I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did!
Before we move into the new year let’s take a look back at what kept me busy throughout the month of December.
You may remember this post back in October back in when my daughter, Lindell, saw me wearing one of the shirts, a hoodie, that I had made and decided I should make one for her. I told her “Christmas is coming”. Then when I asked my other daughters, they all decided they would like one. Each of the girls told me what color they would like, except Tina, who said “anything but pink”. Before I went fabric shopping, I decided to give them the option of having me make them a cardigan instead of the hoodie. Kara was the only one who took me up on this offer.
I also asked Tina what I should make for Jackson and Addie and she gave me some ideas.
It was toward the end of October, when I had my materials list ready, that I grabbed my sister and dragged her to the fabric store. LOL! Just kidding. If you know my sister, you’ll know she was more than happy to go to the fabric store with me. It’s one of our favorite places to spend time together.
I will say that I took some creative liberties with choosing fabrics for the girls. I didn’t want to make shirts that were just one solid color; I wanted to design one-of-a-kind garments that I thought would suit their individual style(s).
Hanna’s color choice was black, so I selected the snakeskin fabric then trimmed it in solid black.
Lindell asked for this army green, so I selected this tied dye green and white for trim.
I chose this blue print for Tina and the solid blue trim is actually sprinkled with glitter.
This shimmery stretch corduroy for Kara’s cardigan was so beautiful that I decided to use it for the entire garment.
Making these garments for the girls went pretty smoothly since I had previously made the hoodie pattern three times for myself, and I had made the cardigan pattern once before.
Then it was time to learn something new. The patterns that I selected for Jackson and Addie were both new to me and both posed some new challenges. While all of the garments were made with TLP (Tender Love and Prayer) there was probably more prayer that went into these.
For Addie, who loves to dress up, I made this dress with color blocked sleeves and a double layer skirt.
For Jackson I made this dragon hoodie.
I was so excited when Christmas finally arrived, and I could give the girls their gifts. Kara and Lindell had both told me that they were excited about getting them.
Christmas was a wonderful day – the house was filled with life, laughter and love (and food). After brunch (breakfast food for lunch) we opened gifts.
Below are a few pictures of everyone modeling my handiwork.
I was thrilled to see that Addie’s dress was a perfect fit. Actually, I was amazed as I watched each recipient open their gift and slip it on, that they all seemed to fit just right – answered prayers.
Jackson showing off his dragon wings.
After seeing Jackson’s dragon hoodie my daughters asked when I was going to make them each one. HaHa!
The sister picture. (Ranger photo bombed this one. LOL!)
Each time I get together with all four daughters I try to get a sister picture with the four of them together. It doesn’t happen very often nowadays. The last time we were all together was over a year ago.
Here’s a challenge for readers who don’t know our family personally: can you put the girls in order of age from left to right?
I also try to get a picture of me with the girls. This time around we were able to get Aunt Donna, my mom’s sister, in the picture and my granddaughter Addie. Four generations.
My husband doesn’t mind me saying that he is not a very good photographer. He needs to work on focusing and staging because while I wanted this picture to highlight their new Christmas clothes, I can’t help looking at those feet. LOL.
In the meantime, at least I can edit/crop the pictures to change the focus – the beauty in digital photography. No more crazy feet.
Well maybe one more look. LOL!
Thanks for visiting.
As 2021 comes to an end, we wish you a Happy New Year and a blessed year ahead. May God’s light guide your way in 2022.
On Saturday we discovered that our Christmas tree that had only been up for two weeks was dying. STRANGE. It was losing needles quickly and if we brushed or bumped a branch the needles rained down completely coving the tree skirt. At that rate it would soon be naked. I have never seen a Christmas tree die so quickly. In fact, the tree we had last year still had needles on it this spring, even though it was taken out of the house shortly after Christmas and left at the farm to die.
On Sunday we undecorated our Christmas tree and my husband went to the farm to cut a replacement tree. We brought the new tree in and set it in the stand but decided it was best to let the snow melt off the branches before we decorated it. On Monday afternoon I put the lights, ornaments and candy canes on the new tree.
My husband added the angel when he got home. This tree, that seems perfect in every other way, is missing a tall center branch on top that typically holds the angel, so our angel is in the center on top of the tree but nestled in amongst the outward reaching top branches. A unique Christmas tree indeed.
The dying Christmas tree is not the strangest thing that has happened though. That would have to be the forsythia bushes that blossomed at the farm about three weeks ago. There were two of them in full bloom. (I didn’t get a picture.) That is not supposed to happen this time of year. Our forsythias always blossom in May. STRANGE.
We also had bulbs, likely daffodils, sprouting in the prayer garden last week. That too should not happen until spring. STRANGE.
The other thing that is different this year than in past years is the chickens. Normally they stop laying when they molt in the fall or at least begin producing less eggs sometime in November. We get fewer and fewer eggs through December until we hit a low. After that it’s usually sometime in February, or around the time the sap begins flowing, that the hens begin laying more eggs again.
This year the flock began to molt in October and by November there were feathers everywhere and I was getting only one egg every other day. I expected this to last until February but about two weeks ago we began getting more eggs on some days and it has gradually increased until we were getting three eggs each day this week and then today, we got five eggs. STRANGE. (I wonder if the sap is flowing)
Even though I find this to be weird I’m not complaining – in fact I’m thrilled, especially since during our dearth my husband was buying eggs from a neighboring farm for $4.00 a dozen.
I don’t think it’s strange that I finished making Christmas gifts for my kids and grandkids last weekend though usually I’m not done quite so early. Since I had some time to spare, I decided to make myself a Christmas present. No, I didn’t wrap it and put it under the tree.
I put it on yesterday evening and my husband is now calling me Candy Cane. It’s made with flannel and I’m quite happy with the way it turned out and how it looks on me.
I finished up wrapping gifts today and tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I will spend cleaning and getting an early start on cooking for our family brunch on Christmas day. I am so looking forward to having the kids and grandkids here for the day.
Thank you for visiting and from our home to home and from our hearts to your heart we wish you a
It’s been over three weeks since I my last post. This has been the longest period in between posts since I started this blog in May of 2015. Even though I am still dealing with pain and numbness in my right arm, due to a pinched nerve, I think it’s time to start writing again or at least let readers know I’m still alive and kicking (click the link for the idiom reference).
Here’s some bits and pieces from the last three weeks.
To address my pinched nerve I have continued to receive chiropractic adjustments twice a week, I have been doing daily exercises or stretches and taking some supplements to help relieve the pain. I have been able to maintain most of my regular activities. Sitting at my computer is still the most painful activity. In fact, right now my computer has literally become a laptop and I am sitting in my recliner while I tap away at the keys. Sleeping has also been difficult. I can usually find one position that is comfortable but when I need to change positions it usually takes a while to find another comfortable position. The other activity that I’ve not been doing is crocheting – thankfully I I was not planning on crocheting Christmas gifts this year.
I have come to accept that this condition is probably the result of decades of bad posture, and it is going to take some time to correct. There is NO quick fix. Meanwhile I’m managing.
Our weather has been like a roller coaster ride. We have had days that are warm and sunny, some that are rainy, on a couple of days we have gotten 2-3 inches of snow that has melted over the next day or two. We even had a windstorm that knocked out our electricity for about 15 hours on Saturday/Sunday.
Christmas Is Coming
Christmas is just over a week away and I’m getting really excited. I have been spending a great deal of my time making Christmas gifts. It’s a good thing that most of the recipients don’t live with me because I would probably just give them out as I finished each one (like I did with my husband) then have nothing to give on Christmas.
I made my husband these boxer shorts, and when I had them finished I couldn’t wait to give them to him. I was so happy to find out that they fit perfectly, and he loves them.
The rest of my homemade gifts this year are also things that I have sewn. At the time of this writing, besides the boxers, I have 7 items that I have completed and only one more to do. Of course, I won’t be posting pictures of those projects until after Christmas because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for those who will receive them.
It was a warm day in the first week of December when we went to the farm to pick out our Christmas tree. We walked the perimeter of the back field then up the west property line toward the front, the two areas where most of our spruce trees are planted. We examined each tree, looking at things like its size and shape, as well as how straight its trunk was, and did it have a lot of dry needles.
The Norway spruce that we selected was one of the last ones we looked at. One of my favorite things about this tree is how its branches reach upward as if in joy or praise. I think it is a quite cheery tree.
I’m also getting excited about the New Year. Normally I don’t get very excited about the New Year – it’s just something that happens but last weekend my husband and I were doing some shopping and I spotted this 2022 wall calendar with my verse on it.
I couldn’t resist buying it and am now looking forward to hanging it in my kitchen.
Thanks for visiting.
What have you been up to? Are you looking forward to Christmas?
Welcome friends! I thought I would give you fair warning that this post turned out to be quite lengthy, so you might want to grab a cup, glass or bottle of your favorite beverage to enjoy as you share in our pre-Christmas and Christmas activities.
O Christmas Tree
I had intended to include several photos documenting the cutting of our 2019 Christmas tree as I have done in past years. Regrettably, it was not meant to be. Although I snapped many pictures as we ventured out to the farm and cut our tree, it seems they are trapped on my cameras SD card. When I put the card in the computer the photo program seems to search for them but then freezes up and refuses to retrieve any photos. Fortunately upon buying a new SD card I am able to once again take pictures and load them onto my computer, so it is only those few that I will not be able to share.
Even though I cannot access those photos, I felt it was important to document this event since part of the purpose of this blog is to journal our activities. This is our fourth year of cutting a Christmas Tree from our farm. The trees we have been cutting are either Norway Spruce or Blue Spruce that we planted as when they were 12 – 18 inch seedlings in 2012. When we planted the young trees it was not our intention to grow our own Christmas Trees but this has since become our tradition.
It was Sunday, December 15, when we headed out to the farm to cut our preselected Christmas Tree. The temperature was hovering around freezing, and though the sun was shining bright as we walked out the door, the clouds quickly moved in and produced a brief snow squall. By the time we got to the farm, about 5 minutes later, there was a thin layer of snow blanketing the driveway, and setting the Christmas-like mood. The snow subsided as quickly as it had appeared and eventually the sun reappeared and melted the snow away.
After going to the barn to retrieve a saw we headed to the south-west corner of the property. The tree we had chosen was in a line of trees that were planted near the west property line to separate our property from the neighbors to the west. It is a lovey blue spruce that is slightly over four feet tall. We will plant a tree to replace this one in the spring.
I won’t bore you with the details of setting up the tree and decorating it since it all went smoothly and within a couple of hours the task was complete.
Made With Love
As in past years, I spent the month before Christmas making gifts. Since I have been working on increasing my sewing skills lately I decided to make aprons for the girls. This may seem an odd gift since only one out of four of them likes to cook, but I decided to personalize them.
The first two were made from a pattern that I bought several years ago and have never used. The second two were made out of worn out blue jeans, using this tutorial. I learned new sewing skills while making each of the patterns – the first involved hand basting a seam before sewing it in place and top stitching (that actually turned out pretty well). The second pattern involved making a ruffle and bias tape. On the last one I got very bold and changed the design from a ruffle and bias tape trim to a cut flannel, rag-type, trim. I was very pleased with the way they all turned out.
It was then time to personalize them – I wanted to capture each of the girls attitude for cooking.
The first was Tina who simply does not like cooking. She laughed when she saw it and agreed that described her.
This one was for Kara, who doesn’t like to cook, but calls me often with cooking questions. I’m always happy to get those calls. She too laughed when she saw the words and realized it was an apron.
The third one was for Hanna. While she may cook occasionally she is more likely to spend time painting, so I decided to make hers a painters apron. The old blue jeans that I used already had some paint stains on them and I added some more splotches with fabric paint.
The last one was for Lindell. She is the only one that seems to enjoy cooking and has recently told me about some of the meals she has made. When she tried on her apron she smiled and said “I love that it has pockets!”
The other big project that I made as a gift was a afghan that I crocheted. This was one of those situations where you might think “everything happens for a reason” or as I prefer to think “God was working behind the scenes”.
I started crocheting this afghan around Thanksgiving time simply because I found a stitch pattern that I wanted to try. I really had no plan for what I was making or what I would do with it. I began with alternating rows of red and blue yarn but when I ran out of the blue yarn the piece was not really big enough to be anything. I went to my yarn stash and found that I had enough of the gray and green yarn to at least double the size of this project. When I finished the gray and green section the afghan would have been a good size for a child, but since I didn’t much care for the color pattern and I didn’t have any children in mind to give it too, I decided to add a third section to make it large enough for an adult. I again went to my yarn stash and found that I had enough black and orange yarn to make a third section.
It was about this time that my husband asked me who I was making it for. “I don’t know,” was my answer, but I began to think about what to do with it. I realized that in the past I have made blankets for all of my daughters except Tina, so I thought I would give it to her. I wasn’t sure if she would like the colors but I was sure she would like wrapping herself in it as she tends to be chilly a lot.
It was two days before Christmas that we learned that we would be having an unexpected guest for Christmas. My father-in-law accepted my husbands invitation to join us for the day. That evening as I finished crocheting and began weaving in the ends I decided to give him the afghan.
Food and Family
Our guests would start arriving around noon so I spent most of Christmas morning in the kitchen preparing our meal. The turkey went into the oven at 8:00 am, then potatoes were peeled, celery and onions were sautéed for the stuffing and frosting was made then the cake was frosted. Meanwhile my husband vacuumed and tidied things up, started a fire in the fireplace and asked if there was anything he could do to help me.
Lindell and Brycen were the first to arrive, so I recruited Brycen to decorate the birthday cake for Jesus. Despite never having decorated a cake before he was eager to help. He completed this task with enthusiasm and I was grateful for the help. I didn’t get any pictures of the cake but I will say – Great job Brycen!
Other guests arrived shortly after. Another picture I didn’t get was Aunt Donna in her Christmas Tree tiara, but in the background of the picture below you can see the comfy-looking elf slippers she put on after removing her shoes. She brought two trays of mini cheese cakes announcing that one tray was made with amaretto. My first thought was “Oh, I’ll have to try that.” My second thought was “that explains the tiara”. LOL! I’m just kidding Aunt Donna doesn’t need to be under the influence of alcohol to do fun and crazy things.
Even before we ate we got Jackson and Addy busy opening gifts. I didn’t make anything for them this year, instead my husband and I spent a few hours perusing toy isles to pick out some gifts.
For Jackson, who has a mechanical mind and is always trying to figure out how things work, we bought this truck/racetrack set. The truck has a horn that blows and a key, that when turned, makes the sound of an engine starting and the headlights come on. It also came with race cars and tools to take the truck part. Once the truck is taken apart the race track is stored inside but we didn’t get it taken apart to see the race track while they were here.
For Addy I picked out a stuffed kitty. I remembered how much she loved Peanut the cat when she met him at our Halloween party, and since her mom said I could not get her a real kitty a stuffed on would have to do.
By far the best gift we received was having the family all together. When the girls were growing up we spent so much time together and never realized how much we would miss each other when they went their separate ways. Nowadays though they keep in close contact through a “sister chat” having them all together happens but once or twice a year.
I am not sure which one of them mentioned having a “sister photo” taken but when they were ready to pose I was ready with my camera. I snapped several photos and when I looked at this picture I wondered what they were all looking at to my left. Then I remembered that Brycen was standing next to me and after I took several photos he said. “now it’s my turn.” Apparently they all looked at him while I stole another photo.
I had the girls put on their aprons and pose again.
Then I handed over my camera and joined the girls. After this picture was taken I said, “now that you are all dressed for doing dishes…” and we all had a good laugh. Actually by this time my husband had many of the dishes already washed up.
Having both of our fathers there was such a blessing. Just like with the girls, the time spent with my dad has become less as the years go by, and the time the girls get to spend with their grandfather is even more rare. Isn’t it true that the more rare something is the more we value it? This was a day to cherish!
Having my Father-In-Law with us to celebrate was truely an amazing gift. This is the first time since we have been together that we have spent a Christmas with him, and I felt honored that at 86 years old he would make the two and a half hour drive from Ohio to celebrate this day with the family.
It had been many years since he had seen the girls and this was the first time he met Jackson and Addy.
When I gave dad his Christmas gift he told me I didn’t have to give him anything. “I wanted to,” I replied. When he said he would open it later, I had to insist that he open it now. He was pleased when he realized that it was an afghan and said he would use it to cover up with in his easy chair. I could relate to this as I have an afghan, that my mom made for me about 30 years ago, that I use to cover up with when I kick back in my recliner for a nap. Dad also marveled that I had made the afghan and asked how long it took. As he was leaving our house to travel home he told me “I can’t wait to use it.” 🙂
Christmas 2019 was a blessed day. As we celebrated the gift of the Christ Child our home was fill with laughter and love.
If you have stayed with me to the end of this very wordy post I thank you, and we wish you many blessings in the New Year.
Christmas 2019 was filled with blessings. Let me share some our Christmas with you.
Gift giving, especially buying lots of commercially made gifts, is not the focus of our Christmas. If you read my previous post about homemade gifts you know that I have been working on making gifts since just after Thanksgiving. That certainly wasn’t too soon to start because I didn’t actually finish up until the afternoon of December 24th. Whew! That was cutting it close! and I didn’t even have time to bake any Christmas cookies this year.
This year since all of our daughters are living in their own homes or apartments I decided to crochet them each a doily. I have several doilies, that were made by my mother, grandmother and my husband’s grandmother, that I treasure. I have them on dressers, book cases, our entertainment center, and our dinning room table. I think they add a touch of class. I also think it is not something that my girls were going to buy for themselves.
As I mentioned I finished up the last one out of four on Christmas Eve and I only snapped a couple of quick photos as I was pressing them because I still had wrapping to do.
The other thing I have been working on for at least as long is making candles. Actually making bees wax candles is something I have been trying to get right for quite a while now. Bees wax seems to be incredibly finicky and will not burn or melt properly if it does not have the right wick.
I spent the month doing candle trials with bees wax, bees wax blended with coconut oil, bees wax blended with tallow and some that were plain tallow and using different types and sizes of wicks that were recommended for bees wax candles. I was able to find a few combinations that burned well, but in no way have I mastered the art of making bees wax candles. (If I ever do I will blog about it.)
As gifts I gave votive candles in a candle holder with an inspirational message attached.
The message was one of these two quotes:
“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Having a white Christmas here in Michigan is hit or miss. Last year on Christmas Eve we had a snow storm. We woke on Christmas morning to a world that was blanketed in the white fluffy stuff. It was picturesque. We had the “White Christmas” that everyone is said to “dream of”. The snow that fell made driving treacherous. I heard accounts from people who were out in it. They said driving took two to three times longer than normal to get where they were going. It also created a lot of work. My husband spent last Christmas morning plowing and shoveling snow – first at the farm, then bringing the tractor home to clear parking spots for our guests. He also did some plowing for (much grateful) neighbors along the way. As it drew closer to time for our guests to arrive I received phone calls from my aunt and one of my daughters who had started out and ran into blinding snow squalls. These hazardous driving conditions prompted their decisions to stay home and safe.
This year we celebrated Christmas without snow. It was a chilly day with temperatures hovering around the freezing point. The ground was brown, the trees barren, and the skies mostly gray, but we did not have the extra work involved in clearing snow and travel conditions were good for our guests. I was not at all disappointed that we did not have a white Christmas.
I spent Christmas morning preparing our meal. The menu included a fresh fruit platter, cheeses and crackers, smoked salmon (my husband smoked it the night before) and olive mixtures for appetizers. The main meal was tossed salad, lasagna and garlic bread. For dessert we had pumpkin pie, (Aunt Donna’s) cheese cake and birthday cake (for Jesus). Not necessarily a traditional Christmas meal of turkey or ham but very much a hit with all of our guests.
On Christmas Eve we were extremely disappointed to learn that my Father-In-Law was not up to making the 2 1/2 hour trip to spend time with us on Christmas Day even though my husband was going to pick him up and bring him here. Thankfully everyone else we were expecting made it. Our guests included my Dad, Aunt Donna, all four of our girls and 2 sons-in-law and of course our two grandbabies 🙂
After we ate we gathered in the living room where we opened gifts, talked, laughed, played, shared memories and created special moments that have now become more precious memories.
One funny thing that sticks in my mind was Kara and Lindell shouting “CAMO CORN” in unison as they each realized at the exact same moment that the bucket of caramel covered popcorn that they had received as gifts was not called Caramel Corn. Nor was it Camel Corn as they thought they had heard someone else say. It was indeed called Camo Corn. LOL!!!
There were precious moments spending time with our two little miracle grandbabies. Jackson who is now two and a half was born at just 26 weeks and spent his first 4 months of life outside the womb in a neonatal intensive care unit. He under went eye surgery before he ever came home from the hospital and when he came home he was still on oxygen and being tube fed. He had surgery to repair two hernia’s when he was about six months old and at this time the surgeon discovered that his appendix was tangled in the hernia, so he had his appendix removed at that time as well. It was only after that surgery that Jackson began eating better and gaining weight and was eventually weaned off the feeding tube.
Each time I spend time with this little guy I am awed by how far he has come after having such a rough start to life. Although Jackson has not yet begun to speak he is learning sign language. When they were here on Thanksgiving his dad was holding Jackson and I threw him a kiss from across the room. His dad showed Jackson how to throw a kiss back to me. We each repeated the action several times. As I stopped and began having a conversation with someone else Jackson signed “more”. When his dad asked “more what?” Jackson leaned in and kissed his dad. Precious moments!
Jackson seems to have an innate curiosity about the world and how things work. He notices little things and studies things as if trying to figure them out. On Christmas we spent time looking at the Christmas lights that hang from our mantle. He would touch one and I would say the color, then he would touch another and I would say the color – then I would say a color and he would look for a light that was that color. He also took an interest in some of the tree ornaments that were hanging at his eye level. Together we looked at them but learned not to pull on them.
When it was time to open presents Jackson started with a gift from Aunt Donna. He took the paper off the box and I removed the gift from the brown card board box. It was a set of 4 wooden puzzles. They were bound together in a plastic wrapper. When Jackson saw them his face lit up. His Mom prompted he to say “thank you” and he signed “thank you”. Then quickly signed “please” indicating that he wanted to play with the puzzles. My husband sliced open the plastic so we could get out one of the puzzles. Jackson removed all of the pieces from the puzzle then began picking up each piece and studying it, then fitting it back into it’s proper place. Later he and he dad spent time playing with the farm set (tractor, cow, horse, corral) that my husband and I picked out for him.
His little sister Addy is now almost 14 months old. It was not Ken and Tina’s plan to have another baby while Jackson still needed so much attention, but God often has plans that differ from we humans. Addy’s entry into the world was much smoother than Jackson’s but only with the aid of much medical intervention. The special prenatal care Tina received allowed her to carry Addy to the date that the doctors had planned her C-section. While it was not a full-term pregnancy she was only a few weeks premature and her development has been normal.
On Christmas day I heard Addy say both “mama” and “dada”. We will be working on “grandma” soon. LOL! While Addy spent some time playing with toys, her activities more so involved being on the move. She busied herself by quickly crawling in whatever direction she was facing. I wanted to give her the freedom to explore but not allow her to get into trouble in our non-baby proof house, so when she took off crawling I would follow along behind her on all 4’s. When she noticed that I was there she would stop long enough to turn and give me a “what the heck are you doing?” look. Then she would quickly be on her way. When she reached a point where I felt she was getting close to trouble I would lift her up and turn her around. Each time I would pick her up she would loudly voice her objection (scream), but once set down she would be happily on her way.
Tina had brought along the sweater and hat that I had made for Addy’s birthday so I could get pictures of her wearing them. When we put the sweater on I was delighted to see that it was a perfect fit. Tina sat Addy on the beanbag and so we could get pictures. I then placed the hat on her head, but before anyone had time to snap a picture Addy had removed the hat. I thought the hat looked very cute on her but I have no proof because each of the several times I put it on her she immediately removed it before we could get a photo. Oh well – I decided I would at least like a photo of her standing up wearing the sweater. She is still wobbly on her feet unless she is supported so I held her up. As soon as her feet touched the ground it was like her legs became springs. She began bouncing up and down as fast as she could and continued bouncing for a good couple of minutes while I held her trying to get her to stand. This little girl’s antics had everyone in the room laughing and I never did get the picture I wanted. (I think her mom got it on video though.) I really don’t see a career in modeling in her future. LOL!!!
Though our time together lasted only a few hours it was a lovely day packed with Christmas blessings. I hope you enjoyed reading about it. ♥