Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Who, being in very nature God,
Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself.

Philippians 2:6-8

Christmas Eve finds us all waiting in anticipation. I can still remember so vividly those days before Christmas when as a child I would patiently wait for those long days to finally end. That's a good description of my girls these days too. Charlotte asks every morning, "Is this the day we open our presents?"

But now the longing has a deeper desire, a more permanent residence has taken hold of my heart.....to see Him face to face. The true Christmas longing.

We leave tomorrow morning for Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and then we travel on to Philadelphia,Pennsylvania. This will culminate our Early American History studies. We have spent months reading and writing about it, now Rose shall experience some of the things firsthand.

Merry Christmas to all! I will return the first of the new year......

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some Favorite Christmas Watchings

On the second day before Christmas.......

Because I was too tired to do anything else this afternoon, I watched Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" all by myself while knitting a blue wool sock with a most soothing pattern. The girls played outside with friends.

There are certain favorite Christmas videos that have become our traditional watching fare on the days leading up to Christmas. Tomorrow all six of us have plans to watch our all time favorite "It's A Wonderful Life". It would seem we had skipped a huge part of Christmas if we failed in watching it sometime over the holiday season. They just don't make them that good anymore.




A priceless joy of Christmas is the timely blooming of this red amaryllis. I randomly photographed it for the past two weeks from bud to full glory.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookies and Caroling

On the fourth day before Christmas........

We did what we always do every single Sunday morning, we went to church to worship. That afternoon Charlotte performed her ninth and final performance in "The Nutcracker" ( five were during the weekdays for the public schools in town). After a small party gathering, we were able to come home wonderfully tired and ready to cozy in for the evening and light the fourth Advent candle as we read from the Gospel of Luke.


On the third day before Christmas......

The girls and I whipped up a batch of cookies. Charlotte bundled herself up to go outside to play in the wintry weather we are presently experiencing. Upon realizing that she needed to decorate another batch of cookies with M&M's, she slipped off her mittens and held on to her hat ties as she decorated the cookies with her own rendition of smiling faces. She urged me not to take a picture of her in her fluffy coat. For some reason Charlotte calls this her fluffy coat and she is certainly not partial to it, I'm really not sure why.






Some of the neighbors and children braved this cold still night and walked around the neighborhood Christmas caroling. It was a welcomed feeling to come in from the cold, shivering but ready to enjoy good company while feasting on all the shared goodies.

However, Charlotte does at least like her knitted hat.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wrapped Up

On the fifth day before Christmas......



......
Gift wrapping central became the scene in my bedroom.

My husband has been wrapping all our gifts since our very first Christmas together as husband and wife. He looked at my gift wrapping ability and decided it would not do at all. Since I have never mastered the art of wrapping lovely packages and figured that is the reason "those bags" were invented for people like me, I calmly got out of his way. He is now trying to train the next generation by teaching Rose how to cut, fold and wrap. Unfortunately, he is under no obligation to write the name tags so I must undertake that job. It behooves him that I do not attach and write them as he is wrapping each gift. Obviously, he does not know my technique of keeping track of which gift belongs to whom. But then I also have a backup plan...... that is the one that bugs him the most......*smile*.

dancing steps and blowing candles




On the sixth day before Christmas........

Ballet performances were attended and birthdays were celebrated.

This is Charlotte's first year of training in classical ballet. The dance studio she attends performs"The Nutcracker" every December. Rehearsals began in October and for a nonprofessional group of students from kindergarten through twelfth grade they do an excellent job of performing this classic ballet.
Charlotte was a beautiful angel who gracefully danced little steps on the stage with the cutest little pasted on smile. Friday was opening night, she performs twice on Saturday and the final performance will be Sunday afternoon. We shall rest after this exhausting week!

In the midst of all this we managed to celebrate my husband's birthday with a family supper. He requested a pecan pie since we have had so many cakes lately.

I honestly can't say what my recent deal is with putting only one candle on celebratory birthday "cakes" since I did the same with my own a couple of weeks ago. We certainly are not that old and winded.........




Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Makings

On the seventh day before Christmas..........

A glorious afternoon spent making memories at a Mother/Daughter Christmas Tea.

Duets were played on the piano.


Crunchy pastry cups filled with delectable chicken salad served along side other tasty treats.


Spicy mulled cider simmering on the stove and then offered in red etched glass mugs.

And don't forget the presents! Soft hand knitted scarves, colorful stripped hats, embroidered pieced pillows and twisted wrist bracelets with intricate designs all made by the girls themselves.





Thank you Lord for my daughters.
And for allowing me the satisfaction of spending a part of my day with their lovely selves and in the company of other precious kindred spirits. Amen








Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Biscuit Maker's Granddaughter



On the eighth day before Christmas.......

.........Buttermilk biscuits were made for supper using my grandmother's red, wooden handled pastry cutter.

If this little gadget could talk it would tell of all the many batches of biscuits it has helped "cut" through the years. My grandmother made biscuits in the morning and once again in the evening without fail. She had a little pantry o
ff her kitchen with a window that overlooked a handmade bird feeder. The shelf was low since my grandmother was a little woman with a stature of only five feet. On it rested a wooden board, a wooden rolling pin, the wooden handled pastry cutter and the biscuit cutter. Every morning she put together the ingredients for her biscuits, tossed a dusting of flour over the wooden surface and began the timeless movements of creating.....a humble batch of biscuits.

When my brothers, sister and I barreled into her house later on during the day, we could always anticipate finding cold biscuits setting on a plate on the kitchen counter. To us no other snack would be as special. It was only later, as a grown-up woman, that I realized she had a way of making the simple things seem divine even in a treat of leftover biscuits.



I love the heritage of carrying on the task of biscuit making. I by no means make them every day, but I can not think of any better way to say love than in a batch of biscuits!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shopping


On the ninth day before Christmas.....

My husband and I finally went Christmas shopping, even if the night was cool and rainy.

Sensibility is the key to Christmas gift giving, so while our children do receive gifts from us, it is done in moderation. We always like to think about the three gifts Baby Jesus was given by the Wisemen and try to stay with that same idea when buying Christmas presents for our children.

My younger children watch very little TV so they are not as savvy about what the commercials and ads are attempting to ignite as the "wanta and gotta have monster". Of course, they do not live in a vacuum either, so choosing gifts they would like to have and of which they know we will approve is done without any difficulty whatsoever.

Just in case you are wondering, the carolers sit atop my piano in the living room. At one per year it took us six years to complete our collection. They make me smile and that's reason enough to pull them out every December.


Monday, December 15, 2008

A Few Exchanges

On the tenth day before Christmas.......

Mulling spices and scented candles filled the air with the smells of Christmas at the home of this year's hostess for the annual ornament exchange. A group of fabulous ladies ( fifteen including myself) got together and exchanged Christmas ornaments. And then we all ate ourselves silly, because that seems to be what ladies like to do when there is a spread of sweets and savories set before them.



For a brief while this afternoon a friend stopped by with her lovely daughters and while the girls laughed and talked, I showed her how to make a yo-yo. She was atingle with delight...... and she would like that word in describing her enthusiasm and joy....atingle.




Sunday, December 14, 2008

Celebrating Advent


On the eleventh day before Christmas........

...... Christmas carols are played on the piano.

All the traditional favorites are played from the church hymnal I received many years ago as a result of perfect attendance in the Junior Choir. I own some lovely versions of Christmas piano music, but I find myself always reaching for and just settling into this comfortable hymnal, especially when we have singalongs.

...... As well as gathering around the piano to light the Advent candles as the Word according to Isaiah is read. Almost in hushed tones "Lo How A Rose Ere Blooming" is sung with a modicum of reverence.


O come let us adore Him!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Making pillows and quilting































On the twelfth day before Christmas......

Rose was busily sewing a pillow for a friend.

In Polished Cornerstones the girls drew names and the deal was to give a gift that you had made yourself. Rose made a pieced pillow. Many skills were required and learned while doing this craft. Choosing the pattern and fabrics, cutting the pattern, sewing on a machine, embroidering, and then the process required for the cording and backing.

I must make a huge confession here. I sat down to teach her the art of quilting the patches and since she had no interest whatsoever, I merrily quilted along until I completed the entire pillow! I couldn't help myself, it was beyond enjoyable.

Many years ago, in the years before the birth of my children, I quilted. I enrolled in a class at the community college where I made a full sized quilt completely by hand....every single stitch was pieced by hand and then quilted! I can't even believe it myself.

After the birth of my first son I would spend the winter months piecing and quilting pillows with the extra fabric leftovers. Sadly this was another thing that has fallen along the wayside.

I am itching to pick up my needle and begin quilting again. But it will most definitely be pieced on the machine this go round, I have nothing to prove. But first there is the baby afghan to finish since the wee one entered the world early this December morn.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

His Light

" For behold, Darkness shall cover the Earth, and gross Darkness the Peoples;but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His Glory shall be seen upon thee." Isaiah 60:2


Looking forward this evening to what is for me the highlight of this Advent season......attending the Oratorio Society's full orchestra performance of Handel's Messiah. It has been an annual event for the members of my family for years and I have already mentioned to Charlotte that she shall be allowed to attend next year, when she is six.

December has the shortest days of the year as the darkness dissipates later in the morning and falls earlier in the evening. Christmas could only be celebrated during such a month with all the extra lights glimmering and glittering everywhere one happens to look. This month is just altogether brighter as it very well should be.

Early morning quiet times of solitude, prayer and scripture reading have moved to the amethyst toile rocker above. Actually this has been the case for several months when sitting outside was either too dark or too cold.

"Arise, Shine, for thy Light is come....."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

dreaming and wishing upon

Who could forget those days of catalog dreaming? I receive a heap of glossy mail order magazines throughout the year, but at this time of year the flood is completely overwhelming. The children too are recipients of their fair share especially during this time of year. I call them the Dream and Wish books.

Upon their arrival in the mail Charlotte would spend an hour or so daily slowly turning the shiny pages mesmerized with all the possibilities. Dreaming and wishing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Sound of Christmas

While in the *Dollar Store* the other day, these Christmas CD's were discovered in a corrugated box display in the aisle. Instrumental music of piano, harp, and viola ready to be purchased for a dollar each. So three dollars poorer I emerged from the store with new listening music in the bag. (I figured for three dollars even if they were mediocre it was not too much of a loss.)

These CD's are superb! I have them so that whenever I walk into the kitchen all I must do is push a button and harmonious instrumental music trails throughout the room with the joyful sound of Christmas.

And that is exactly what I want these days, Christmas music flowing in the rooms of my house.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Birthday cake at its best

Every year I would drop subtle hints of what I truly wanted above all other gifts. Years would come and years would go; I was obviously not getting my wishes across even though I was the recipient of very nice gifts indeed. Finally, I determined a better plan of action so I point blank asked for a birthday cake. It worked for a couple of years. If it was remembered ahead of time, a special cake was ordered from a nice bakery. Other times a hurried stop by the grocery store would suffice. And once it was even after supper and my husband grabbed his coat and headed out the door only to return 30 minutes later with a cake.

These days if I desire a birthday cake, I happily make it myself.

I love it when the cookbook makes it so decisive for you.


I was serenaded with "Forever Young" this evening. They know who bakes the cake!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Covered Buttons

Remember this sweater?





After completing it some while back I had in my mind to find the perfect buttons. I was thinking covered buttons would add a pretty touch But alas, I started hunting for store bought ones, but without success whatsoever. So began my venture in seeking for the perfect fabric ( must stick with the original plan). In the attic I discovered an old piece of fabric inherited from my parents before their moving days. Might just be the perfect fabric for the perfect buttons.

It was. I love my sweater which reminds me of the sea.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Baby Gift

Advent in my heart as I prepare for celebrating a baby being born over two thousand years ago.....my Saviour.



Crocheting a baby afghan of the creamiest shade of blue with a touch as soft as kitten's fur. I have entered a new realm with my friends' children now having children. This dear friend is expecting her first grandson in three weeks. Therefore, I crochet by the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.

Prayer in every stitch in preparation for a Christmas baby.

november as it looks now

"After the leaves come down, the countryside has an open look. New vistas appear, hills unseen when summer's wealth of green is spr...