Monday, December 15, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree

**I wrote this post over a week ago but then had picture issues.  I'm leaving it as is and just adding some more pictures**
 
 
We finally got our tree today!  The girls, all three of us, have been waiting not so patiently. :)

Years ago I saw this and thought it would be nice if we had the right space for something like this...

 
 
We have the round table, big windows, but not really the space to have a regular tree and something like this.
 
 Our tradition has been to go to the local tree farm just down the road and cut our own tree.  It's a beautiful place with animals to pet, horses pulling wagons, hot chocolate, a huge slide.  It's really an awesome place to go.  The down side is, it's no bargain.  In fact, we realized one year that the cost of cutting our own tree there was more than double what we could get one for at the local box stores.  But we love to support this local business.  So..... 
 
So this year I started lobbying for a table top tree.  Cameron really doesn't care too much, but I had to convince the girls. 
 
I showed them the above picture, they weren't impressed, but the next two got them on my side.
 
 

So off to the farm we went.  We had a great time, took some pictures and realized that even the smallest trees for sale were still quite pricey and a little too big to (safely) go on a table.  As much as we love to support local businesses, our own budget had to come first.

So off to the box store we went and got our tree.


 


It didn't take long at all to decorate.  That was a disappointment to some and a bit of relief to others.  It was a bit of a bummer for the girls to not use all of their ornaments, but they still had a good time.
 
The quilt top was one started by my grandmother (or maybe my great-grandmother), anyway, I thought it was perfect.  The bucket started leaking water so we had to put a plate under it.  I panicked when we came home and there was a wet circle on the quilt, but it washed out just fine.

 
 
One thing we are not short of in this house is nutcrackers!  This big one helps hide the cord that is stretched out for the lights.  I like how the gifts look stacked in front of the quilt.  I was a little concerned that it wouldn't turn out the way I had envisioned it, but I'm really quite pleased with it.  I don't mean to pat myself on the back or anything like that!  I'm excited that we were able to still have a beautiful spot and save money at the same time.  

 
 
 

Not to mention the cleanup will be a snap!




 




Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Best Sisters Ever

Look who helped break in the KitchenAid!  Of course the first thing we made was brownies.

My sisters and parents surprised me with an early birthday present when we were there for Thanksgiving.  Then the next day one of my sisters made a comment about my hair looking like Meg Ryan's.  (I don't even care if she was lying or not!)

Best birthday EVER! LOL

Now, what to make next?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Daybook

{Outside My Window}  Cold and rather dreary.  No rain so that's good.  No snow either, so that's boring, but it's okay.  I love snow most from the comfort of home and we have a bit of running around and traveling to do this week.

{I'm listening To} Well, I was listening to the following.  I started this post yesterday.  The girls playing with 9 month old Sarah.  We've been babysitting once a week for our little friend.  It's mostly Callie's "job" and I'm here for support.  It's been good for Callie to build her baby sitting confidence and Kate just loves her.  I do too! ;)  She's so chunky and squishy you can't help but love her. 



{I'm Thankful For}  Seeing as it's November we have been thinking about this maybe more than usual.  The girls made a list one day.  Callie's list contained just what you would expect from a teenage girl....music, movies, books, food, friends.  I think family was on her list somewhere. ;) Kate's was as expected too.  Her friends, her stuffed animals and Mommy and Baba.  I think she listed her animals one by one which took up most of the paper. 

Right now I'm thankful for a break in routine.  We will be visiting my parents soon and I can't wait to go and hang out with my family.  To hear the cousins and playing and staying up too late talking.  Eat our favorite foods and make memories.

I'm thankful for these ladies here.  We have been meeting together for about 16 years.  Through thick and thin we have prayed for each other.  Through marriages, births and burials too.  I love them dearly!



I'm also thankful for the December ahead.  It's my favorite time of year and we are going to celebrate with joy!

{I'm Thinking About}  Too much really.  It's hard to "let go and let God".  I wonder who came up with that phrase.  We seem to be in a period of testing this past year or so.  Maybe two years.  And not just in one area, which I guess is how it usually is.  I'm not sure how well we're passing the tests.  Cameron and I are united and we know God is in control and that he is teaching us through these times.  Also, there are many around us who are going through much, much worse.  I keep talking to Callie about keeping things in perspective and I'm trying to practice what I preach.

{In the Sewing Room}  Not much, but I'm hoping that will change soon!  I do have some things brewing in my head.

{In the Kitchen}  Well, this is where part of my over thinking thing is happening.  We recently had Kate tested for some food allergies.  They tested her for 10 foods and she was allergic to all but one.  So, if she's allergic to all of those, then it's pretty much guaranteed there are more.  Only one was labeled a "high" allergy, strawberries.  The others were "mild" or "moderate".  The good thing is that since they are mild to moderate we have a little time to come up with a game plan.  We can wait until after the holidays and there are three birthdays in our house between Dec. and Jan, so we won't do anything drastic until after her birthday.  I guess another good thing is that it explains some problems that she's been having not just with her skin, but other areas too.

Food is such a way that we celebrate everything and a way that I show my love to the girls and to Cameron too.  Beatrix Potter's birthday?  Let's have tea and scones!  First snow?  Hot chocolate!  Some body's birthday?  Let's go out!  Being gluten free had already thrown a little cramp in our style, but now? 

Now thinking about food just stresses me out and is depressing.  I know I'm not alone either.  There are more and more people dealing with these kinds of issues.

{I am Reading}  Let's see.....I am currently reading "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" by Dr. Paul Brand and Phillip Yancy.  I'm also reading GAPS: Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  Not exactly a fun read, but it may be our best chance at helping Kate over come her issues.  This diet cuts out pretty much everything to give the intestines a chance to heal and then add things back to the diet, hoping that the foods will no longer cause a reaction. 

A couple of weeks ago I finished another Kate Morton book.  The Distant Hours.  It was just as good as The Secret Keeper.  She is an amazing story teller!  In a week or two I'll probably order another one from the library to take South with us for Christmas break.

{One of My Favorite Things} Movie dates with Callie.  I've gone to see a few things I wouldn't have on my own and every time I've enjoyed it.  She's good for me!


 


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

{Fall Moments}

The rest of the year is basically my "favorite time of year".  First there's fall, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas.  I love spring, but I really love fall and the first part of winter.  {We'll just pretend the second half of winter doesn't exist!}







 For those of you not in the mid-west, this would be a giant corn maze.  Thankful for the tower in the middle, or we may still be in there!



Dipping leaves in beeswax.  Gingko leaves are our favorites.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bearing One Another's Burdens

My first idea for the title was "Moved".  But I thought it might cause blog confusion.

But when I think about this week the first word that comes to mind is "Moved".  I have been deeply moved by people I know and by people I didn't know until now and by some who I may never know.

Last Saturday, during Callie's party, we found out that, on Friday night, a family we knew had lost their father to carbon monoxide poisoning due to a gas leak in the house and that the mother was unconscious, had been transferred to an Indianapolis hospital and was not expected to live either. 

I'm not exactly sure how well my parents knew this couple.  They are about the same age probably and I know they attended some joint church social gatherings and I know their grandchildren attended the Bible camp where my parents work.  One of the couples sons and his family attend the same church as one of my sisters.

I had met the couple maybe two or three times and I know their daughter in law just a little bit from the same church camp.

All that to say, we knew them, but I only barely new them.

But how could you hear this news and not be heart broken for them?  Both parents in one night!

All Saturday and Sunday we watched for news of the mother.  I wasn't hearing anything so I started looking on Facebook.  I saw that one of their sons and I had a mutual friend.  This was quite surprising to me so I sent my friend a message.  Turns out, they had gone to college together and had been great friends.  My friend is out of the country and has a house not too far from the hospital.  She asked me to please let them know about the vacant house and tell them that they were welcome to stay there.  She has another friend who went to wash sheets and make sure everything was ready for guests.  At first it seemed the house wouldn't be used, but then a different son who lives on the opposite side of the country (so far that it took them almost three days to get here) arrived with his family of six and needed a place to stay.

I talked to the daughter that I knew already and she told me of people they had never met bringing food, offering shelter, money given for travel expenses, a whole bed and breakfast in their town offered for lodging for family coming from out of town.  I think I saw that a local heating and cooling company made all the repairs needed at no charge.  This is bearing one another's burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).  I'm not sure I've seen it on such a grand, spread out scale before.  Mutual friends of mutual friends helping out people they've never even heard of before.

Moved!

What has moved me the most though, is seeing how this couple had impacted so many people and the messages those people were leaving on Facebook.  They had both been teachers and the notes people have written have made me wish I had taken the time to get to know them better!  These were two people who loved the Lord and apparently loved people and took the time to care for others.  These were two people who had a fascinating life living abroad, working for the Peace Corps and helping others and she was even a home economics teacher in another country.  But I never took the time to say more than "Hi". 

It's my loss and I've wondered over the last couple of days what else, who else,  I've missed out on because of busyness or pride or indifference. 

I hope it will be the last time!

{Please, if you think of them, pray for their family.  They were very involved parents and grandparents and will be leaving a huge hole}

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Book Lover's Birthday Party

When Callie was little we used to have what we called a Friend Party one year and then the next year would be the Family Party.  Every once in a while, it would be both.  Over the years though, as the number of cousins increased, it sort of evolved into a most years being "just" family.

I don't organize games, I don't pass out favors, I don't rent restaurants or party rooms.  There were games and maybe a balloon to take home in the younger years, but really, all they care about is having fun together.  As long as there is cake (or sugar in some form) and presents and lots of laughter, that's all anyone really cares about.  I've seen some (several) adult men fall asleep at our parties, but no kids have ever fallen asleep or complained because there was no bouncy house in the back yard!

Anyway,  I wanted to decorate and being an October birthday, there is often a fall theme going, but I wanted something different this year.  What does Callie love more than anything?  Reading.  I had seen some really neat things done with old book pages so of course we went to Pinterest to see what we could find.  My criteria was that it be simple and easy.  Callie does not like to do crafts that much and I didn't have time to spend on elaborate decorations.

Here are some of the pins we found.....a book "cake", these votive holders and of course a few other ideas that we didn't use.  Kate likes to be crafty and she came up with making a paper chain with old book pages.  It was really quite cute.  She asked for some pages and disappeared and then came down with one a bit later.  I think she asked, "Is this okay for the party?"  So sweet!  Callie wanted her book cake to be less "childish" than the picture on Pinterest so we just used an old pair of her glasses to go on top.  It all turned out perfect.  It was so Callie!  And so easy and free!!  You could use funny pages or copy pages from favorite books, there are a lot of ways you could go with these ideas.


 




 

 


The best part was actually something I thought of all by myself.  That's rare, I'm usually just copying someone else!  While looking at all the book page ideas I thought it would be great to have everyone write a poem to read to Callie at the party.  Funny or serious, whatever they wanted to come up with. 
 
It was so great!  The kids and adults wrote things and read them.  Some were funny, some a combination and some more serious and they were all awesome!!  I couldn't even pick a favorite if I had to.  They were all so creative and just perfect for Callie. 

Here's mine......Roses are red, violets are blue.  Your 15 now, boo hoo hoo!  Brilliant isn't it? LOL

And of course there was cake too.  Ice cream cake.  Yummy!




 

Terrible picture quality here, but I can't have a post about Callie's party without Callie!  I took more videos than of her than photos this time.
 
 
This was probably my favorite party yet!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Birthday Callie

When Callie turned one, I cried for a week.  That hasn't happened since then......until this year.  She is turning 15 this year.  FIFTEEN!!!! 



How did this happen?!  How can it be that I have a daughter this old?  I get chocked up every time I think about it.  And I've been thinking about it for a month.

I remember the race to the hospital like it was yesterday.  I actually told Cameron to run the red lights if no one was coming.  We barely made it to the delivery room before she was born.   And the nurse at the doctor's office had said, "Well, just come by and we'll check you out."  Ha!! 

 

 


 



 


Callie came a little early and very fast.  She has surprised us over and over ever since.  Her hilarious personality when she was younger, her deep interest in other cultures and history, the way she loves other little girls instead of looking at them like pests (sister not always included), her long, looong legs, the way she can argue with you until your so confused you don't even know what day it is, the way she still loves to hang out with her parents and give us hugs and kisses, and the way that she marches to the beat of her own drummer, have all been surprises.  {The arguing should have been no surprise.  What goes around comes around!}



Things that really weren't a surprise?  Her curly hair, her love of books, her love of food {she is her father's daughter!}, her love of dressing up being a typical girl, in the good sense. 

And here is where my thoughts just get all jumbled.  All the joy of being a mother, but yet there have been hard days too.  I can't think of one without thinking of the other.

I have to say though, I wouldn't trade being her mother for anything.  For fifteen years now, I've been called "Mommy"  and it all started on October 7, 1999.

Happy birthday Callie!  I love you to the moon and back!!