after church. Unfortunately I think it is supposed to rain so I hope it holds off for a while so we can get the tree!

I also have a few little hints of what I sent off for my Ornament swap partner, Alice at Inspired Tokens.

A little something fun and sparkly, I can't show the rest of the package because I was so focused on getting it wrapped and sent today (the deadline!) that I didn't get it photographed, so hopefully when she gets it Alice will take some pictures I can use to show you:>)
Tomorrow is the first day of Advent and I will be participating in Britt- Arnhilds Advent party. Britt lives in Norway and is celebrating the holy season with fellow Bloggers from all over. Take a look! I'll see you all tomorrow night:>)

As Victoria (youngest daughter) points out in the comments, I did have some major help in preparing the house. My girls are always willing and wonderful about helping out with parties. We are a team and I appreciate their help and their encouragement in so many areas more than I can say! I love you girls!:>)