Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve!

It's the end of the 2009 ride and a fun time for reflecting.

We'll be:

Putting out our shoes for the bottom-of-the-bag visit from Santa Claus

Staying up as late as we can with extended family playing and eating.

Making cookies to take to the above eating, playing fest.

Making and eating clam chowder to make it seem as though the coast is not quite so far away. (And of course realizing that it is)
Enjoying each other
One final comment from the mouth of my eldest babe: "I don't like sliding on big slides. It's scary to me." to which I responded, "Yes, but you did it and it wasn't so bad was it?" "Oh yeah, I did."
Looking back on this year there are are things that were scary and/or that we didn't want to do. Now that it's done--you know it wasn't so bad.

I got a wonderful gift this Christmas. It's the above book. It's a story that combines the natural world (in a magical sense), Santa, and the nativity. I love those things and think they all belong to Christmas. So I was delighted to unwrap it Christmas morning. Santa is worn down by Christmas preparations and takes a nap by a tree. The animals come and think Christmas has come early, then that it won't come at all. Santa's sets them straight and he tells them the nativity from the perspective of the shepherds. Then the animals help Santa with preparations and a renewed Santa carries on. It's not a dazzling in your face kind of a book. It's a quiet book. I have noticed my little man picking it up from time to time and looking through it. Studying it. I love it.
The other part of the story is that I just discovered this story about 3 weeks ago in a library foray. My dearest didn't know that, but selected it for me just the same. Not from a list, but from his heart. Thank you my love!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Show and Tell

Just a few things to show and tell. Black bags for the kids to carry a notebook and pens(and whatever else they decide they need to. I'm really pleased with how these turned out. I had a shop put the snaps on. It's a split bag so it has 2 pockets, made of cotton duck for sturdiness, and a long strap for across the body carrying (this is the only way to carry bags you know!).

Here's the bags lazying about.

I also made some Boogs (you remember, right? Book Bags). These were intended to curb the astronomical number of books we bring home from the library. It didn't really work. They are both filled with library books and we have a stack besides. It was fun though and the little critters have been trailing me (in boxes) since my childhood. They're supposed to be stuffed toys, so I stuffed them on the bags and tiny immediately tried to pick hers up like a baby and hug it.

They're also lined which I haven't done before. So do a little happy dance with me will you? I tried something new and it worked out!
The kids helped me make a satchel style bag for their dad with a wolf applique and an internal pocket for pens. I was pleased how it turned out but couldn't (or didn't) track it down when I was taking pictures. Another exploration just beyond the edge of my experience and knowledge.
I also learned I don't know a thing about button holes and did you know that bias tape is stretchy?! Oh EVERYONE already knows that? Well I didn't. Now I know why the 3 bags I've used bias tape for the strap and/or handle didn't work so well. Who needs a bag with a stretchy handle? Glad we got that one out of the way.
So can you tell that I think Christmas is for bags?

A Bit of Our Christmas

The morning descent

The night before I was told that "It's hard to sleep on Christmas Eve." They both managed just fine. Note the Christmas pajamas. We let them open a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve. I was expecting a bit of a fight after that. There was none. Instead I was thanked profusely. Mowg even asked "Can we write you a thank-you note?" The first thing he said to me in our he's-still-asleep-early-morning conversation was, "Thank you for my perfect jams, Mom." Then he smiled and rolled over and went back to sleep. After that, what kind of gift can compete? I don't think there is one.

During the Christmas season we have a wooden nativity set (made by Grandma) that is on display to be played with (stacked, rearranged, knocked down, used as a train track and a road, not to mention some very interesting imaginary play). However, the baby Jesus does not arrive until Christmas morning.

Below is the discovery of the arrival of the Holy Child.

It pleases me that his arrival is important to my little ones.
It is to me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Welsh Cakes

A few years ago a local friend of mine was given a gift of a subscription to the Christian Science Monitor. When she was finished with them she'd pass them along to me. I'll tell you the truth, I didn't read many of them. I'm a newspaper flipper. I flip through and sort of scan the page to see if something catches my eye. As I was cleaning up recently I found one of those articles that not only caught my eye, but I had saved for the recipe included in it. Welsh Cakes. Whew, aren't you glad you came on that meandering way?

We finally made them as a surprise breakfast in bed for that hard-working Dad of ours. The kids were very excited about eating in our bed. I can tell you from a clean-up point of view they were a terrible choice. The sheets had to be changed, blankets shaken out and a few crumbs hovered that night. However, from a surprise, fun, out-of-the-blue perspective they were perfect. I googled the recipe and it's readily available out there. We ate ours with hot apple cider, orange juice and water. If you want to try a fun sweet treat I highly recommend them. If you've Welsh in your ancestry think of it as pursuing your heritage. Mmmm!

Friday, December 25, 2009

...the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
Luke 2:15-16

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Since we never seem able to pull off a picture of everyone these days.
Here we are in "halves".

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
May your New Year be hopeful and bright.
May your Christmas be peaceful and fun.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gone Sledding
The belly slide--a favorite
The invisible horse drawn sleigh

Bombing down the hill on a crash course
with the photographer
He knew what he was doing, I didn't.
No crashing occured.

That happened earlier.
It was a roll over that wasn't much fun

No more kneeling!

The magic of trying to blow out the Christmas lights.
Blowing out candles if fun too, but lights last much longer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Libraries do wonderful things!

This past week at our library we got to make an ornament by painting a hand and then "grabbing" the ornament for a second leaving finger prints. While the paint dried we got to listen to the Polar Express being read and THEN:

"I want to ride the blue one the last."

"Mom, my hands are cccold!"

After our ride with Santa and his dog we visited very briefly with Mrs. Claus, finished decorating our fingerprinted ornaments with hats and faces so they became darling snowmen. We thought or I rather) at that point we were done. Mowg, however, thought he'd like to see Santa one more time and wish him a "Merry Christmas!" We did get our chance to do that. Eventually.

In the meantime, there was magic in watching some snow removal.

(These kind gentlemen stopped their work so the train ride could occur and honked their horn for us as they drove past us. It was over the moon!)

Tiny just wanted to make footprints in the snow.

Bliss is where you find it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the middle of the night. It's been several wakeful hours with my little one. I am sitting with her on my lap when she reaches down and pats the arm of the rocking chair. "Yee Haw," she says to me in a conversational tone. What she meant was "Get Rocking." So Giddyup we did.

There are little things that get you through the rough spots you know?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Are you getting excited for Christmas? I'm getting more excited. My favorite cookie, kefil, has been made and nearly consumed. (If you're interested in the recipe check out Like Lays Pototo Chips, no one can eat just one! Mowg has wrapped his first 2 presents and is beside himself with wanting to tell and trying to keep a secret at the same time. I'm finishing things up. I'm not sure that all I want to complete will get done, but it doesn't matter. I wish I could share them with you, but it's a secret! Mowg's not the only one who's beside himself.

I haven't been sure about posting this, but I'm going to try. We attended the funeral recently of a man that I knew better second-hand than first person. I am friends with his wife and though we haven't lived in the same town for some time now, she always took the time to stop and see me when they were here visiting relatives. As we left the funeral I was struck by how little I had truly physically been in this man's presence. I could count them on my hands, yet I wept through the entire funeral. It puzzled me at first. I love his wife. She has taught me a lot. I mourn with her as I have with others in the past. I know something of what she will face, in a very small measure.
I also mourn for the losses I have experienced in my own life. My youngest brother's birthday is this month. He has been gone from this world for four years. "Moving on" is a phrase I hear from time to time where difficulties and death are concerned. I love something my Dad shared with me shortly after my brother's death - the pain doesn't really go away, it just gets scattered in amongst the joyful and sweet moments of life so it doesn't seem quite so large. That takes time. And it still hurts. I miss the way he could call forth my soul with a reed. He had a gift with wind instruments. I miss other things...even some of the annoying ones, and yet there are joyful moments, sweet ones. The arrival of our children and the experience of watching them grow. Celebrations, phone calls, packages, and friendship all pepper my life so that the moments of sadness come less often, but still with that same intensity of that first grief. There are others that I love who have gone on. Others that I miss. The special celebrations throughout the year bring them to my mind. Sometimes something that I see or hear makes me remember. I miss them, I hurt and yes, I also enjoy, love and live. That seems to me what living is.

Friday, December 18, 2009

For Heidi: Rolo Pretzel Cookies

Package of Rolo's
Small Pretzels
Pecans (I like the "whole" halves rather than the pieces, but I think either would work)

Heat oven to 200 degrees

Place pretzels on cookie sheet and set on unwrapped (of course!) rolo on top of each pretzel.

Put the above in the oven until the rolo's look "melty". It doesn't take long just a minute or two.

Pull out of the oven and squish a pecan onto the rolo.

That's it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One of the things I love about this time of year is the things that my children introduce to me or that just somehow happen as we begin to develop our traditions.

I was regaled this morning by a very interesting story of the first christmas (complete with a pointing stick as he pointed to the window clings and explained what each one did) Did you know the wise men came down from heaven and brought silver and gold? And that the shepherds brought a new sheep? There are interesting things to be discovered.

A favorite activity at our house is blowing out candles. It was quite entertaining to watch tiny especially "blow out" the christmas lights as we put them on the tree.

I also love all the goodie making that goes on. I tried Banana fudge this year. It's good if you like fudge....same consistency only banana instead of chocolate.
Another favorite is a cookie made from pretzels, rolo's and pecans. Super easy to make and include the kids--the pan is cool enough that nobody gets burned and so delicious!

Gingerbread cookies became a year round event at our house this past year. For christmas we may even frost them. More about cookies another day.

I'm also loving our story advent that includes the singing of a carol. The kids are pretty patient through the story (I need to get some pictures incorporated into my "book") but the singing of the carols is magical as that's dancing time. So much fun!

What things are you discovering or have discovered in the past as a result of your little ones?(your own or someone else's?)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One of our favorite traditions is going on a tree hunt in the forest. We're grateful to live where we do so that such a trip is relatively brief and very fun for all of us.
As "luck" would have it we found one right away.

The help abandoned soon after the process began.
The snow was pretty deep for the tiny one

Heading out

The guy in the front there--he does most of the work as you can see.

While we love this tradition having both grown up in the Northwest there are things about it that aren't quite as much fun--but make it quite comical.
Like tying it on the top of the car.

OK it might not look amusing, but trust me--we have a small vehicle.

Being stuck in the car while everyone else is outside

We still have a good time over all
(And the above sadness only lasted a few moments, truly.)

Here is my shadow to prove I was there.
The battery died before I could hand the camera off.
(not bad since I haven't charged it since October)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Did you wonder if we'd frozen to death? We managed to avoid it. We've been:

Tree collecting and sledding (more on that later)
Discussing the finer points of wearing mittens

Granny and Grandad sent us a package quite a while ago and we loved everything in it.
This is for them:
Tiny loved her new doll.

She also loves rocks as much as her mom does

We rediscovered this as we were setting up our tree last night. The kids found a box of rocks I had tucked away. We love rocks! I collected some pretty cools ones and it was fun to look through them and do a little remembering. Rocks just rock. Green, white and black, black and white, cool shapes, cool impressions, neat layers, even some asphalt I think I picked up in Scotland.....thinking it was a really unusual rock. Perhaps not so much.
See you soon!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's COLD!
Batten down the hatches!
That's all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I learned yesterday that my husband really, really loves me. It's true. I haven't fully appreciated that love before. How do I know? What marvelous thing occurred to bring me my epiphany?

For the first time since I've known him (Okay, probably in my entire life--because before he loved me--there was my MOM who loved me just as much, but that's different.) I picked the meat off of the boiled turkey. I love soup made by boiling turkey and chicken down. That Man among men has always gotten rid of the yuck for me. The yuck is of course the guck, the slimy disgusting stuff, and the bones. Yesterday, in a gesture of nonchalant goodwill I picked the bones clean. The funny thing was as I was sorting through the primordial goo (Or is it post-mordial?) I kept smelling this delightful citrusy smell. I wondered if someone had put some lemon juice in the pot when I wasn't looking. It was a delightful smell. Delightful is not something I normally connect to boiled turkey. Cold slime does not elicit delight. Yet there was this unmistakable smell--a favorite among smells for me--that got me through having my hands covered in cold slime. The I realized my children were eating oranges directly behind me. Eating may be a stretch--taking a bite or too and then putting them wherever they felt like it would be more acurate. The bliss of that smell. I can't describe how it makes me feel. That smell not only got me through the slimy hands, but the distinct feeling I have that my children think that I am a piece of playground equipment that can be molded at will into anything from a bridge to a post around which a lively game of peek-a-boo can be played. This is true even when I'm wrist deep in slime.

Thank you oranges.

Thank you babe.

Now I know like never before that you love me.
By the way, you're welcome.
See, I love you too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

One of the things I've learned this year is how much fun a project is when you set it up the night before (thanks to Soule Mama). That way the morning starts with the project. It's like giving a christmas present. The response is much like getting one. We had such a morning just the other day. We painted for almost 2 hours. I even got to participate. I don't have a lot of water color paper around but I wanted them to be able to use some. I gave them each a piece and they were done with it in a very short time. In an effort to conserve paper I tore it into little squares. We painted and painted. We now have a "swag" of hole punched squares of paper hanging in our living room. It's so fun to see.

Here's the happy kids at work:

Such fun colors!

Can you imagine? Two hours!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two really quick thanksgiving pictures and them I might move on. Maybe.

I made pilgrim hats out of what I had, which was mostly fabric. I scorched this one terribly, but you can't tell, nor can you tell it ever had any starch in it. At least the warm up "feast" is cute to see.

This is my 2nd bucket had failure. He's holding it on his head because it won't stay without the help of his hands. Then when we went to take it off the electrical tape stuck to his hair. I don't think he'll allow it near his head again. Sigh. Maybe next year.

Did I mention I used vinyl that I'd cut off a chair we just got rid of? I starched some fabric and attempted to use it for the "bucket" part of the hat, but when it didn't fit we abadoned it for the THANKFULLY found piece of poster board that I saved from a sign when I was part of storytelling club LONG ago. Hmmm maybe I shouldn't bother next year. We'll see.
I did spend way too much time on this hat. Thank goodness for my models!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We did this before Thanksgiving, but so much fun I have to share.
First we mixed beans (pinto, black, white), popcorn,
split peas, and some left over pumpkin seeds together.
There was lots of hands on mixing that spread to the floor.

It was easy to sweep up, so everyone truly had fun.We filled some clear empty pop bottles with seeds.

Then I made a candle fit into the top.

Wala! Candle ready to be lit and blown out.

Then we added glue to a small bit of beans and stirred.

We pressed this mixture into some "molds" of an empty sour cream container, and a small ice cream cup (empty as well). Then we pressed a candle into the center. We used birthday candles for the small ones (we were after all already planning to blow them out) and a taper candle for the bigger one. Here's the lovely result:

Note: The glue hadn't completely dried on the "big" candle--when it did the white glue effect went completely away. It was really quite pretty.