Sunday, December 31, 2006

Resolutions ??


Does anyone make New Year's Resolutions anymore ?? I do and I have several for this year. But more on that tomorrow.

Right now we have steaks to grill and a YUMMY dinner in the making to get ready for .... then we are going to play games with the children (which is something we need to do more often) ... and wait for "The Ball" to drop in NewYork at midnight.

On Shopping

When I was younger, I could shop 'til I dropped !! Any store was an adventure.

As an adult, that changed. Those who know me are aware that I HATE HATE HATE to shop. I do not like to shop for groceries, clothing, shoes, toys, or even window shop. "Browse" is something I only do at the library if I can manage it !!

** The ONE exception is that I do have a weakness for books of any kind - new books, old books, big books, little books. I can do some serious damage to our finances in a bookstore. HA !!

Anyway ..... for the last several monthes DadToCherubs has been talking about our need to replace our Suburban. It has 184K miles on it, it is starting to nickle-dime us to death, it is not going to live forever .... he was building up to the "We need to shop for a car" talk. "We just need to go and look" he would say. "No pressure" he would say. "We need to see what our options are" he said. YIKES !!

And after several years of selling cars himself (years ago), he says the BEST time to buy a used car is during the week between Christmas and NewYear's .... dealers pay taxes based on yearly inventory, all "used" cars become a year OLDER on January 1st, and so forth .... I always get nervous when CARS are mentioned after Thanksgiving because that MIGHT mean we have to shop. It has been quite a few years since "the last time".

So - yesterday was the day. I VERY reluctantly agreed to go to town to "look" and see what our options were. We drove to the city and spent almost all day "looking". We drove through dealerships, talked to sales people, looked at stickers .... YIKES !!

First, let me say that Car Sales is one VERY slick business, complete with the "motivational music". We noticed that at most dealerships, the salesmen are "circling" the sales lot like VULTURES ... waiting for a fresh kill. (hee hee hee !) And at one dealer, our children asked if an Auctioneer (like in the movies - fast speech and all) was going to come out to "sell" the car. Too funny !! At a few dealers, I truly thought paramedics would be necessary as I felt I was quite near having a heart attack (I think they call it "sticker shock") .... but as soon as we left THOSE dealers and I felt immediately better. HA !!

Anyway, we found what we feel is a great used car. It is a Forest Green (exterior) 2004 Ford Expedition with low mileage. It seems to run great, has a nice warranty, and almost every "bell & whistle" available, including a tan leather interior (not my first choice with 6 children - HA !). It is a bit shorter than our Suburban and sits considerably higher, but I think we will get used to it. There is plenty of passenger space, but less trunk space. It does have a roof rack, so we may need to consider a top-carrier or some kind for traveling. There is also plenty of floor space for Daisy .... we made sure of that too !!

This is a nice car for SHORT PEOPLE like us. DadToCherubs is 5'6" and I am 5'0". It has electric seats - forward, backward, higher, lower, back up and down .... and it has a button that actually MOVES the brake and gas pedals CLOSER to your feet. So being "petite" does not matter as much when you drive this car.

Anyway, it is a very nice vehicle ... and it was a very painful day for me personally (I hate to shop), ... but it is OVER ... and the car is beautiful and will likely prove to be very practical.

Three Christmas Visitors

The 3 "W" men visited with us from Nashville on Christmas Day. We have not seen them in "forever". Everyone was so excited and we had a wonderful visit.

I am not sure HOW it happened, but these 2 boys are GIANT now ... I think they will be much bigger than either of their parents.

Noble Womanhood

I stumbled upon a new website, and found it quite interesting.

And I wanted to share ....

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Recovering From Christmas

What a whirlwind the month of December was this year !! Shew !! I was not sure I would survive it all, and that was before the crisis (flood). I never did get those last 6 presents made. Instead I broke down and bought gifts .... maybe I will keep working on those projects and give them next year ?? I just needed to be "finished" so I could enjoy Christmas Day with my family. That is what IT is all about, right ?? Peace, family, goodwill to men ?? Well, I was not feeling very peaceful or spreading much goodwill while racing around trying to get it all finished in time. This year was my "Tis Season To Be Stressed" .... and then some.

Our agenda the last few days:
* We went out Christmas Eve to the O Tribe's home.
* Christmas Day we had company come from Nashville for our big holiday dinner, and they stayed overnight.
* Then the day after Christmas my parents came to visit from Atlanta.

And today was Wednesday, December 27th. What to do, what to do ?!?!?

After an EXTREMEMLY busy month of cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, sewing and crafting plus normal "life" in our house ... I am absolutely exhausted and ready for life to return to normal. So this morning I got up and had some coffee - always a good start to the day. Then I was going to sweep up the pine needles that had fallen on the floor for the 99th time (seems like it anyway) this week .... when the idea hit me. "We have nothing planned for today, so let's UN-decorate." And I did. The tree is down, knick-knacks are put away, ornaments packed away. Oh, and the pine needles are swept up. I left some snowmen out for "seasonal" decor, but otherwise the decorations are put away for next year.

I know, I know .... you are supposed to wait until January 1 which is New Year's Day to put it all away. My mother-in-law would probably choke me for doing it so early. But New Year's Day is on a Monday this year, and we had planned to start "Back To School" next Monday (without realizing until just a few days ago that it is New Years Day that day.) No major deadlines looming - YEAH !! Plus the clutter was getting to be frustrating .... so we will have a fresh start to the New Year. Hummmm ... maybe this is a theme ... maybe some New Year's Resolutions are coming along this line ???

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Eve With The "O Tribe"

We had the priviledge of visiting with the "O Tribe" on Christmas Eve. We went to play, share an easy "serve-yourself" dinner of sandwiches .... we sang carols and visited. And the older "O Tribe" children organized a Christmas Pageant. The Christmas Story was read aloud, while Beck children and O Tribe children acted out the scenes, with some songs added. In all there were 15 children ages 4 monthes to 16yo ... our 6 children plus the 9 "O" children. We had a grand time. THANK YOU O TRIBE !!

Then we raced home at 830p to get ready for Santa ... PJs, brushing teeth, washing faces NEVER went so fast .... cookies, milk for Santa and Apples for the Reindeer. Everyone was in bed by 915p ... and asleep by 10p.

We Wish You A "Muddy" Christmas

One gift for the children this year is a trampoline with a safety enclosure. And all was well ... until rain rain rain came down down down.

The trampoline is up ... above is a photo of DadToCherubs in the MUD and RAIN assembling the trampoline .... what a trooper.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

One Gift Was Delivered Early ...

Santa Mutt delivered Bella's gift early because it was too bulky to carry on his sled. It is a lovely doghouse, with room to "grow" because he knows Bella is only 1yo (in January) and still has quite a bit of growing to do. She LOVES her new house .... and we put it right on the front porch so she can continue "guard duty" which being warm, dry, and comfortable.

And she is so generous .... Bella allows the cats (sometimes all 5 of them) to sleep in there with her. Isn't that sweet ??

Bella says "Thank you Santa Mutt."

Dear Santa Mutt ....

All Daisy wanted for Christmas was a family to love .... and she got one !! Can you believe she has been with us for 6 months already ?? She is 12yo and said that THIS is the best Christmas ever because she is surrounded by a family that truly loves her ....

And now she is trying to be GOOD ... because (everyone knows !) .... SANTA MUTT IS COMING TONIGHT !!

Cherub 5

Cherub 5 turned 7yo in November. Blond wavy hair and green eyes, she looks like a little cherub, dosen't she ?? Well, she is still quite a FireBall, and giggles almost constantly. She is quickly learning to read, and loves books. And she is the biggest CareBear fan you have even known !!

Cherub 6

This little boy is 4yo .... and growing every day. He loves to play outside in the dirt, and also loves it when someone reads a good book to him. His birthday was December 18 - he is our Official Christmas Angel. (He LOVES to have his picture taken. This is his "picture" smile.)

Cherub 3

This young man is going to be 10yo in March. Can you believe it ?? He is still our resident comedian, always with a joke to share and a laugh. And he is our most avid reader, to the point that Mom and Dad cannot keep up anymore.

Cherub 2

Our little (big) girl is going to be 11yo in January. Cherub 2 is the Queen of Helpers in our house, always offering to help with any work to be done, and pitching in even when she is not asked. She is the biggest "dolly" we have here at Beck's Bounty. When she smiles, those beautiful blue eyes sparkle, just like the day she was born, and her dimples look adorable.

Cherub 4

Our "rough & tumble" guy turned 8yo in August. And we are often surprised that he CLEANS UP so nicely .... he is more often than not covered in dirt from head to toe from playing outside (more like "wallowing".). HA !!

Cherub 1

Can you believe this young man will be 13yo in April ?? Time passes so quickly !!

My Two Favorite Carols

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel
O come, thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of of hell thy people save
And give them vict'ry o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel
O come, O Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
And drive away the shaves of night
And pierce the clouds and bring us light
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel
O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel
O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai's height
In ancient times did'st give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><

Silent Night
Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child,
Holy infant so tender and mild,
sleep in Heavenly peace!
sleep in Heavenly peace!
Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
glories stream from Heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
Christ, the Saviour, is born!
Christ, the Saviour, is born!
Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, Love's pure light
radiant beams from Thy Holy face,
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

Saint Nicholas

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor
Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a
dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man's daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.

One of the oldest stories showing St. Nicholas as a protector of children takes place long after his death. The townspeople of Myra were celebrating the good
saint on the eve of his feast day when a band of Arab pirates from Crete came into the district. They stole treasures from the Church of Saint Nicholas to take away as booty. As they were leaving town, they snatched a young boy, Basilios, to make into a slave. The emir, or ruler, selected Basilios to be his personal cupbearer, as not knowing the language, Basilios would not understand what the king said to those around him. So, for the next year Basilios waited on the king, bringing his wine in a beautiful golden cup. For Basilios' parents, devastated at the loss of their only child, the year passed slowly, filled with grief. As the next St. Nicholas' feast day approached, Basilios' mother would not join in the festivity, as it was now a day of tragedy. However, she was persuaded to have a simple observance at home—with quiet prayers for Basilios' safekeeping. Meanwhile, as Basilios was fulfilling his tasks serving the emir, he was suddenly whisked up and away. St. Nicholas appeared to the terrified boy, blessed him, and set him down at his home back in Myra. Imagine the joy and wonderment when Basilios amazingly appeared before his parents, still holding the king's golden cup. This is the first story told of St. Nicholas protecting children—which became his primary role in the West.

Another story tells of three theological students, traveling on their way to study in Athens. A wicked innkeeper robbed and murdered them, hiding their remains in a large pickling tub. It so happened that Bishop Nicholas, traveling along the same route, stopped at this very inn. In the night he dreamed of the crime, got up, and summoned the innkeeper. As Nicholas prayed earnestly to God the three boys were restored to life and wholeness. In France the story is told of three small children, wandering in their play until lost, lured, and captured by an evil butcher. St. Nicholas appears and appeals to God to return them to life and to their families. And so St. Nicholas is the patron and protector of children.

Several stories tell of Nicholas and the sea. When he was young, Nicholas sought the holy by making a
pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There as he walked where Jesus walked, he sought to more deeply experience Jesus' life, passion, and resurrection. Returning by sea, a mighty storm threatened to wreck the ship. Nicholas calmly prayed. The terrified sailors were amazed when the wind and waves suddenly calmed, sparing them all. And so St. Nicholas is the patron of sailors and voyagers.

Other stories tell of Nicholas saving his people from famine, sparing the lives of those innocently accused, and much more. He did many kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return. Within a century of his death he was celebrated as a
saint. Today he is venerated in the East as wonder, or miracle worker and in the West as patron of a great variety of persons-children, mariners, bankers, pawn-brokers, scholars, orphans, laborers, travelers, merchants, judges, paupers, marriageable maidens, students, children, sailors, victims of judicial mistakes, captives, perfumers, even thieves and murderers! He is known as the friend and protector of all in trouble or need.

Sailors, claiming St. Nicholas as patron, carried stories of his favor and protection far and wide. St. Nicholas chapels were built in many seaports. As his popularity spread during the Middle Ages, he became the
patron saint of Apulia (Italy), Sicily, Greece, and Lorraine (France), and many cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Following his baptism in Constantinople, Vladimir I of Russia brought St. Nicholas' stories and devotion to St. Nicholas to his homeland where Nicholas became the most beloved saint. Nicholas was so widely revered that more than 2,000 churches were named for him, including three hundred in Belgium, thirty-four in Rome, twenty-three in the Netherlands and more than four hundred in England.

Nicholas' tomb in Myra became a popular place of
pilgrimage. Because of the many wars and attacks in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult. For both the religious and commercial advantages of a major pilgrimage site, the Italian cities of Venice and Bari vied to get the Nicholas relics. In the spring of 1087, sailors from Bari succeeded in spiriting away the bones, bringing them to Bari, a seaport on the southeast coast of Italy. An impressive church was built over St. Nicholas' crypt and many faithful journeyed to honor the saint who had rescued children, prisoners, sailors, famine victims, and many others through his compassion, generosity, and the countless miracles attributed to his intercession. The Nicholas shrine in Bari was one of medieval Europe's great pilgrimage centers and Nicholas became known as "Saint in Bari." To this day pilgrims and tourists visit Bari's great Basilica di San Nicola.

Through the centuries St. Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and Orthodox and honored by Protestants. By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life.

Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in early
Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.

Taken directly from

Painting at top left is by artist, Susan Seals.

The Meaning Of The Snowman

The white snow stands for the purity of souls filled with Gods grace.
The circular snowballs represent Gods everlasting love.
The coal used to make the eyes & mouth, and the buttons symbolize Gods almighty power.
The carrot nose reminds us that GodGives us everything we need to live and grow.
The scarf suggests the warmth of Gods tender care.
The top hat reminds us always to keep faith our top priority.
The twig arms are outstretched to us, as God's always are.
The broom of straw and wood signifies that Jesus was born, and died to cleanse us of sin.

May your heart be ever warmed by the good news of Gods great love for you!

The Night Before Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve, the subject of the beloved holiday poem that begins:

"'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads."

The poem, now known as "The Night Before Christmas," was first published anonymously in a small newspaper in upstate New York in 1823, and its original title was "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas." It was thought for many years to have been written by Clement Clarke Moore. But today some scholars believe that a Revolutionary War major named Henry Livingston Jr. may have been the actual author of "The Night Before Christmas." His family has letters describing his recitation of the poem before it was originally published, and literary scholars have found many similarities between his work and "The Night Before Christmas." He was also three-quarters Dutch, and many of the details in the poem, including names of the reindeer, have Dutch origins.

But whoever wrote the poem, "The Night Before Christmas" changed the way Americans celebrate the holiday of Christmas by reinventing the character of Santa Claus, and by combining St. Nicholas Day with Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm Running Out Of Time

I am still sewing .... still working on Christmas gifts .... and tomorrow is the day before Christmas Eve. (photo above of tonight's "to do projects")

Between "normal chaos", episodes of "abnormal chaos", fighting illnesses & colds, and our Moderate Crisis ... plus I have procrastinated FAR too long this year ... I am up late tonight working on gifts, and still have 5 more to make.

One project was a scarf made of a very soft, almost flannel-feeling, wool blend fabric in a cheerful red and black plaid. I made 10 of these. The fabric was easy to work with other than some minor pressing issues. And they turned out lovely.

The other project is a black velvet scarf, trimmed in black fringe, lined with black satin, and embossed with a snowflake design on each end. The scarf is BEAUTIFUL when finished. But OH MY - I had no idea velvet and satin were sooooo difficult to work with. I completed 1 scarf tonight in about 1 hour. And I have 6 more to make. At this rate, I will be finished for New Year's. HA !! (close-up of embossed design above)

I guess my "Plan of the Day" tomorrow will require a lot of sewing !!

The good news is ... my shopping is finished ... my "big" meal is planned and ingredients bought ... so all I have left after completing these gifts is to wrap gifts and get ready to cook. And clean for company, although the "troops" will surely help with that tomorrow.

My Christmas Wish .... to wake up Wednesday, have a quick breakfast, and then head back to bed for the whole day .... (one can dream, right ??).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Moderate Crisis

Nothing says CHRISTMAS TIME like a "Moderate Crisis" ....

On Tuesday the children and I went out to rake and blow MORE leaves, and then planned to burn them. We spent several hours gathering leaves, and creating safe barriers.

I asked Cherub2 to attach the hose to the exterior faucet and bring the end to the leaf pile, then turn it on. It's always good to have water readily available JUST IN CASE.

We raked some more (about 30-45 minutes more) ... and at some point Cherub2 came back into the house, and was headed back outside to the back yard (where we were working) ... she came through the basement (which is a NO NO because DadToCherubs works nights and was sleeping !) ....

Well, she came running outside yelling THERE'S WATER EVERYWHERE IN THE BASEMENT !!!

Thankfully, I had not started the fire yet. YEAH !! I ran inside to find 2-3" of water covering the floor in DadToCherub's office, our school room, our bedroom, my craft area, and the entire garage. The supply pipe to the exterior faucet had broken INSIDE the wall and water was gushing into the basement. And there was NO shut-off valve !! SO we had to cut the power so the well-pump would stop "pumping".

A neighbor brought a wet vac and helped empty things out, and capped the supply pipe so the water would stop gushing, and so we could turn the power back on to get to work .... and a another friend promised to send a wet vac too. And SURPRISE - she also sent her oldest daughter (18yo) to help. YEAH !!! THANK YOU !!! SO the army was formed ... 4 adults, and 4 capable children (plus 2 younger children whose job it was to play together quietly outside in the yard.).

So we set to work ... furniture in the driveway, "at risk" belongings upstairs .... wet vacs going, along with lots of brooms sweeping water and even the leaf blower "blowing" water out. We pulled up the carpet in 2 rooms .... fans and a dehumidifier.

DadToCherubs does web work for a carpet place in town - so we replaced the ruined carpet and got everything cleaned up and put back together. We even cleaned some un-needed junk out as well.

So - the only things that were ruined were a few children's "twaddle" books, and a laptop (YIKES).

And we were exhausted and were all in bed at 8p, sleeping VERY soundly. Boy Oh Boy were we sore too !!

Life at the holidays is stressful enough without a crisis ... but it could have been SO much worse. We are thankful that it was only a "moderate" crisis.

Sidenote: On Thursday, we finally got most of the leaves burned. One more project finished.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Almost Finished For This Year

Above are photos of some more of the Christmas gifts we have made this year.

We have 6 more gifts to make (photos coming when finished) ... and then Santa's Workshop will close for this year.

The Baby Is Growing Up

Our baby (Cherub 6) turned 4yo today. He is growing up so quickly.

The downside is that there are no more babies in our house - to snuggle, to admire, to hold in our arms.

The upside is that we have no one in diapers, everyone walks independently, and I generally get to sleep at night without being woken up by children.

He had a lovely birthday. From his family he got a castle complete with figures weapons. Oooooo Ahhhhh !! And Grandpa got him the biggest TOnka dumptruck we have ever seen.

Now all we have left is a shopping trip to spend his birthday money - he intends to buy everything including the moon. HA !!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Effects of Guilt

DadToCherubs and I went to do our Christmas shopping Saturday evening. And one of the stops along the way was Petco for SantaMutt / SantaKitty / SantaHam / SantaSwimmers gifts (pet gifts).

Well, while waiting in line I said OH LOOK AT THE ADORABLE BUNNY .... and so the cashier proceeded to tell me that this bunny's original family was unable to keep him because of a move, and that he had been in the store awaiting adoption for several days which made him very nervous nad upset because of the noise and such. Even the manager got in on the act, telling us this very sad story ...

And so feeling guilty that this poor poor creature had no home and no family .... and we all KNOW how GUILT takes hold of your better-sense ....

We want to give a WARM WELCOME to Cocco the Bunny .... welcome to Beck's Bounty.

A Trip To The Groomer

Daisy went to see the groomer on Saturday. After a not-so-great experience 2 monthes ago at Petco, we decided to use a groomer in our town, in hopes that they would be a bit more sensative.

So Daisy got washed, scrubbed, buffed, brushed, and fluffed .... and she made some new friends. Instead of waiting in a "holding cage" for her turn, she was allowed to lounge out in the open with the people. Being a very social lady, this made her very happy.

So after entering with much nervousness, she was in much better spirits when we went back to pick her up ... she even hesitated "slightly" at leaving, only to get a few extra scratches for the road.

Now, just in time for the holidays, Daisy looks lovely ... and even has a new Christmas Bandana to wear.

Because I cannot seem to get photos ordered correctly:
(1) Photo of Daisy after visting the Pooch Caboose.
(2) Photo of Daisy just before we left for the Pooch Caboose.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Christmas Party

Last evening we attended a company Christmas Party - DadToCherubs, myself, our 6 children, and Grandpa too. The children looked lovely, dressed in their Holiday outfits.

The resturant is located in an old hotel that has been restored. It is such a beautiful building and much care has been taken with the restoration. The food was delicious, and the mood was festive.

Many people walked to our table to comment on the children's manners and behavior - they were truly "angelic". Having brought 4 little gentlemen and 2 little ladies to this event, DadToCherubs was very pleased.

We all had a delightful evening.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peanut Butter Blossoms

We are baking these today. YUMMY !!

Traditional holiday peanut butter cookies topped with a chocolate candy kiss.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened*
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar (to roll unbaked dough balls in)
48 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped

Heat oen to 375. Combine sugar, brown sugar, butter, and peanutbutter in large bowl. Beat until light & fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and salt. Continue beating until well mixed. Add baking soda and flour - beat well while scraping bowl often.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. (If dough is too soft, refrigerate until more firm.). Roll balls in sugar (1/4 cup needed). Place 2-inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until VERY lightly golden brown. Remove from oven & immediately press 1 chocolate kiss candy in the center of each cookie. Remove cookies from baking sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Have A Sweet Tooth ?

Today's high is predicted to be 39 degrees. In the South, that is COLD !! So we decided it might be a good day to spend in the kitchen making some treats for Christmas.

So far today we have made made PeanutButter Fudge, Traditional Chocolate Fudge, and Buttery Toffee with Chocolate topping. And we might make some cookies of some kind this afternoon as well.

The house is filled with yummy smells .... and there are a lot of VERY impatient people standing around .... waiting for the treats to cool so we can taste them.

Operation Bare Your Bookshelf

Operation Bare Your Bookshelf: You Can Provide Amazing Christmas Gifts to Christians in Developing Countries from Your Own Library

Christian Newswire

Americans can give a Christmas gift this year of Bibles or Christian books to pastors and Christian workers in developing countries by participating in “Operation Bare Your Bookshelf” sponsored by Christian Resources International, a 50-year old ministry aimed at providing Bibles and Christian literature to people from around the world.

“Research indicates that the average American Christian owns nine Bibles and is actively in the market for more,” says CRI Executive Director Fred Palmerton, whose organization receives more than 250 letters a month from pastors and Christian workers in developing countries whose churches own no Bibles or Christian books. “Every day, more than 122,000 people become Christian, and most of those people are in Africa, Asia, and South America. They’re attending churches where even the pastors have no Bibles. It would be an amazing Christmas gift to send a Bible or other Christian books to these precious brothers and sisters in the Lord.”

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

We had a hostile take-over at our house today. All 6 of our children combined their efforts ... and demanded that their loving parents hang lights OUTSIDE for Christmas this year. (well, not demanded or really hostile - but some arm twisting was definately involved. HA !)

Bear in mind, the temps dropped this afternoon and we had significant snow flurries ... with a "blustery wind". (to quote Winnie The Pooh)

So being loving parents, DadToCherubs and I bundled up. We climbed the ladder and hung the lights, enduring cold and wind ... with children, chickens, and dogs underfoot.

And now it is official .... they can declare VICTORY .... the lights are up.

FourSquare Anyone ?

Every year I make a gift for our children for Christmas. And this year I decided it might be fun to travel back in time.

This year for Christmas we are traveling back to a timeperiod when ALL children played outside A LOT (as ours do) . A time when children played games like FourSquare, Hopscotch, Jump-rope Games, Marbles, and Jacks. This was a time when batteries or electricity were not required for fun. A time when childhood included generous helpings of fresh air, a few playmates (maybe) , imagination, and perhaps a ball or some other "simple" toy.
TA DA !! Fun fun fun !!

So - this photo is of Installment #1 of the gift I am making for the children .... their FourSquare grid. I plan to make a circle for Marbles & Jacks, and a Hopscotch too. And we are actively hunting for good quality jump-ropes.

It was made by measuring and drawing lines with chalk. Then I marked the lines with duct tape, pressing firmly along the edges (yes - the silver stuff). Then I used line paint (for parking lots or game fields) to paint between the tape lines. After removal of the tape (paint still tacky - not dry !) ... VOILA !! Total time to make this project was approximately 1 hour, plus planning time.

And what gift from Mom is complete without some "hidden" learning " .... we used Roman Numerals instead of regular numbers to mark the squares.

Now, while I was working on this, it started to flurry ... ACTUAL SNOW FLURRIES. So with the temps so low, the paint will take longer to dry.

Which means I will have to teach the children how to play FourSquare tomorrow ....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Are You A Reader ?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Monday, December 04, 2006

Traditional Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

(Traditional Irish Blessing; origin unknown, although some attribute it to St. Patrick.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

One Handsome Gentleman

This is RoHo, our Rooster. Isn't he a handsome fellow ??

First Sunday of Advent

Today is the First Sunday of Advent.
This is a photo of the Advent Wreath we made. The fresh greens (pine and cedar sprigs) smell wonderful.

A Handmade Gift

This photo is of Cherub 2 wearing 1 of the Christmas gifts we have completed so far this year ... a Snowman Scarf made of polar fleece with buttons and embroidery for the facial features.

It turned out even cuter than we imagined. It was fun to make too.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Helping A Friend "Nest" (Part 2)

If you can't beat 'em .... BURN 'em.
(as long as you call to get a permit first - which we did.)
The photos pretty much say it all.

Helping A Friend "Nest" ... (Part 1)

A dear friend is due to have a baby in 2 weeks. And she is in HIGH "nesting" gear, making everything ready. So her dear sister and I conspired to SURPRISE her today, showing up with "leaf clean up gear" and determination to gt the leaves cleaned up for her.

Her house sits on beautiful wooded property. But after Autumn is finished, there are leaves everywhere. The leaves we SO thick. Even with 3 blowers and 5 rakes and LOTS of woman (& child) power we were not even making a dent ... just HUGE piles.