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Christmas Eve

24 Dec

I like the part of Christmas Eve where “not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse”. 

( not quite there yet this year.) 

 Then I lie still and remember the magic I felt when I was young and anticipate the kids’ excitement in the morning. Sometimes I sneak to a window and open it a crack and smell the frosty cold air and check the starry sky (just in case Santa is flying over.) 

Then I close the window and look at the stars a little longer and think about the new star that shone down on a little stable in Bethlehem. For me, Christmas is about feeling awe and wonder at the Love of God, that He sent His Son to us, for us. I wish for you my friends to feel that wonder in your hearts tonight with me. 

🎄🎄🎄Joyous Christmas and Much Love to you all.


Glow Worm


Snow Day, Sew Day

2 Mar

Every year my mom buys a whole bunch of flannel. 

By a whole bunch, I mean that she buys several bolts of flannel, as in, she could start a store with the bolts of flannel she has in Rubbermaid tubs upstairs.  It is awesome.

For Christmas, my sisters and sister-in-laws and I are invited over for pajama day.  We cut out pajamas and sometimes get them sewn up as well. Mom does crafts and reads stories with the grandkids while we have a great time chopping up those yards and yards of flannel.

This year, I got all the girls’ Christmas pajamas cut out, but not sewn.  Those almost pajamas languished in a pile for more than 2 months. 

Then last Friday afternoon the snow began falling.  It continued to fall all night and all the next morning.  Saturday morning I fixed breakfast (funnel cakes) and cleaned up the kitchen.  Then it was time to fix lunch (hash browns scrambled eggs, and country gravy–I was in a breakfast mood still).  After lunch I took a nap (pregnant ladies get to do that sometimes. ) When I woke up the snow was still falling.  

So I got out my sewing machine.  I popped my 6 hour A&E Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) in the DVD player.  I pulled out that stack of Christmas pajamas and got busy.  By the time Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett were married and kissing the bride, I had finished four flannel pants, one fleece pants and matching fleece hoodie, and one nightgown.  

I still had one nightgown left, so I put I my Focus Films version of Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightly and Matthew McFaydden). That was a mistake.  While I can sometime watch this version and get enjoyment from it (sometimes I need a P&P fix and I don’t have 6 hours), Kiera just can’t hold up in a back to back comparison.  The timing of every line is off and the whole thing is over acted.  

I just put my head down and finished that last nightgown.  

Finishing that big project was so satisfying, that I got sewing fever.  Church was canceled on Sunday because of bad road conditions and I had to fight the siren song of my sewing machine all day long.  But I triumphed over that temptation and my machine had its day of rest.  

Then today, I whipped the cover back off and sewed again.  Tamale Pie and Pumpkin Pie each have an 18″ doll that they got for Christmas three years ago.  (They aren’t American Girl Dolls, they are a Target knock-off version.)

Well the dream of these two girls hearts has been to have matching pajamas with their dolls.  I saved the scraps from cutting out their nightgowns and Voila!  Today their wildest dreams came true!!

I was a little worried when I got out the pattern pieces.  These doll clothes always take more fabric than I think they should.

If you look closely, you can see that I quilted the yoke on this nightgown. I used the AG pattern for Kristen’s nightgown, which you can download here.  I just left the cuffs off the sleeves and turned the neck piece under so the nightgown would be the same as Tamale Pie’s. 

Pumpkin Pie is happy too.  Hooray for being twiners with your doll!

One good thing about these dolls is that they make thinking up Christmas presents easy.  What shall I get for the girls for Christmas?  Doll clothes & accessories!!

Last Christmas, I made this beautiful red wool coat from an old wool blazer and a little girl’s plaid wool shirt.  Isn’t it gorgoeus?!! I had so much fun sewing it.  

I enbroidered the button holes by hand because they were so small that I was afraid my machine would just bung them up.  The covered buttons came right from the shirt.  

Sewing doll clothes is so much more fun now than it was when I was a girl, because the clothes look good and fit the doll when I am done!!  This apron dress was made from scraps left over from a dress I made Tamale Pie.  It isn’t as close a match in style as the nightgown, but it’s not too bad.  That tiny ric rac around the apron was murderous to sew.

I didn’t have another thrifted  wool piece to make PumpkinPie’s doll coat, so hers is made from fleece.  It worked well enough and is pretty, but it isn’t luminous the way the wool is.  Yes, I made the tam-o-shanter and muff, too.

This dress does not correspond to any of PumpkinPie’s wardrobe.  It is just purple, which was her favorite color for a long time.  Also, the flowers were a good scale for a doll dress. The coats and this purple dress came from Addy’s Pretty Clothes patterns.  The tam and muff are Samantha’s.  In my opinion, Addy and Josephine have the prettiest dresses.

So much fun!! I want to make more!!

Dreams come True in December 2014

13 Dec

I have wanted to see The Nutcracker Ballet at Christmas time for as long as I can remember.  If I had a bucket list, seeing The Nutcracker would have been on it.  This December, two of my nieces got parts as snowflakes with the Russian ballet when it came to town.  My parents bought tickets for me and my four oldest girls to go see the ballet.

It was a night to remember!!

The costumes were spectacular, the ballet was enchanting, and my nieces were the cutest snowflakes ever.  

Also in December, I woke up one morning to find these all over in our yard.  I have seen them before, but this year, I actually thought about them.  I did some research and they are called “frost flowers.”  

They are unique to Missouri and happen in a hard frost.  The sap inside these weeds keeps flowing after the freeze.  it freezes, splits the weed stalk and keeps flowing and freezing into these amazing ribbons of ice.  Who knew weeds could be so beautiful?  

Ornaments for Grandma

30 Sep


June 30th was my Grandmother’s 83rd birthday.  For the past 34 years she has handmade a Christmas ornament for each of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Here is a link to a post by my cousin in 2006 showing the ornaments up to then.  Grandmother had 13 children, and so her grandchildren and great-grandchildren number over 100 now. That is a whole bunch of ornaments that she makes each year.  I think she begins working on them in January.  This year one of my cousins suggested that we all make her an ornament for her birthday.  My siblings and I were out of the information loop until about 2 days before the party.  When I found out about the plan, I instantly felt that Grandma, who had been a kindergarten teacher for more than 15 years, would most love ornaments featuring original artwork by the littlest kiddies.


Thanks to the miracles of internet, scanners, and email, I had all my siblings who live far away send me pictures of their children’s drawings.  I printed them out on fabric and backed them with felt.  Cegan helped me and we got them all put together in time for Grandma’s birthday.  I think they turned out super cute and the kiddie pies were all excited to make something for Great-Grandma.


It turned out my mom had a plan for us all along, so we also made button ornaments to represent each of us who are grandchildren and too old to be good at making cute drawings.  We also made button ornaments to represent the great-grandkids who were too little to draw or didn’t submit artwork.  (My mother contributed 12 children and 24 great-grandchildren to the total of Grandma’s progeny, so we had no small number of ornaments to make.) My girls and Cegan’s boys helped make the button ornaments, and those all turned out super cute, too.  I have to admit that I had been skeptical because anything I’ve ever tried to make with buttons was never as cute as the picture promised it would turn out to be.  But my mom is good at picking the right kind of buttons and these all looked even better in real life than they do in the picture.

My grandmother is one whom I look up to and try to be like as I strive to become a better person and a better mother.  Here is a picture of her when she was a young mother in 1954:


Here is a picture of her from when I was growing up and she was teaching kindergarten at the school I attended.  When I was in 5th grade, I got to go to her classroom for a few hours each week to be her helper.  I loved it so much.


To one who bears the sweetest name,And adds a luster to the same,Who shares my joys– Who cheers when sad–

The greatest friend I ever had.

Long life to her–   For there’s no other–

Could take the place of my dear (grand)Mother

Christmas Eve at Grandpa’s House

1 Jan
Holding Babies

Playing with trains

I’ll give a stone and a sheep for a brick.

Ha Ha, no.

Poor Eddie, his Kaitlyn isn’t here yet 😦

We decided that Memphis eating ham constitutes canibalism.

Grandma’s Ipad always has a line of eager kiddies waiting for their turn.

Even Owie Boy wants a turn.

Yay! Cartoons!

A Christmas Eve nap is always good.

Some people are naturally cute.

Mom & Mary slaving in the kitchen to make food for the hordes.

a little silliness

What’s going on?  I need a new diaper.

a bad picture of a fun advent calendar I made with a cereal box and some vintage clipart from the internet.

A month of Christmas!

1 Dec

When I was little, my mom started the tradition for our family of celebrating Christmas they way they do all around the world, basically we celebrated as many different ways as possible.  We celebrated Scandinavian Christmas, English Christmas, German Christmas, Russian Christmas, even Hannukah which isn’t Christmas, but does happen in December.

Most of the year, I’m a pretty lazy mom as far as celebrating stuff goes.  My kids do not get big elaborate birthday parties.  All the other holidays get maybe a special dessert and we get together with extended family or friends for a fun afternoon, but that is it.  There have been years when for Halloween I bought a bag of candy and we stayed home and watched a movie.

However, in December, I go all out, sort of.  I still try to keep it sane, because I’m only human, after all.  Here is my plan for this year.

December 1: Decorate the Christmas Tree.  Make an advent calendar.  (Looks like once again I do not have something beautifully sewn or quilted, so we’ll be doing the paper chain with 24 links, one to be removed each day. Maybe in January we’ll have a blizzard and I’ll get one quilted.)

December 2:  First Sunday of Advent.  Advent is celebrated all around the world.  The word literally means “coming”.  It helps us stay focused on Christ and prepare for his coming.  On each of the four Sundays before Christmas, we will be reading from the prophesies of Isaiah and other prophets who testified of Christ.  We’ll light a candle and read from the scriptures words of light.  The first Sunday is the Sunday of Hope.    We’ll be reading scriptures that focus on hope, both the hope Christ brings and the hope of the people who watched for his coming for ages:

Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7, Jacob 4:4, Moroni 7:41, Mosiah 16:6-9,
Joel 3:16

We’ll sing “Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel” as a family

December 3: For family home evening, we will put out our nativity scenes.  Italian nativity sets are called presepio.  We will also set out a small empty wooden manger.  As the children do acts of kindness for others, they can add a piece of straw to the manger in preparation for the arrival of baby Jesus.

December 6: Saint Nicolas Day  In the Netherlands and Belgium, children put out their shoes on December 5, with perhaps carrots or hay for St. Nicolas’ horse.  Saint Nicolas fills our shoes with nuts & sweets and perhaps small gifts.  Read the story of St. Nicolas here.

December 8: The first day of Hannukah.  We’ll play the dredel game and eat potato latkes (pancakes) and jelly doughnuts.

December 9: Second Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Preparation & Peace
Luke 1:26-38, Isaiah 11:1-4, Isaiah 52:7
We’ll sing “Oh Come All Ye Faithfull.”

December 10: for family home evening, we’ll go caroling to our neighbors as they do in England.  When we get home, we will not burn a Yule Log (as we have no fire place) but we will eat a Yule Log nougat candy. (A disgustingly sweet confection that my dear husband’s family always ate, so he is nostalgic about it.)

December 13: Santa Lucia Day.  The children of our house will get up early and led by their oldest sister, bring hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls
in procession to their parent’s bedroom, where we will have a lovely “surprise” breakfast all together.

December 16: Third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Joy.
Isaiah 12:2-5, Mosiah 3:3-12,
We’ll sing “Joy to the World” of course.

December 17: For family home evening, we’ll make some special birdseed treats to hang in our front yard as they do in Norway.

December 23: Fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Love.
John 3:16, Isaiah 49:13-16, Moroni 7:47-48,

We’ll sing “Angels we have heard on High.”
Also, we have the Dear Husband’s family coming over for a big Christmas dinner.  I’m planning to have a pinata as they do in Mexico

December 24: Christmas Eve
we will read Luke chapter 2 and sing “Away in a Manger.” 

December 25: Regular old American Santa Claus will have left presents (always including fruit & toothbrushes) in our stockings.  We’ll give gifts to each other.  We’ll eat cold cereal and no doubt have a big Christmas feast with my extended family that afternoon.

December 26: Boxing Day We’ll do something of service, perhaps take food to someone in need or something…not sure yet.

New Year’s Eve: We have our Good Riddance Party!

New Year’s Day: We eat Hoppin’ Jon Soup and Rice Pudding.  Whoever finds the almond in their pudding gets good luck for the whole year. (Yugoslavia)

January 6: Three Kings’ Day We set out our shoes again as they do in Spain, this time with straw for the camels of the Three Magi.  They leave us a present, usually a new journal for the new year 🙂

On all the inbetween days, we’ll be reading Christmas stories, watching as many different versions of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” as we possibly can, and making presents for each other and for our friends.  It will be grand.

Merry Christmas 2011

1 Jan

We had a lovely Christmas! I think I was more excited than the kiddie pies–except Cutie Pie. She was so fun because she was thrilled by everything. Her face was constantly either a big “O” of surprise, or a huge smile with dimples!

Christmas Day being Sunday, the kiddies got up and got dressed for church first (with lots of peaks at the mantle on the stairs where stockings were hanging and SOMETHING was moving!! Finally, everyone was ready for church (except Mommy and Baby Dumpling who were not ready to venture into public yet.) Down came the stockings! The something moving turned out to be Honey Bunny.

She needed a new home and Santa knew we would take good care of her.

What treasures and goodies the stockings held!! Santa always brings us each a new toothbrush, exotic fruit, fancy hot cocoa, and candy. Cutie pie held up her kiwi fruit and exclaimed, ” A Potato!” You can almost see in this picture, Cutie Pie’s stocking (with the lamb on it) which I stayed up until midnight sewing so Santa could leave treats in it.

We then had a breakfast of sugary cereal (also brought by Santa because he knows Mom will NEVER allow it for breakfast otherwise) and off to church went the happy kiddies with Dad. Baby Dumpling and I had a nap, sorry though I was to miss church, especially on Christmas Day when the music would be so beautiful and the message so sweet. We’ll be ready to brave all those germ infested people who think it is their right to poke their dirty fingers in new baby’s faces in another week or two. Bless their hearts. (and may they be prevented from poking)

After church, Dad & kiddies hurried home & changed their clothes lightening fast so the rest of the presents could be opened.

Here is Cutie Pie hugging her new Totoro pillow buddy. I do not have pictures of all the fun things, but everyone was happy. It was a lovely Christmas indeed.

I am most grateful for our family and dear friends, whose part in my life brings me the most happiness and blessings of all. You know who you are. Your love and the way you uplift me with positive thoughts and words makes me rich beyond measure. Thank you. Through your love, I understand better the love Jesus Christ has for me and for us all.