Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year In Review!

Just a few minutes ago while STILL sorting pictures that I have taken this year, I saw this picture and the title for tonight's blog came to my mind. What I am doing with my pictures is really a review of our year...well, the last six months of our year, as I had already sorted the first six months at an earlier time. But this picture just sort of shows life...can't see the whole road ahead as to just where it will take you...you only get to see small parts of life at a time...and sometimes the skies are blue and sometimes cloudy...! This picture was taken on our way to NIH (National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD) in October on our last trip there for 2011. In all respects in looking back we have had a REALLY good year! The best part was the doctor telling us in October that Woody was one of the "lucky ones" that the protocol had worked on...praising God that we heard those words. Now...we know that it wasn't luck...that it was God working His will in our lives...and, we are very happy that Woody's melanoma tumors continue to shrink.

Woody walked to the library today and then ran an errand on his walk. He came home and has read, watched some football, and watched a library DVD. I got up and worked on the Sunday School lesson for tomorrow. Nathan and Elijah came over for a while to play. Elijah was glad to be able to get back in the toy closet as I had it blocked with the coffee table during our Christmas festivities. It is good to have the coffee table out of the middle of the room...freeing up space (making it safer) for little ones to run back and forth delivering presents...plus there are enough new toys not to need to get in and see the old ones that day and for a couple of days after! After playing with the Fisher Price barn (that his Aunt Melany got for Christmas when she was two), Elijah walked over to the Fisher Price nativity and picked up the donkey and said "here's the donkey." And, I told him that there was a talking donkey in the Sunday School lesson that I was studying. He very seriously shook his head "yes" and then said, "and, camels spits." So cute! After I worked on my lesson for a while, I got busy again sorting pictures. Then I went downstairs and made our Mississippi Caviar (a yummy spicy black-eyed pea concoction that one eats with Frito scoops) for tomorrow...we're not superstitious...but we do eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day in one form or another. I went back to sorting pictures. Abigail came over after lunch. She meandered back and forth between the sewing room (where my lap top is...where I am diligently sorting pictures) and the family room where Goosey was. I finished a little handsewing that I needed to do and then went downstairs and enlisted Abigail's help in making soup. We made a cabbage soup...not one that I want all the time, but it does taste good after not having it for so long. Cabbages were on sale so Woody bought several...and the soup was a good use for almost a whole one. Abigail went home before the soup was totally finished and after I did the last steps on the soup, I came back upstairs to continue to sort pictures. Now...figure that most days I take "at least" several pictures...and they are stored in the computer according to the day they were taken...and, now, those pictures are multiplied by two cameras...that's a lot of pictures taken each month...and when you multiply that by six months...well, you get the "picture!" It really has been fun seeing what we have done over these last months...a good review...a good diary...and that is what this blog is, too...a diary for us...and with the pictures added in we have two good sources to remind us of what we have been up to over the year/s!

I still can't believe that 2012 is so close at hand...not many hours now till it will arrive. I wonder where God will lead us down the road of life this year. I'm sure that there will be good times and not so good times...but there is one certainty...God will be right there seeing us through.

God's blessings to one and all on this last day of 2011. Praying that you will realize God's blessings in 2012!

Oh, almost forgot...Woody got a summons to jury duty in the mail today!

Friday, December 30, 2011

And...None to Go!!!!!

Just moments ago I finished the last of the "big brother/sister shirts." So my obligations for sewing prior to the new baby's arrival have been fulfilled! I usually make something for the babies to come home from the hospital in, but this time since he will be a winter baby, Kathy has knitted him a little gown, hat and booties to come home in.

Woody walked this morning and then this afternoon did our grocery shopping. I have spent a good portion of the day finishing up the last two shirts. Several of the children...both young and old have filtered through the house today. Abigail came home from the dentist and a shopping trip and she had finally managed to pull a tooth that had been hanging for a while. Graham came over and spent part of the afternoon. He brought his hexbugs and their habitat and built a maze for them to "run" around in while he was over here. He also got interested in a set of magnets that had been his daddy's when he was a child. We had a pretty good magnet lesson during that playing time (fun to sneak in a "teachable moment" when it isn't expected or even realized!).

Tonight's picture is looking back at summer! I found this when I was sorting pictures (yes, I am still plugging away on that task). It is a picture of a hummingbird moth. It really does resemble a hummingbird.

Well, only one more post to go for this year. This year seems to have passed so very quickly. To think that I have just gotten used to writing 2011 and soon I will have to adjust to writing 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two Down and...

Two of the big brother/sister shirts down and three to go! Just as I was uploading this picture to the blog the design that I'm doing on Abigail's finished. The one pictured is Elijah's...the first time that he will have had a "big brother shirt!" He will be pleased. It is old hat to the others! But they will be pleased also (if I get them done in time!) I know at another time I had to have Nathan take my machine over to their house in order to keep working on shirts while they headed to the hospital! I know that Kathy has been having some contractions...so that may happen this time too!

Woody walked this morning...I believe his four-mile route...but can't ask him as he is next door kidsitting while Kathy and Nathan go to a Sunday School party. I'm heading that way as soon as I finish blogging. I stayed here in order to work on another shirt. Now I'll go help put the little ones to bed and then we will decide who will stay next door till Kathy and Nathan return. Woody went to a funeral this afternoon and also to visit a friend who is in in-house rehab here in town. I have pretty much been sewing and planning designs to go on shirts for the big brothers and sisters. It won't be long till it will be time for them to wear them...wonder if it will be before year's end! The due date is January 15 and all their babies have come exactly one-week prior to their due date...so we will see if this little one will follow along or march to a different drummer!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MissionS Accomplished!

I feel like I have accomplished several things today. Woody and I headed out this morning to accomplish a very important mission...find five shirts for the neighbor grandchildren that I can embroider an "I'm the Big Brother/Sister" design. It is not an easy task to find shirts that are plain enough to embroider on...most shirts have Disney Princesses, Dora, Hello Kitty, Skateboards, etc. on them and I didn't need much, if anything, on them. We finally managed after our fourth store to find five that should work. Said shirts are now either in the washer of the drier. Next will be to get them embroidered before the baby brother is born! The next mission that I accomplished was that I have finally managed to get the downstairs straightened up so we can once again enjoy the Christmas decorations for the duration of the holidays. I am still sorting pictures. I have started sorting through the pictures that I have taken with my little point and shoot camera over the last several months...there's still lots of days to go through...but progress is steadily being made.

Woody went with me shopping (not his favorite thing to do!). I really appreciate him going as he went to more stores than I probably would have and we found the shirts at the store that I probably would not have gone to. This afternoon he walked to the library.

I love tonight's picture of Woody and Graham reading. I took this earlier in the month when Graham was reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Little of This and A Little of That

A little of this and a little of that equals not a lot done for me today. I'm still recovering from Christmas festivities. Yesterday's long nap late in the day meant that I didn't get to bed very early (which means that I read into the wee hours of the morning) and when I did get to sleep then I slept later in the morning. I have been sorting through things...gift bags, gifts (putting them away or on display if they are Christmas related), and the big sorting job...my photos. I did some of the photo sorting in the wee hours of the morning too. I am just about through December for one camera (my interchangable lens camera). The only problem there is that I got my little point and shoot camera this year and have taken more pictures with it than I have taken with my older camera...so that means that I still have LOTS of pictures to go through and get put into correct folders in the computer. I enjoy this task as it lets me review what we have done over the last around six months (but after a while it does make my neck burn...too much looking at the computer screen...don't want a stiff neck!). Why don't I do this sorting more often????? The sorting job is something that I do when on our trips to NIH and happily those have diminished in frequency ("only" five trips to Maryland this year). I have been listening to my Christmas CD's while sorting through all my photos. I did meet a goal yesterday...I finished my 52nd book for this year. So I have averaged a book a week in 2011.

Woody has done quite a bit of reading today. He also has worked on getting his gifts put away. He walked to the prayer room this evening and returned a little while ago. It has been rather damp and chilly today. We got quite a bit of rain last evening and into the wee hours of the morning today...a little over an inch since midnight. This has been a rather wet month. according to Weather Bug we have gotten almost 7 1/2 inches since Dec. 1! Good month for ducks!

Tonight's picture is one that I took at "Night in Bethlehem" last week and made it look like an old photo with my photo software.






Monday, December 26, 2011

Over But the Shouting?!



Just not sure that there is enough energy left to shout! Here we are gathered for our family Christmas celebration on December 24th. Before I went to bed prior to the party I got my tripod all set so it would stand on the stairs and got the camera all set. Then once everyone was here I got everyone to gather in front of the tree (note we just about covered the tree!). I even got in and didn't have to make a dash for it this time as I now have a remote shutter release...worked well!

Christmas Day Woody got up early and walked 8 miles. We both went to church at 10am. Then we came home and got our leftovers out and some warming so that we would be ready for Nathan and family to come over for Christmas lunch. Kathy's parents joined us too. The leftovers worked well for a second meal and we had a nice visit. Later in the afternoon Joy and Esther came over and played for a while as their siblings were watching a movie that didn't interest them or now that I think about it their words were that it scared them. Then they went home and it wasn't long till Nathan and Graham showed up. Nathan had promised Graham that after he read the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia that they would watch the movie: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe...and that would definitely scare the younger ones. So they settled in and Goosey and I watched it with them. (Not my favorite kind of movie.) We had popcorn and then after the movie they partook of some of the leftovers. Graham opted out for PB&J!

This morning Woody walked his 4-mile route. I attempted this morning to get into my gifts and put them away or put them into use. I still haven't gotten the living room back to the way it looked prior to Saturday morning...tomorrow perhaps? I want to get it straightened up so I can sit back and enjoy the decorations for a bit longer. I seem to enjoy them more after than before when it is so busy. Then mid morning we both went over to kidsit as Kathy had a doctor appointment and Nathan went with her this time. We played for a while (Joy and Esther and Elijah enjoyed the playdoh sets that Aunt Melany and Uncle Wade gave them.). Graham and Abigail were otherwise occupied. I warmed up some of their leftovers and we had lunch. We all did a few chores...emptied dishwasher (Goosey with Abigail and Graham helping to tell where things went), loaded dishwasher (me with Abigail's help), swept floor (Joy with a bit of my help), started a load of wash (Graham), and Abigail set the table prior to lunch and then wiped the table off after lunch. So we were busy for a while. Elijah even got in on the helping prior to the meal...he helped me heat up the food. After lunch, Woody and Abigail played a game that they had gotten for Christmas...Graham played banker and the little ones went back to playdoh. Busy times. By the time that we got back to our house I was rather sleepy, but Woody put in a DVD movie that interested me so I managed to stay awake during most of it! Then Woody went to run an errand and I really did fall asleep and slept probably too long...I think that my adrenalin has run out! When I woke up it was time for Antique Roadshow and I decided to watch that and then came upstairs to blog...and then the internet didn't want to cooperate...but finally (unless this doesn't post when I am through!). So that just about sums up our last two days of everything being over BUT the shouting! It has been a very merry and bright "'tis the season" this year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

O' Holy Night

Woody and I hope that you have had a joyous Christmas.




Saturday, December 24, 2011

Silent Night

We have had a wonderful day spent together as a family. There were thirteen of us (well, 14 when you count the new little unborn member!). We had fun visiting, opening gifts, some of us playing with our gifts, and eating and playing and visiting some more. Melany and family headed home and the rest of us prepared to head to church for our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. This is always a special service when we listen to Christmas musical selections, sing carols, listen to a message and then we all light a candle...I am always amazed to watch the light grow as each new candle is lit.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Leftovers Will Be First!

The title for tonight's blog has nothing to do with tonight's picture. I thought that you would like to see a behind the scene picture of Nathan and Kathy's "It's a Family Christmas" program. I took this during one of their practices. Elijah is missing as he hadn't been brought in from the nursery yet. Very good program! Once again God has given Nathan an inspiration for a new meaningful program with lots of entertainment and spiritual value! I went to four of their six programs. I stayed home tonight so I can be ready for our family Christmas in the morning.

Now about tonight's title...we really enjoy leftovers from a turkey dinner and usually don't get to have very many of our favorites. So this Christmas I decided that we would start with the leftovers! I have cooked several turkey breasts and they are turning into some of our favorite things...turkey sandwiches, hot turkey sandwiches, Turkey Ole (one of my mother's recipes and a big favorite of both Nathan's and Melany's families), Creamed Turkey on Toast Points (something that I remember Mother serving...so a childhood memory for me), and Turkey and Rice Soup (Mother always made soup from the very last of the turkey as we do also.) Then there will be lots of sides: Fresh Cranberry Relish (a dear friend shared this recipe with me just this week...I had eaten hers but had never made it myself...yum!), Sweet Potato Casserole (again, a dear friend's recipe and part of our traditional Thanksgiving meal), Cranberry Dressing (new recipe that we are trying from a cookbook that Woody's sister gave us many years ago (our token new recipe for this Christmas)), Zucchini Tomato Casserole (a recipe that we got from Southern Living magazine and have made several times and "most" all like...plus its red and green color just "says" Christmas!), pumpkin cranberry bread (gift from a dear friend), and Pineapple Casserole (recipe shared at a Sunday School class meeting years ago...definitely a family favorite!). All above recipes are oven or stove top ready except for the creamed turkey and the zucchini casserole. The refrigerator is getting rather full! But it holds an amazing amount...especially when I have Woody making space for each item (He said that if I made it, he would get it in the refrigerator!)! I'm tired but hoping that the fact that most of these dishes just have to be popped into a 350 deg. oven an hour or less prior to our lunch or heated on the stove...well, that "should" free me up to enjoy the festivities. I'm so glad that I had our class party here as there isn't a lot to do to get the house "ready"...at least what gets done will be only minimal...too tired to do more than minimal! I do still have to arrange the presents under the tree and there is a bit of vacuuming...just hitting the traffic areas. Oh, and mop the kitchen floor...after all this cooking!

Woody walked his four-mile route this morning and he has been walking behind me helping to keep the kitchen clean. He also ran an errand to the grocery store for me...he said that it is very crowded "out there!" He said that the traffic is much more than usual, that the lines in grocery store are much longer than usual, and that people just seemed to be every where! (Glad that I have stayed home all day!) After our rain yesterday, we have cooled down quite a bit. It is now in the upper 30's and is supposed to get into the upper 20's during the night.

Well, big day for us tomorrow. Guess I had better get back to "whatever!"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Three Kings

Woody got up early and headed out on his walk in order to beat the rains that were predicted. And, predictions came true...we have gotten around an inch of rain today (according to Weather Bug...Woody's rain gauge isn't recording at the moment). The rains have moved on so it looks like things won't be a "wash-out" tonight for the Nativity. Perhaps a bit soggy under foot but that is better than downpours! After his walk, Woody headed to the grocery stores. I started cooking when he got back and have cooked most of the rest of the day in order to be on top of things on Saturday. I want to enjoy Christmas festivities rather than constantly be attending to something in the kitchen. Woody and I are about to head out the door to go to the second night at Night in Bethlehem: A Living Nativity. It will be colder tonight. I want to take a few more pictures...over all I am pleased with what I got but there is room for improvement. Always practicing with what might be a better setting on the cameras!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Story Behind the Ornament #2

The blue beaded ornament called "Message in a Bottle" was made by Melany. It is beaded around the neck of one of our granddaughter's insulin bottles. And, in the bottle is a rolled up message...this one reads Merry Christmas from Melany, Wade, Erin & Alex. I know because Graham got it out when we were decorating and read it and then struggled to get it back in...but back in he did get it! The sweet baby Christmas ornament is our granddaughter Erin Elizabeth. She is a Type I diabetic. So I think of her (and others with this disease...praying for a cure) when I hang this on the tree. I also have a "Message in a Bottle" necklace. I believe that message is "I love you" signed Erin. Hard to believe that sweet little baby is now a sweet college freshman. My time does fly!

'Tis the season! I can't believe it but I can say that all our wrapping is done. The menu for Saturday is planned and ingredients needed are on the grocery list. I machine embroidered a name on one of the gifts that Kathy & Nathan are giving. With that Christmas sewing is finished. At the moment I have batteries charging for the cameras so I will have full charges on extra batteries so hopefully I will make it through the evening without camera batteries giving out. (If they give out when I start with them fully charged then I have taken enough for the evening!) Woody and I will be heading out for The Night In Bethlehem: A Living Nativity in less than an hour. Woody is a greeter this year...so good to see that he feels well enough to once again do that job. I will be attempting to get pictures of some of Bethlehem until it is time for The Dazzling Dorrell's shows and then I will go in and find a spot in the church balcony to take pictures of them. The rain quit early today so things should be in pretty good shape...unless all the wood for fires is wet and causes smoke...then I won't be outside very long! But tonight should be a good night for the outdoor activities. Now tomorrow...well...we are due for storms most of the day so rain free evening is iffy. But then Friday is supposed to be nice once again...we are always glad to get at least two good nights for the Nativity. I used to do costumes...and rainy nights are terrible on the costumes and the costumers...lots of costumes to take home and wash and dry for the next day. Memories! Glad that I'm just taking pictures these days.

Woody walked his four-mile route this afternoon due to the fact that it rained this morning. He has done quite a bit of reading today and some TV watching.

I'm off to get ready to head out the door shortly...need to dress warmly, etc. for the outside activities at the Nativity...not as cold as some years but still chilly...'tis the season!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Come to the Manger!

It's that time of the year once again for me to issue an invitation to any of our blog readers who live close enough. Please come to The Night In Bethlehem: A Living Nativity. I am sure that you will be blessed if you are able to attend. Once again Nathan and his family will be performing. I believe that they have a new Christmas story to share this year. They will be performing twice each of the nights. The first night is tomorrow and it will run through Friday night (Dec. 21,22,23). It starts at 6:30 and is over at 9pm each evening. Lots to see in the little town of Bethlehem (be sure to register at the gate so you will be counted in the census!) and there will be musical performances...different ones different nights. All that and lots of cookies and hot chocolate. I plan to attend at least the first two nights and attempt to get some pictures both inside and out. I didn't get very many good ones outside last year. It was cold and very windy. I couldn't hold my camera still even with it on a monopod. We'll see what the conditions will be this year. Today has been rather balmy...the calm before the storms. We are due for rain to start some time this evening and we are praying that it will be through here by tomorrow night. Rain seems to be the norm for our three nights. We are always glad to have two dry evenings!

Woody stayed busy reading. He is happy I brought home a box of books from the church library for him to read and decide if we need them in the library. He walked to the library this afternoon as I left to get my hair cut and run an errand or two. I woke up this morning with menu plans running through my head for our family Christmas lunch. I think that I have made up my mind what we will have...now to get items needed on the grocery list so Woody can shop for them! This evening when it was almost dark I headed next door to ask Nathan and Kathy something and noticed that a truck pulled up in front of our driveway and stopped. I called Woody from next door to alert him to the fact that it looked like we had some workmen here. They were here to install our gutter helmets. Once I approved the color for them, they continued on and installed them right them even though it was just about dark and was dark by the time they finished. So one more thing done on our repairs due to hail damage.

Monday, December 19, 2011

That's a LOT of Groceries!

Here's what the stage area at the front of our church looked like last night after everyone brought their bags of food forward. There was already a lot of food back in the fellowship hall too. This morning Woody went down to the church to help pack and deliver boxes of food to those in need in our community. Nathan and the children went to pack boxes. After packing boxes, Woody went with Nathan and the children to deliver boxes. I'm not sure what the count of the number of boxes we packed. But I do know that the goal was over 150 and I am pretty sure that they went beyond the goal.

I stayed home and started getting things organized to start wrapping presents. I have set up a wrapping work station on our dining room table. But so far haven't wrapped anything yet. It was also a day of catching up with friends and family on the phone. I am a part of a couple of sewing groups on the internet. On one of the groups we post pictures of things that we have made. I was way behind in posting my Christmas sewing so I did that today too. I would say that this was sort of a wind-down day before I need to get wound back up for all that will be happening this week. We will have our family Christmas on Saturday so I will be needing to get ready for that before long...as in planning a menu! I decided to do things a bit differently this year and want to change up our menu...but haven't settled on anything yet!

Woody stayed busy today first packing boxes and delivering them, then he ran an errand this afternoon that took a while. He and Abigail and Joy walked his four-mile route after they came home from packing White Christmas boxes. He came home after that and relaxed a bit. Graham came over to read. He is really wrapped up in the Chronicles of Narnia. He has started on the second book. He is anxiously waiting to get to watch the first Chronicles of Narnia movie (his reward for finishing the first book). Joy and Esther came over late in the afternoon. Joy helped Goosey make some Tahitian Treats...a yummy confection. Esther came upstairs and did art work and also helped me work on a couple of pictures in the computer. Well, guess it is time to go wrap a few presents...'tis the season to be doing such!







Sunday, December 18, 2011

Baby Booming Right Along!


Well, Woody has joined the rank and file of baby boomers who have turned 65 this year. I'm very happy to be able to announce this birthday since three years ago it didn't look very likely that he would be celebrating this one. I made a banana cake with cream cheese frosting. He decided that he wanted Butter Pecan Ice Cream. We carried both of those items over to the neighbors this afternoon and celebrated in grand style. Woody was treated to presents and a "floor show" after we had cake and ice cream.


We both went to the early church service and then to Sunday School this morning. He taught his sixth grade Sunday School class and I taught my ladies' class (last minute substitute). When we got home, we got busy making a new soup recipe, Cabbage Stew. It was very easy to make and is very tasty. It has salsa in it and Woody chose the hot...so it is very spicy...maybe we will use the medium salsa the next time! I'm posting early tonight as we are heading to church in a few minutes to hear a special missions speaker and have our White Christmas ingathering of food items for those in need in our community.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Story Behind the Ornament #1

This is a brass ornament representing George Washington's home, Mount Vernon. The year that we visited Mount Vernon it was very hot and you didn't want to stay any place very long since nothing was air conditioned. It was so hot that the guides were not encouraging anyone to linger very long on the tours. I know that I passed up getting an ornament that day due to it being so hot and not wanting to stand in a line to purchase it. I had always wished that I had gotten one as I try to get something to represent trips to special places to hang on our Christmas tree as a memory. Well, some years later when Nathan became a US-2 missionary in the Washington DC area, I told him that if he ever went near Mount Vernon that I would like him to get me that brass ornament that I had passed up (or at least one similar). (Southern Baptists assign people interested in becoming career missionaries to different posts around the country and the world for two-year periods of time. This lets them see if they are "really" interested in becoming a missionary full time. In the United States they are called US-2ers and on the foreign field they are called Journeymen.) One Saturday morning Woody and I were getting ready to go to Melany and Wade's and I just happened to go up to Nathan's room for something before we left and I got a VERY big surprise. Nathan jumped out from behind his bed and about scared me to death (Can you imagine my reaction?)! He had made a surprise trip home and had snuck into the house during the night. He couldn't sleep in his bed as it was a water bed and the heat was turned off since he wasn't at home to use the bed. He had slept on the floor between his bed and his dresser. I was so glad that I had gone into his room at that time or we would have left without knowing that he was there and would have missed part of his visit! As it was he got up and got ready and went to see Melany and family with us. He gave me this ornament on that surprise trip. So this ornament has a double memory: first of our trip when the four of us stopped to tour Mount Vernon and second as a memory of Nathan's surprise trip home to see us. One of the funny things about Nathan's visit that time was that he prayed that we wouldn't notice his car parked in front before he surprised us. I did notice the car...a very distinctive Ford Mustang...but my thoughts were when I saw it that the neighbors across the street had someone visiting who had a car almost identical to Nathan's. And, went about my business never dreaming that it was Nathan's...so I guess Nathan's prayer was answered as he surprised us before we realized that it was really his car! Well, that is just one of many stories behind the ornaments on our tree.

Woody went to the library this morning. I slept in for a change...I think catching up on some much needed sleep. I was sleeping so soundly that I didn't hear the workers tearing down Nathan and Kathy's back porch. Hail damaged the roof of their porch and the work was started today to replace it. I managed to get started on wrapping gifts...still a lot to go...but each one done makes the job a bit smaller! I will be so glad when I can see the top of our guest bed once again. Right now it has wrapped gifts from AZ on it and also lots of unwrapped gifts along with wrapping paper and gift bags, etc. 'Tis the season!

This afternoon we had all the neighbor grandchildren filter in and out at one time or another. Some played dolls in the tea party area of our upstairs hall, some read, some helped me cook, etc. I am in the process of making a birthday cake. I will go down and make the frosting and then frost it after I finish the blog. You'll find out tomorrow about this monumental birthday for someone in our family!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ya Gotta Keep on Top of Those Sheep!

I asked Graham to set up the Fisher Price manger scene just before my party last week. This is how he set up the shepherd scene...with one of the little shepherds balanced on top of one of the sheep.

Today has been a rather rainy day...at least the first half. Woody got his exercise in grocery shopping. He took Esther and Elijah with him to WalMart and Kroger. I'm sure an adventure for all! Last night before I went to bed I had the five gifts that I was working on all finished. Today I have spent sewing out names and the years to put on the ornaments for Nathan and family. I got those finished and got them applied to their ornaments and then put hanging cords on all the rest of the ornaments that I have made for gifting this year. I also made a stocking with Elijah's name on it for their advent calendar. I should have made this last year but didn't have any red felt. So now Elijah has a stocking to hang when it's his turn (Monday). Their advent calendar is the one that Mother made us when Melany was two and Nathan was a baby. I had made one for Melany's family just like this one so when Nathan married we gave Kathy and him "ours." It is a tree and each day during December there is a different ornament to snap onto the tree. Each of the children have a stocking to hang on the tree the last days before Christmas with the star to be the last ornament to be put up on the 24th. After my little sewing projects, I started cleaning up the mess in my sewing room that has accumulated during the last week or so and watching some old Christmas movies that I have on CD's. Last year Nathan and Kathy and family gave me a collection of lots of vintage Christmas movies and cartoons. I have been viewing them keeping in mind which ones that I think that their family might enjoy. One that I watched today was Santa Claus conquers the Martians (or some such). I figured that this would be one that I didn't recommend...but Graham came over and it caught his attention and watched part of it and he thought that it was funny. I think that probably out of the children, he would be the only one who would enjoy it. It was funny. It was made in the early 60's and there was talk of rockets and space...a far cry from what a movie about such would be today! Woody watched his favorite Christmas movie today: Miracle on 34th Street. Woody headed next door a few minutes ago leaving me here to blog. I will head over as soon as I post this. We are kid sitting while the parents go stocking stuffer shopping. Pretty much time for jammies and some stories.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Tis the Season!

Woody woke up really early and headed out on a walk. He knew that it was supposed to rain so headed out before the rain started. Today was the last day for school for this year/semester for me. We had a good day. Elijah came over first and enjoyed his time and then Esther and then Joy. Joy opted to read her reading book assignment to Goosey today. So I ended up starting sewing early with Abigail which let her finish her last placemat. So as of noon today she had made six placemats for her family this school year. She did a very good job and has learned a lot about sewing while doing them. As soon as I ate lunch I started in on some Christmas sewing and pretty much stayed at it all the rest of the afternoon. I did stop long enough to go pick up something that I needed at the quilt shop. After supper I talked to Melany for a while. Wade picked up Erin Tuesday so she is home from college for the rest of the holidays. Alex finished school today. So looks like it is 'tis the season for everyone's school to be winding down. After I talked with Melany I went back to my sewing project and got to a good stopping place and decided to take a break. I sat down in the recliner in our bedroom to read...well, I guess I dozed off and just woke up a few minutes ago...guess I needed a power nap! We've had a little over a half an inch of rain so far today. Guess it is time for me to head back to the sewing machine...'tis the season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All Joy NOW Wants for Christmas!

I posted a picture of Joy after she lost her first front tooth towards the end of November. Well, she now fits the song to a "T!" Now this tooth came out under questionable circumstances...something about Esther putting a blanket over Joy's head and when Joy emerged...voila...one less tooth! For it to have been no more of a confrontation, the tooth must have been close to ready to come out!




Today the children and I had a "normal" day of school. Elijah worked on his sounds and his colors and then Esther came over for her school time. It is a very exciting time for Esther as she has started sounding out three letter phonetic words and is able to "hear" the word when she blends the sounds together. That means that she has moved from making words with the Movable Alphabet to reading three letter phonetic words and putting them with a picture of that word! A very big first step in reading.




Joy also came over and did her reading school work. She's doing great with her first-grade reading also. She read in her school reading book today and did a workbook page. Then it was time for Abigail's sewing lesson. She pieced strips together today for the top of Esther's placemat and also got the batting cut out so she can go on to the next step in tomorrow's sewing time. While I was doing school, Woody did some work in the yard. I came home and grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed off to the church to work in the library. Once again we got quite a bit done in our very festively decorated library. Shortly after I left to work in the library, Woody headed off on his walk for the day. It has been a rather mild day today. It almost got to 70f today. There is supposed to be another cold front approaching which means rain and perhaps a storm or two at some point tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another First!

I had always wanted to make a gingerbread house and now I can at least say that I helped make three. We started out making four, but somehow we didn't make enough of the sidewalls. So Esther ended up decorating a couple of gingerbread men and also made a tree out of a sugar cone. The older three made houses. All the cans on the table were wall supports till the frosting glue dried. We were successful in getting three houses over to their house after each got them decorated with candy. You can say that this was the grand finale art class of this semester! Woody didn't think that they were going to need much assistance...it only took a moment or two for him to decide that we were both needed to get this art lesson done! After the last house was decorated, we started in a bit on the clean up and also on making a pot of soup. We were needed to go over to their house late afternoon to sit while Elijah finished out his nap as the parents both needed to be somewhere at the same time. Woody went over at the start and I continued to clean up the kitchen. My floor won't know what to think as it has gotten mopped twice in less than a week! I think all the mess was worth it as each was very pleased with what they made today. They enjoyed a few pieces of candy and also ended up providing their family with dessert for lunch (gingerbread men cookies decorated to the hilt! After I finished mopping the floor I went next door to stay with Elijah till Kathy and children got home from gymnastics. Woody left to walk to the prayer room. I am home now...ready to collapse! Fun day but exhausting!!!! But at least I can say that I have assisted in making a gingerbread house! The gingerbread houses that were featured for many years running in Good Housekeeping (very intricate!) were what got me intrigued with making one sometime. Ours were very simple...good thing!!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

We Have a Visitor!

Flat Corbin arrived in the mail today from Arizona. You can see him sitting on the flag of our mailbox. Flat Corbin is to stay with us for a couple of weeks and have his picture taken doing things here in TN. I have had fun today superimposing him on some of my photos that I have taken at other times around the state. It is a project for my great-nephew Corbin's second grade class. It is a way for the class to learn about different places in the world. Flat Corbin is going to attempt to tell Corbin's class about TN. I will mail Flat Corbin back to Corbin in a couple of weeks and then Corbin will make a poster with the pictures, etc. that I send back with Flat Corbin. My next project for the evening is to get things ready for a surprise Christmas art class that Goosey (Woody) and I have planned for tomorrow. We may be up to our elbows in a mess tomorrow...that's the only hint that I will give. Perhaps if we survive there might be a picture or two on tomorrow night's blog. I tried to get back to a normal school schedule this morning. Elijah, Esther, and Joy had some school time and Graham had some sewing time. Graham finished his second pillowcase. This is their last week of school before their Christmas break.

Last night Woody and I finalized this year's Christmas letter and I printed them off. This morning Woody started addressing the envelopes...but ran out of envelopes. So he addressed as many as he could and then walked to the Post Office to mail those and also to buy stamps. Later in the afternoon he ran an errand and bought some more envelopes and also some supplies for that secret Christmas art project. He finished addressing the rest of the envelopes after he got home and mailed those on his way to church tonight for Monday Night Prayer Meeting.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What a Group!!!




Here we are (except for me). The staircase wall kept me from backing up enough to get all of everyone in...I tried hard...at least you can see parts of 19 of us and you can imagine me behind the camera (that makes a total of 20 in attendance). We really had a great group this morning...lots of yummy food (we are very good cooks!), lots of fellowship and lots of laughs all tied together with our Sunday School lesson. We once again had an ornament exchange and I read "The Right Family." Every time the word ""right" is said we pass the gifts to the right and every time I read the word "left" the gifts are passed to the left. You can imagine what happens when "right" and "left" are read very close together. I had to pause several times when reading so they could get the gifts straightened out...often someone ends up with two gifts and has to figure out who should have the second one! This brings lots of laughter no matter how many years we have read this same story. Today we had a birthday cake for Jesus...a first for our class gatherings. We all sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and then the cake was cut and enjoyed by all...that is after the candle was blown out...which of course ended up in laughter for us when it took several tries to get it blown out. I managed to get a video (blackmail for another time? who me?) of our silliness! Then we calmed down (we do have our serious sides too!) and had our Sunday School lesson. Then a good part of the group headed off and went to the 11am service at church.




As my first guest arrived this morning, Woody left for the first service at church. He then went to Sunday School and taught his sixth boys' class. After the party, I separated the dishes and put those in the dishwasher that could be washed there. When Woody got home, he washed and dried the rest. Even though this task looks rather daunting with 20 plates, 20 dessert plates, 20 cups and saucers, various glasses, and the forks, spoons and serving pieces all piled up around the kitchen, it really didn't take long at all to clean it up. By 1pm all dishes had been washed either by hand or machine. I took a break and went to lie down for a while and managed to take a little nap (adrenalin had quit flowing!). Woody went to church this evening. I have started putting the dishes away. I still have the Christmas dishes to put away and I have delayed that as I am trying to decide if I want to trade out of some of them with our everyday dishes so we will use them more over the next weeks. Also these have to be put away using a step ladder so another reason to postpone for a bit. I have been up and down that step ladder more times than can be counted over the last couple of weeks. Woody is now home from church and we have settled in for the evening.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ready of Not...

Looks like Goosey and Elijah are ready whether Grammy is or not! Elijah had fun trying on Goosey's glasses, but when it came to looking at something he had to take them off to be able to see it! And, ready or not my friends will be here at 8am tomorrow! Woody walked to the library and stopped at the fruit market on his way home. He also went out visiting again...inviting folk to the Living Nativity. I have pretty much just been getting ready. And, still have more to do, though there is a definite light at the end of the tunnel. The wassil still has one more cooking time (10pm) and then it will be ready to just be warmed in the morning. I think as long as I have the wassil I will be forgiven for whatever I might not get done! I'm really doing more cleaning than I need to for the party. When I decorate at Christmas I do a very thorough cleaning. (Christmas cleaning vs. Fall cleaning!) What I get done now won't have to be done after the party and then I can perhaps put my feet up and relax a bit and enjoy watching the days prior to Christmas unveil! I imagine that I will be busy the next two weeks no matter how much I get done prior to the party! Well, back to moving chairs around and getting dishes out for us to eat on!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Decoration??

I found this little fellow sitting very nicely in front of our TV the other day (in the jar)! Graham had brought him over to show us and forgot him. He has definitely not joined our decorations! Goosey (Woody) walked him over to Graham and I imagine that he has been released to find a place to burrow to keep warm.

The first job of the day was getting the boxes back into the closet and Woody did that task admirably. It's so good to see the hallway once again! He even vacuumed the hall for me. I have put the last touches on our decorations and have cleaned today. It seems that my life has been run by buzzers today...kitchen timers and the drier buzzer. Woody had a meeting in town today so he walked and then on the way back he picked up a couple prescriptions for me at the pharmacy. He made vegetarian burritos for our lunch. We hadn't had those in a long time. They really are quite good...but I fudged and added a bit of shredded beef and some cheese. I think that I am well on the way to being ready for the party. Still several things left to do tomorrow...like getting out dishes, etc. My first task in the morning will be to make the Cottey Wassil.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Awash with Memories!

As of 6:20pm the tree had its last ornament hung on it. Hallelujah!!!!! Graham was over this afternoon and he said, "You have a lot of interesting ornaments." And, he spoke the truth...we have a lot of ornaments AND they are interesting and most have a story behind them. I told a few of them to Graham and Abigail this afternoon. As I hang the ornaments on the tree I have special thoughts about whoever gave them to me. So some of you have definitely been in my thoughts and prayers over the last several days. It has been a bit of an emotional time for me this year as Mother has given us so many ornaments over the years. Mother made quite a few that are on the tree. So, along with the joy of seeing each of the ornaments as I took them out of their boxes and hung them on the tree, there has also been a bit of sadness this time around. But definitely there is joy for me now that the tree is done. Now Woody can do one of his Christmas decorating jobs...putting the puzzle of boxes back in the Christmas closet. It will be good to be able to walk down our hall without obstructions once again!

Woody walked his four-mile route today. It was sunny, but brisk out today. His big job of the day was making two huge batches of Chex Mix. Yummmmmmmmmmm! It must be Christmas! It is rather adictive...once you take the first bite, it is hard to not go back for more bites! Late this afternoon he and Abigail made a few visits inviting some folk to the Night in Bethlehem/Living Nativity at First Baptist Church in Tullahoma on December 21, 22, 23. Abigail juggled scarves for them. The Dazzling Dorrell's will be performing all three nights once again. Must be Christmas, when I start talking about the Living Nativity!!! We ordered the last of our Christmas presents (I think/hope) today and another one came in the mail. That completed the "pickle present" for this year...must be Christmas when I start talking about the "pickle present!"

I will explain our pickle present tradition, though I am sure that I have done this in a blog in past Decembers (so, for those who remember, please forgive my repetition). I hide a pickle ornament on the tree. When we have our family Christmas celebration all the grandchildren try to find the pickle. The first one who finds it gets to open the "pickle present." The pickle present is for all the grandchildren and whatever happens to be in the box or bag that year stays at Grammy and Goosey's house for all of them to enjoy. They have great fun looking for the pickle. I'm sure that the little ones will start having "pickle practice." That is practice spotting the pickle prior to our Christma celebration! The pickle gets moved quite a few times prior to Christmas. Each year a different adult hides the pickle so it isn't always in the same spot. We adults always think that we have hidden it really well, but it doesn't usually take very long for one of the children to spot it. It is quite the coveted thing among the grands to be "the one" who finds it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The "S" Word

The weathermen can be happy...they predicted snow (the "s" word) and we did get some. It didn't stick...but was very pretty as it was floating through the air. I enjoyed watching the snow fall as I put more decorations on the tree. I would guess that I am about half-way through my ornaments...maybe (hopefully) a bit more than half-way. I have done lots of little jobs today. One was to tie ribbons on five little packages that needed to go in the AZ box. After I did that then the ball was back in Woody's court to pack the box and get it sealed with tape and addressed. He did that after he came back from WalMart and Kroger. He did our weekly shopping a bit early today taking advantage of Kroger's once-a-month senior discount (first time that he has done this). He came home with clues as to some cooking projects down the road...Chex Mix ingredients (really must be Christmas! I can hardly wait to smell it baking in the oven...Woody makes the Chex Mix...and I nibble...if I can get passed his stirring spoon!), some special cookies that he makes at this time of the year and other goodies. He also got the ingredients for my Cottey Wassil (the way they spelled it) that I make every year for our Sunday School party. The recipe that I use dates back to my Cottey College ( in Nevada, MO) years. It is the recipe for the Wassil that we had after we walked around campus hanging wreaths on the doors of buildings (Hanging of the Green). We went back to one of the residence halls and had wassil and sang Christmas songs. Ahhhhhhh memories...at least I can still remember those times! I will be making the Wassil at the end of the week...at least a day ahead of the day that you are serving it...so at least by Saturday. Woody took the package to the Post Office and mailed it...so...again...it st be getting close to Christmas...since their packages are on their way. We also shopped today...online. We have just about finished with our Christmas gift buying...just one more grandchild to get a gift for ( I think). 'Tis the season! Well, back to getting "things" ready for the party!



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Day Is It?

Oh, right...it's Tuesday...Woody has been gathering the trash to take out to the road. I got up and headed straight into the sewing room and got to work on finishing the last little doll outfit that I was making for my great-niece Julianna, who lives in AZ. Well, I finally got all the doll sewing finished a couple of hours ago. Then gathered up the gifts for AZ and took them downstairs for Woody to wrap. Then I put bows on them, etc. I just put the last ones on the table that need to be wrapped. He can do that when he returns from the prayer room at church or in the morning. He started writing our Christmas letter.

This morning my four little art students came over a bit early as their mommy and daddy were going her OB. She was having an ultrasound. Woody went next door to take care of Elijah. I was hoping to have art finished before our heat pump supervisor came to inspect...but he came early so Woody and Elijah came over here. The children drew the shape of a Christmas ornament and then decorated it the way that they wanted to. Then I gave them the outline of a giant ornament and they drew a design on it and then some made the design out of cut and/or torn paper. They did a good job on them. Esther put spirals on hers which got us to cutting spirals...before long all were cutting spirals. Graham managed to cut one that ended up being long enough to stretch from the top of the stairs to the bottom. After art, The four oldest children went back next door and they got back to work on their school assignments. Kathy and Nathan got a good report from the doctor...everything is fine with baby Dorrell#6.

Our Christmas tree is still lacking ornaments. Maybe I can get busy on it in a few minutes and really concentrate on it tomorrow. I need to get all those boxes emptied so Woody can put them back in the "Christmas closet." Lots to do before my Sunday party!!!!! The to-do list is growing rather than shrinking! It's raining and one of the weather forecasters mentioned the "s" word for tomorrow.

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Ornament!

Elijah got the honor of hanging the first ornament this year. So far I have four ornaments on the tree...Joy hasn't hung one yet. I spent a good part of the day clearing off tables and wrapping up decorative items that are out year-round. The stack of boxes grows taller in the hallway. The good thing is that all those boxes are now either empty or have "normal" decorations in them. I still have the shadow box in the kitchen to turn into Christmas. I had forgotten all about it till sometime this morning and then couldn't find the box with the little Christmas things in it. I ended up finding it downstairs with the Christmas tree ornaments. Esther helped me a lot this morning. She carried boxes up and down the stairs. While she was here I got the dining room table all cleared of tissue paper and boxes, etc. and then she and I got the "center piece" ready for the table. I can say that the dining room is totally finished (except for removing the step ladder...so guess it isn't completely finished!). Late this afternoon I finally managed to cut out a doll dress...that will let me get the sewing things off my sewing table. Then I will move the sewing table closer to the Christmas tree so I can put the boxes of ornaments up on the table so I won't have to bend over so much. Woody and Elijah went to the "can man" to recycle the aluminum cans. The money that they got will be put in The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. There are quite a few at church who save their empty aluminum cans to be recycled so the money can go for this offering. We happen to be the drop-off place for the cans...or Woody picks them up from church at a drop-off spot...then they are stored in our garage till enough gather to make it worth the trip to "the can man." Woody also got another treasure hunt going. It started with Abigail this time, but she quickly got Graham in on it with her and lost interest before Graham did. But then the rain started and that stopped the treasure hunt for today and probably for the next day or so. We ate supper over at Nathan and Kathy's this evening. Woody left from there to go to Monday Night Prayer Meeting at church. I stayed a bit longer looked at the latest robot that Graham had built and watched Graham and Nathan practice passing juggling rings and then Kathy joined them. I read a couple of stories to Elijah, Esther and Joy. The girls showed me the new toys that they got this weekend when they juggled for a Christmas program in Kentucky. Now I think that I will sew for a while on this little dress since it needs to find its way into a wrapped box to send off to AZ. I feel quite behind with AZ packages this year. We are still waiting for a delivery before we can even think about sending it off so I have a bit of a reprieve! Then it is get serious about the Christmas tree. I think that I will have a bit of help tomorrow...we have art tomorrow (I'm only doing a "little" school this week since I am getting ready for "my" party.) and we will be taking care of the five of them for a little while when Nathan and Kathy go for Kathy's ultra sound tomorrow...getting really close to our newest little one who is due the middle of January.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hanging of the Green



Tonight was the Hanging of the Green Service at our church. Four of our five youngest grandchildren were in the program. I didn't think that I was going to be able to post a picture of Esther's preschool choir as I only took a movie during it. But I fooled around with three of my photo programs and found that one of them would let you capture stills from a movie. So that was my "learn something every day" moment of today! Esther's choir is the top one. They made their t-shirts...handprint wreaths. Graham, Abigail and Joy are all in the same choir. All the choirs did a very nice job making us get into this advent season. The church looks very pretty with all the "green" hung.


Woody and I went to the early service and then went to Sunday School. Woody taught his sixth-grade boys' class. We came home and Woody continued to make the Ham and Barley Soup that he had started before we left this morning. This soup has quite a bit of cutting and then several stages of browning veggies and then a long cooking time. I helped along the way with a bit of cutting and stirring...but this soup we will give credit to Woody for! We each had a bowl late in the afternoon. Very tasty! I continued the decorating...getting closer. I can almost say that all I have left is the big tree...but not quite. Maybe before the evening ends?



Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Window on the Past

Tonight's blog picture shows the manger scene that our family used when I was growing up. My sister sent it to me in with our Christmas gifts this year. I had been trying to figure out a place to display it and last night when I was putting angels on top of our china cabinet I thought that it might fit in the middle of the top shelf of the china cabinet...and, it did! It is pushed together a bit more than it would be in a larger space, but it is in a place that we can see it and enjoy it. This scene is made of cardboard...though it doesn't look it. I guess the amazing thing is that most all of its pieces still exist and some of them are quite small. The tabs that hold it together are a bit worn and have been mended a few times with tape, but they still are there and continue to hold the scene together.

It has been a pretty busy day for both Woody and me. Woody has checked on the roofers at Nathan and Kathy's several times. Things went well and they have a new roof on their garage and house. Woody managed to get the rest of the leaves mulched. He ran several errands...the last of which was to attempt to purchase some turnips for our Ham and Barley Soup. He had purchased a rutabaga by mistake yesterday, which I think could have been substituted for the turnips...perhaps we will try both in the soup this time...after all, "it's soup". We often say "it's soup" when we are making soup and not following the ingredients and/or the amounts in the recipe exactly. We have found that you don't have to be exact when making soup and that you can often change ingredients and you still "usually" end up with a tasty end product. I have made enough different soups at this point that I usually know what will work and what won't. I have pretty much stayed busy in the house working on cleaning and decorating. I have done a little bit of this and a little bit of that...vacuumed carpets, shampooed carpets, dusted furniture, polished furniture, washed my cup and saucer collection, dried the same cups and saucers, put the cups and saucers back in the display shelf, taken down decorative items, put up Christmas items, emptied boxes of Christmas decorations, filled boxes with everyday decorative items, gone up and down the stairs numerous times, made the pile of boxes shown in last night's blog picture higher, moved furniture, moved same furniture back, and when I sit down to take a rest I have found myself dozing off...once in front of the computer and the other time when I sat in a chair in the living room after completing the shampooing...best for me not to sit on days like this! Seems like a long day...but I can see some light at the end of the tunnel (but that light is still pretty small!). Woody managed to get our big Christmas tree box out of the closet and down the stairs so it will be there when the moment comes that I am ready to put the tree up. This has definitely been a "Tis the Season kind of day! Hope I survive till it is "Tisn't the Season!"



Friday, December 2, 2011

Scary?

I don't know if this picture is as scary to you as it is to me! This is what our upstairs hallway looks like and this doesn't really show it all! Plus all the boxes aren't out of the closet yet. Some of these boxes are still full of Christmas decorations and ornaments and some have already been emptied and filled back up with regular every day decorations. The scary part to me is that my Sunday School party is just a little over a week away. Finally this evening I have started doing a bit more of the decorating...but I really should be sewing another doll dress as that present has to be sent to AZ. I got all the ornaments that I have been working on over the last several months to their next step. The next step is to put on their hanging cords. This afternoon I made cookies for an event at church in the morning. So I have been busy...just not making much headway in the decorating department. Woody walked his four-mile route this afternoon. It has been a beautiful day. The temperatures were in the upper 20's early this morning, but the day warmed up into the 60's...very nice! On Woody's walk he counted eight houses getting new roofs. A while after he got back he got to oversee Nathan's roofing crew as they arrived rather late and Nathan and family were away at the time. They got the garage shingles taken off and started getting the tar paper on and then it was getting dark so they put a blue tarp over things and went on their way. Woody came in quite pleased as he had been able to communicate successfully in Spanish. Woody said to one of the workers, "manana" and the worker replied, "si." Too funny!

Now for an explanation. One of my blog readers asked about our Deacon-Widow banquet as to why the banquet had that name and what the name meant. Twelve years ago Woody and I were visiting Nathan in TX while he was in seminary. He had an engagement at a church to juggle as the entertainment for a banquet. The person who asked him to do the program found out that we were visiting and we were invited to the banquet, too (perks of being the juggler's parents!). It was a special banquet where the widows at their church were honored and it was given by the deacons of their church. Woody came back and made the suggestion that we start this tradition in our church. The deacon's (and their wives) had for years and years had a banquet at Christmas so it was decided to invite the widows of our church to the Deacon Christmas banquet...and thus it became the Deacon-Widow Banquet. The widows really seem to enjoy being our guests at this banquet each year. Last night, I believe that we had close to 25 widows in attendance. Each deacon in our church is assigned to 12 or so families and is responsible in keeping up with their needs. It is called the Deacon Family Care Plan. Most deacons have at least one widow in their Family Care Plan and they are responsible in seeing that "their" widow/s get invited to the banquet and offer to pick them up to take them to the banquet. Last night it worked out that Woody and I were able to sit at the table where "his" widow sat. The deacons serve the food at the banquet to their their widow/s and any other guests (pastoral staff, deacon's wives and entertainers for the evening) (and themselves eventually!). There is always entertainment after we eat. At the end of the banquet there is a gift given to each widow...this year a poinsettia. It has become a very nice Christmas tradition. I'm very glad that Woody took the initiative to get this started in our church.

Back to a little decorating...preparing for putting angels on top of our china cabinet...lots of up and down on the step ladder!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Us Two and a Guest"




I'm really late blogging...and, no, the Deacon-Widow Banquet did not last this long. It was a late evening for us but we have been home for over an hour. I got distracted and then had to download pictures and then had internet connection problems. We had a very well attended banquet as you can tell by the top picture. I have a pretty wide lens, but couldn't get all the tables in one picture...but you get the gist that there were quite a few of us in attendance. Good fellowship, good food, and good entertainment. Our entertainment was a local group called "Us Two and Him," but "Him" wasn't able to be here tonight so they had a guest guitarist who joined them. They are really funny. We all had a good laugh to start out our Christmas celebrations. I ate too much and really should have passed on the dessert, but it was really good cheesecake and I just couldn't and I ate all but one bite which I did share with Woody just so he could see what he was missing! He had pecan pie...couldn't have been as good as the cheesecake!




We have had a busy day. Elijah, Esther, and Joy came over for school lessons. Then Abigail had her sewing lesson. Today she prepared fabric for Esther's placemat. She did a LOT of cutting. I think that her hand was tired when she left. While Abigail sewed with me, Woody walked to the Post Office. After lunch Woody and I went to Lowe's and WalMart to look at microwaves (ours died a couple of days ago). We came home with a new one and it is all plugged in and has warmed a cup of tea for me...so I know that it works. Then this evening we had the Deacon-Widow Banquet. So a very busy day. It was good that Woody felt like going to the banquet. The last one that we attended was three years ago...just days after he had been told that his melanoma had returned. He was in a lot of pain at that time and was pretty miserable and all I could think about was his diagnosis...that wasn't the best memory of a deacon-widow banquet...so it was good to be back in attendance and to have him enjoying it once again.




Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh Chooooooooooooooooo!

I thought that I was better, but after getting home from the church my eyes started itching and my nose started running and I started sneezing again...this is definitely like an allergy attack. I grabbed up my allergy medication that I had run out of and quickly took it and "things" seem to have calmed down. Not what I need at the moment...too much to do since it is 'tis the season!

Woody ran errands (Credit Union, WalMart and Kroger) after he spent time with Elijah (after Elijah's school time with me). School went pretty much as normal...Elijah, Esther, Joy, and then Abigail had sewing. Abigail finished Joy's placemat today. So she will start on her last one tomorrow...Esther's. When she gets finished with Esther's she will have made six. Graham made his own. When I was finished with Abigail's sewing lesson, Woody had returned from grocery shopping. He was feeling a bit done-in so I put away most of the groceries. Then I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed off to the church library. We were in decorating mode in the library today. After several hours of work, the library looks quite festive.

Tonight's picture is what Nathan and Kathy and family's Christmas tree lights look like through some special glasses they have (a bit like 3-D glasses but you don't have to look through both lenses to get this special effect). I put a lens of the glasses over my camera lens and took a picture. The lights turn into snowmen! If you turn your head to one side the snowmen turn that way too...if you stand on your head so do the snowmen...I took the children's word for the latter!

Not sure when I will be blogging tomorrow night. Woody and I will be attending the 11th annual Deacon-Widow Christmas Banquet so either I will be blogging early or late.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tree Tuesday

Tonight's picture is proof that the weathermen called it pretty accurately...at least as far as when it would start snowing. I happened to be awake a little before 2am and decided that I would look out the window and see if they were right. And, it was snowing to beat the band. I scooted into the next room and got my little camera and gave it a try to capture it falling. It was starting to stick to the leaf piles at this point. When I got up there was snow on the leaves and also on roofs...so next to no accumulation. The grandchildren reported that they went out for a few minutes (Kathy said that they were on their second set of clothes when I called at 9am) and Esther said that the climbing part of their swing set had some snow on it. She giggled and said that they had tasted it. I told her that there would probably be a day this winter when we would get a really good snow that would be more fun to play in. She then flopped on the floor and said that they would be able to make snow angels and she pretended to make one! Elijah didn't come over for school as there was a big truck at their house (they got insulation today) so he stayed to check things out. Esther had her school time and then she and I got the room ready for art. Today they learned several ways to make Christmas/pine trees (the reason for tonight's blog title...sort of wish that it was because I had started decorating our big tree...one of these days!). They drew, colored, and used construction to create several pictures. Then I had several activity papers for them to do with Christmas tree themes...a coloring page, a dot-to-dot, and a maze. I think that fun was had by all. The girls trouped home after donning coats, scarves, and gloves. Graham stayed behind to have his sewing lesson. He completed one of his pillowcases. He did a great job (I hope that he sleeps well on it tonight.)! He now knows how to make European-style pillowcases (those that have a pocket on one end on the inside to tuck your pillow in so it won't come out of the case. Woody has read and watched TV and just generally taken it easy today. He is feeling better and his voice seems to be getting stronger. He'd better be feeling better as he has walked to the church for his time in the prayer room. I sat and rested for a bit after school and lunch and then I got going on doll clothes sewing. A dolly nightgown is taking shape. I'm still not feeling the greatest. Woody still insists that his was allergies. And, mine may be...after all we did have insulation blown in yesterday and I have been stirring up dust as I clean while I decorate and I realized last night that I had forgotten to take my allergy meds the night before and also I have run out of one of the allergy pills that I take (and, didn't feel like going out to get them today)...so all those things could factor into my stuffed up/achy head and my sneezing and my runny nose. Best to just keep going and forget about all those symptoms...I'm trying! The Thanksgiving leftovers are leaving...so it looks like I will have to cook again in the not too distant future. I have enjoyed the days off from cooking. The only thing that I have cooked since Thanksgiving is turkey soup...I'm getting spoiled! Woody got up this morning and made sweet potato waffles...yum. Well, I'd better get back to my baby doll sewing.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Insulating Day



We received a call from the insulation folk at 8am saying that they would be here in a half hour. Woody quickly put in a call to our heat pump folk as they had one more task that needed to be done following the roofing job and preceding the insulation job. Heat pump worker was here very quickly after the call and did his job and as he was leaving the insulation workers were arriving. Insulation work was completed a little after noon. Of course all this put me off schedule with school, as it would have been a bit difficult for us to be trouping up and down the stairs with the insulation hose on the stairs! So Graham came over after he had lunch and he got the two designs embroidered on his two pillow cases. A little later Abigail came over and read to me and then had Goosey (Woody) read her a story and then I walked her home as it had already gotten dark. That was the extent of school over here today. Elijah is doing great after his eye injury yesterday. He woke up this morning being able to open his eyes. He did tell his mommy that things looked fuzzy. This evening when I saw him, he was definitely a different little boy than the one I took care of last night. I couldn't tell that he had an eye injury at all. He was back to playing with his big trucks. Since my day got turned a bit upside down...couldn't really decorate while the workers were here and couldn't really sew, I ended up folding laundry and putting away table cloths and napkins that we used for Thanksgiving and then made a big pot of turkey soup. There was a bit of a vacuuming job after the insulation. I vacuumed in the hall upstairs and then started down the stairs. Then Woody took over and finished the rest of the stairs and vacuumed at the doorway (including our doormat that was covered with little beads of insulation) and also the dining room. When Woody went to heat up a bowl of soup for supper, he discovered that our microwave doesn't seem to be working properly...hard to go back to old fashioned heating things on top of the stove! I've been a bit snuffly and not feeling the greatest this afternoon...Woody still claims that what ailed him was allergies...but I'm wondering if that is the case since my symptoms seem an awful lot like his...oh, well...give it a few days! I spent part of the afternoon working on ideas for art class for tomorrow. Woody left a little while ago for the Monday night prayer meeting at church. Today's weather continued to be quite wet...since midnight Weatherbug says that we have gotten .65 in. (I think that puts us close to three inches in the last two days...rather soggy!). A little while ago the national weather service issued a winter weather advisory for us starting after midnight through 10am tomorrow...possible accumulation of snow! Looks like the insulation job was done just in time! I made another design for hand towels in our guest bath. I have one more to make and think that I will make it after blogging. That will let me accomplish something without too much effort on my part! I have gotten out my Christmas CD's and am presently listening to Josh Groban. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! 'Tis the Season! I love Christmas music.



Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday in Advent: Candle of Prophecy

Today is the first Sunday in Advent and Nathan and Kathy and family lighted the first candle: the candle of prophecy. I like having my little camera in my purse, as I didn't know that they were doing this today, but was still able to snap a few pictures. Woody and I sit on the back pew so...Grammy was able to stand up and take a few pictures and not bother others. After the early service, Woody and I both went to our Sunday School classes. I'm guessing that Woody let his co-teacher do most of the talking as his voice still isn't very strong. I taught my Sunday School class. We came home and had a lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon. At least it was lazy till I got a call from Kathy saying that Nathan was on the way to the emergency room with Elijah. He had gotten his eye hurt in the church nursery that morning and was going to go get it checked out. He has a very bad laceration of the cornea that goes into the white part of his eye too. He isn't opening either of his eyes for the time being. I went over and took care of him while they went to church tonight. Woody also went to church. Elijah was pretty restless as he can't run and get his energy out the way he is used to doing. He wants to and then realizes that he can't see! He asked me a couple of times to turn on the lights. The doctor said that in a few days his eye should be healed. It is amazing how quickly an eye can heal...praising God for that! He and I sat in the rocking chair and I told him stories and said nursery rhymes with him. But he did want to get up and play with his cars and trucks. He attempted to play with them a couple of times, but it just wasn't as much fun since he couldn't see. I took him a treat of our special jello salad from Thanksgiving dinner and a small piece of pumpkin pie with whip cream. He enjoyed that and snacked a bit more. He had missed a meal and snacks due to naps and his ER visit and was trying to make those meals up this evening...plus it was something to do that he could do with his eyes shut...though his grammy did feed him! I'm off to get the school room cleaned up and ready for tomorrow. I didn't clean up after their Thanksgiving art lesson on Thursday since I was getting ready for our Friday family Thanksgiving celebration. It was a cleaning/straightening job that could wait till after our celebration and I haven't had the umph to do it yet...so now it is time that it should wait no longer to be done! It started raining last night sometime after midnight and it has hardly let up since. Weatherbug says that we have received 2.17" so far today. I know that it was soggy under the stepping stones as I walked over to Nathan and Kathy's earlier. We're so glad that our roof is done as it is supposed to rain tomorrow too (the day they said that they were coming to do the roof...but showed up on Thanksgiving instead).




Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ahhhhhhhhhh Traditions!





It has been our tradition to get out the Fisher Price Nativity on the day that we have our family Thanksgiving celebration. This year this happened as soon as Melany, Wade, Erin and Alex arrived. Graham, Abigail, Joy, Esther and Elijah watched in anticipation till they pulled up in front of our house. Since there was still time before the meal would be ready, I gave them permission to start getting it ready...that was all it took...my OK! I tried to snap a couple of pictures in between preparations for the meal. Elijah really didn't remember it since he was so small last year. He was a bit overwhelmed when they were all getting into the boxes...as a matter of fact he wandered away after a while. But...when it was all opened and set up and the older children had left it, Elijah went back out to enjoy it all by himself. He's the first that I have caught, at least, crawling up on the coffee table to get closer. He really likes making the angel sing and figured out very quickly where the on/off switch was. He also likes the ladder that is on the side of the inn. When he had some of the people sleeping on the roof, he made sure that the ladder was there so they could climb down when they woke up! It was good to see the enjoyment that they all seemed to have. I like the way they have most of the animals and people all lined up outside the stable so they can see baby Jesus. It will see many changes in set up over the next month.


Woody's allergies are still making him feel not the greatest. The medicine that he is taking makes him sleepy. He's hoping that it will help him get over what ails him. He's not talking very loudly today...resting his voice too, I guess. He did go to the library and to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. He went next door for a short amount of time to watch the children. I have have done about as little as I possibly could today...trying to recover from all the activities of the week. I did manage to finally place an order for some gifts online today. This evening I am watching a vintage Christmas DVD here in the sewing room while I get my computer to stay online and while my sewing machine stitched out a design on a towel. I decided that I wanted a couple of new Christmas hand towels for our guest bathroom...so have one new one finished...so an accomplishment! But I couldn't face getting back into decorating mode today...a lazy day! We have both enjoyed leftovers. I had my favorite leftover...a hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes for lunch. Woody has had a couple of his favorites...turkey sandwiches and also the broccoli casserole.