Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For the past few months I have been collecting glass jars with a clip top. I find them at the thrift shop and usually pay 75 cents apiece. I used to keep my staples in large mayonaise jars but they were getting old and looked terrible. So imagine my delight when Mike came home with an armful of new jars from a navy friend who is moving! I had SO much fun transferring everything.

I was able to find replacement rubber rings at the True Value store in town. I found out that these types of jars have what is called lightening closures. All I know is that I love the way they look as well as how they keep out humidity. Thanks Dr. J!

This week when Tracey came over, Sarah helped her sew an apron. Tracey had bought a beautiful curtain from the thrift shop and it made an adorable apron. The fabric was Waverly...very nice!
There was enough leftover fabric for Tracey to make a smaller version for her daughter, Brianna. First she needs to find a working sewing machine. Hopefully she will find one on freecycle or at the thrift shop.
Doesn't it look nice? The curtain already had the ruffle on it...very convenient! After sewing we went to the amish bent and dent store. The past few days have been bitterly cold but the gas heat in the amish store felt cozy.
Today Allen's friend Jeff is over for a visit. Allen, Jeff and Lizzie went for a long hike in the woods.
Since it is bitterly cold still, I made sure they took their survival packs, cellphone, and pepper spray. Lizzie remembered the extra kleenex and socks.
They hiked down to our latest favorite place to be, a pond deep in the woods.
The beavers have been at work in the area.
There is also a hunting stand up in the trees...probably one of the amish boys'.
So I get nervous when I see pics like this. That's why I don't let them hike on windy days.
Jeff fell in...a not-unusual event.

My funny story comes from Allen today. After the three hikers had been gone for a little over an hour, I called Allen to see how they were doing.

"Okay," he said. "Jeff fell in but I have a little fire going to help us thaw out."
"Well, I have oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans all ready to eat," I said.

"I just kicked out the fire and we're on our way!"

Didn't take much convincing!

Hope you are enjoying your Christmas week. We definitely enjoy having Mike home. Lots of painting is getting done. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009 is over and we are feeling very blessed...and sleepy. Yesterday went by slowly which was a blessing.
As we unwrapped gifts, we tossed the paper over the railing onto the steps. It seemed like a good thing to do at the time but it made the stairs treacherous. Today we bagged everything and put it next to the fireplace for burning.

Around 4 pm we went over to Simba and Natalie's home. As expected, Abigail was the star of the show. What a good little girl she is. She let us pick her up and play with her. I even got to feed her! When she was tired for the night, she let Simba know, kissed us all goodnight, and off she went to listen to music in her crib. We had the fun of watching her via video. It didn't take long before she was sound asleep. Such a darling!

My parents gave Abigail this John Deere tractor that she loves. Natalie and Abigail get to visit my brothers on their construction jobs, and Floyd always gives Abigail a ride on the tractor...thereby ensuring him the "favorite uncle" status for life.

The food was delicious. Lots of shrimp and appetizers. The schedule of events was: appetizers, trivia quiz, dinner, fellowship, dessert, gifts, fellowship, and finally time to leave. The trivia quiz was a riot...we barely agreed on any of the answers. The questions were all based on my parents: who and where they dated, birthdates, favorite drinks, etc. I did horribly...but so did my brothers.

The shrimp went quickly. My favorite was the stuffed ham...yummy! Simba made everything dairyfree and eggfree, so it was a real treat for our family.

As usual, their home was beautiful and soothing to my soul. Natalie made these Christmas trees on the mantel. She said Martha Stewart made them on her show. I'd like to try these.
A real Christmas tree.

And Natalie made these for Abigail's bedroom. They hang over her crib.

Isn't this an adorable changing table?! Natalie loves to shop at flea markets, antique stores, and vintage stores. Natalie also stenciled the floor. Simba made this adorable table for Abigail. I love the A,B,C,D legs.
This is Abigail's dresser. She had a fun time showing off her room. I tried to get a pic of the fancy antique chandelier but it wouldn't turn out.

Abigail had fun snuggling all the aunts and uncles. The cameras were kept flashing all night. This is my brother Mike.
And this is the favorite Uncle Floyd. We heard the story of how Abigail came to work one day and Floyd was eating a small bag of chips. He offered a chip to Abigail but she shook her head no and took the bag. Smart girl! Most of the gang. We were just getting ready to hand out gifts.
Natalie loves her flowers...and so do I. I think this is a clever way to keep these daffodils.
And these roses and daisies are from Annapolis. Natalie had them as centerpieces but the children wanted the table for playing games. Outside it rained all afternoon and evening. Inside Simba had to open a window because it was so warm. What weather we have here in Maryland!

Mike got up early this morning and started working on moving into his new office in the basement. Most of our snow is gone but it was nice having a white Christmas. We are trying to clean up the kitchen for company after church tomorrow. Otherwise we are moving slowly and enjoying being home together. We are feeling blessed to be a part of two wonderful families, to live in the best country in the world, and to be children of the King.

My warmest blessings to you ~ Kathie

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Since several folks asked exactly what my daughters are sewing, I decided I'll take a chance and post a few things tonight. Hopefully the people for whom these gifts were made won't read my blog until tomorrow. This first tote Anna made a few months ago. Since then, she and Lizzie have made many.
This was Lizzie's first tote. I love the patchwork idea.
Lizzie made this black and white tote for Sarah who loves all things black and white.
Then Lizzie made this music themed tote for Meemaw...who is her piano teacher. She also made one for her violin teacher.
I like the way Lizzie randomly stitched the treble clefs on the handles.
Lizzie also made lots of coaster sets for all the aunts and uncles. My favorites are the music-themed coasters...sorry no pic...already wrapped.
Right now Maggie, Lizzie and Ruthie are baking up a storm. They made these delicious spice cookies. Next will be sugar cookies.
Allen, Ruthie and I wrapped all the gifts today. I am SO glad that's done! I always wait until the last minute or else I'll forget what I got.
When Sarah and Maggie were small, we used to wrap our gifts using the shiny advertisements that come with the newspaper. Then, 15 years ago, a friend gave us this huge roll of painter paper. It was so wide that I couldn't wrap my arms around it. This is the only paper I've ever used for wrapping gifts for our family...and it still has a long way to go!

Have no fear, I don't use this paper for wedding gifts or special gifts. But I'm thankful that my extended family doesn't sister-in-law says our paper makes it easy to tell which gifts come from our family.

I bought this picture of a true longhorn at a Craft Show this fall. Even though I didn't draw my Dad's name, I still want to give him this gift for his Texas home. I'm not sure if you can tell how big it is, but it's a large 18x24!
One good thing about the economy doing poorly...companies are using less dairy and egg products to cut down on expense. Yippee! Food Lion came out with oreos, chewy chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and butterscotch baking chips! At first we really enjoyed eating foods that have been off limits for years...then we got sick of the overly-processed junk. It was fun while it lasted.
We also discovered Junior Mints to have no egg or dairy products. I do love a mint now and then. Many thanks to our local Dollar Store for carrying them cheaply.
My friend Tara announced on Facebook this morning that she was making Cornflake Wreaths. I'd never heard of such a thing, so I googled it and found the recipe for these adorable wreaths! Tara, a misplaced Minnesotan living in West Virginia, says to be sure and use the almond extract, and Red Hots for the berries...not mini m&ms. Okay, Tara!
And finally, Allen's award for getting 100% perfect attendance at the Tang Soo Do banquet on the 5th. Tang Soo!

Tonight we are breaking tradition and staying home for Christmas Eve. Our driveway is icy and treacherous, so instead of going to two churches as we normally do, we are going to sing some carols and read the Christmas Story.

My friend Mark sent me this verse that I have always loved: “The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works." Psalm 145 : 8,9

Wishing you a warm and merry Christmas Day with your loved ones. Thanking God for coming to earth as a humble babe that he might one day die on the cross for our sins. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, December 21, 2009

I have lived in Maryland for 42 of my 49 years and I have never seen a weather prediction like this! We figure we got about 20" all told. We LOVE snow!!
Iditarod...southern Maryland style with goats. They loved it! As I so often do, I forgot to upload my pictures in reverse. Since there are so many of them, I will just tell my story in reverse. This is the highway on Sunday morning. Church was canceled for the day.
Our family had a lot of fun sledding.
This is our driveway.
And you can't tell by this picture but we have a horseshoe-shaped driveway in the front yard. Of course...we are expecting several packages from UPS this week!
All the animals were given much extra hay. The goats and Henrietta were bedded down in the playhouse.
I love seeing this outside my bedroom window!
We've been busy this week. Mike and Allen built a wall in the basement to divide the long room into a cellar and an office. (Sorry Allen is in his pjs.)
Mike is almost finished painting the wall, so it's coming along nicely. This time tomorrow night it should be finished. Then it's moving in time!
There is the constant hum of sewing machines these days. Lizzie and Anna are always sewing something. Sarah is sewing too...but she took her machine upstairs to her room.
Here they are in their temporary sewing room.
Even Allen got into the act. Actually, he made a nice camouflage organizer with pockets to hang up in his closet.
It looks like a mess in the picture but everything is actually neatly organized.
I wanted to show you the platter that I received as a gift at my friend Bonnie's party (previous post). Bonnie bought this at a Cracker Barrel store and it is lovely! The verse says, "Every good and perfect gift comes from above." It was hard to take this picture without a glare. Thank you, Bonnie...I love it!
Remember earlier this year when Ruthie broke her left wrist?
And then she broke her shoulder and possibly her elbow (dr wasn't sure).
Well, Ruthie went sledding on Sunday morning and broke her right wrist. What a year! All three times Ruthie knew instantly that she'd broken something. What is amazing is that Ruthie hasn't slowed down a bit. Always doing something.

Thank you for all your Christmas cards. I am still hoping to get mine signed and mailed. I am trying to sew Ruthie some much-needed pajamas and dresses. Somehow I keep getting caught up in keeping the fireplace and woodstove going, meals, and enjoying the season. Maggie is showing improvement, so I am enjoying each moment.

Sarah found out this morning that we weren't having a New Year's Eve party unless some cleaning got done, so she became a militant commander and got us all moving. All the vacuuming, bathrooms, dusting, and trash got done while I scrubbed the refrigerator. I love a clean home! Thank you, Sarah for motivating us (her father isn't a retired Naval officer for nothing!).

Enjoy the season. Many blessings ~ Kathie