Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18

Today was my first visit to the now open Wildwood Market!!!!! My brother-in-law, Craig, has dreamed for a long time of owning his own neighborhood market, selling seasonal produce from local farms and producers, quality meats, and lots of cheeses! Well, together, he and Emily have made it happen! I'll do a separate post with pictures of the whole shop but here's one photo to show you the back wall of the store (and my signs :). I picked out some roots vegetables to roast, some specialty sausage for Christmas day and couldn't resist some Vitamin C lollipops for the kids.

Eventually I had to leave the store. I think most of my family wishes we could just hang out at the store all the time. But, I had to drop Andrew back home and we had to make a family visit to the vacuum store. Our vacuum died last weekend and you can only go so long in our family without a vacuum. I think a new one will be making its appearance on Friday. After that it was my one chance to SHOP for Christmas. Yes, it turned out to be 12 hours from my first outing in the morning until I got home with everything in the evening. But I think all but the rest of the food is purchased!

I spent considerable time at Goodwill, especially since instead of charging me for my purchase they actually put money back onto my gift card. Sigh. Checking my texts with my mom, it appears that it took nearly an hour for them to work out what to do. They had never seen anything like that happen before. I considered just leaving several times but the problem was I could leave all the merchandise but they wanted that $14 back in their register and not on my card. Hmmmm...... And they didn't seem to realize I might have a life too. But, I was very thankful that I was under no pressure to be home by a certain time and wasn't late for anything -- rare occurrence. In the end, I finally told the assistant manager how to solve the problem (he was fully competent just a little confused) by how and what to ring up. And I made it out of there!

At another store I had hoped to purchase three items but none of them were on sale and I only had one coupon. So I picked up one item and got in line. Wouldn't you know, a lady turns around and asks me if I want another coupon! That was a blessing because it saved me at least an hour or more of running out another day to get that second item. I hope I expressed my gratefulness enough to her! I think I was so excited I might have run away a bit too fast!

It's nice to have that done....tomorrow will be the baking.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17

Well the frazzle of the season has reached near dew-point. But, I managed to get 4 packages out the door to the post office this morning and that relieves some of the deadlines. And I've made some baking lists and day-to-day to-do lists. Tomorrow is my last day to try to buy presents for the kids. I hope I find what I need!

Andrew finished his first semester today! He's worked hard to adjust to online school and to complete his courses. All three boys finished their fall semester of Writing Class today. That meant Author's Teas for both classes -- refreshments, hot drinks, and the students reading aloud one of their writing assignments.

After the Authors' Teas we headed to Auntie C's so the little kids could decorate a gingerbread house and the rest of us could just enjoy a visit since somehow we don't really get to see each other that often. Mom was there too!

Then it was time to come home and face the music for the rest of the day's work. Turkey soup needed to be finished up for dinner and there was baking that had to be done for delivery on Thursday. I'm not sending cards this year, but that doesn't mean I'm not sending cards. :) There are still some people that don't have computers or that only hear from me at Christmas, etc. So there are a few cards to send. Maybe more than a few.

Well, I think I better get some rest and be well-prepared for a day of shopping tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16

David came food shopping with me early this morning since he needs to find a present for Andrew. But, alas, all his looking yielded nothing he could decide upon so we came home empty-handed. The boys are working feverishly to finish up their writing class assignments for tomorrow. Andrew finishes his entire semester tomorrow and Rachel begins her three days of finals tomorrow.

There was baking to be done and the living room tidied for tea with a friend. I am so grateful to have a mentor to meet with monthly and this month she came to me since my schedule didn't allow for anything else. Michael kindly built us a fire and we enjoyed tea in the cozy living room, discussing the book we read for December. We took a break from the more serious books we read to enjoy Letters of a Woman Homesteader. I highly recommend this book. The author is a woman of great strength, ingenuity, determination, contentment, and beautiful words. Her book, set in the early 1900's, is as gripping as a novel.

We did have the boys' piano lessons to go to after tea and Laura and I went on our shopping errands, which included Laura finding a present for David. Mostly successful, we headed back to pick up the boys and then collect Rachel. That took some time as we hit traffic from an accident and had to take an alternate route. But we made it home in time to eat some sandwiches before heading out to our now traditional evening at the St. Francis Brass Quintet Concert.

The concert is given free of charge each Christmas and we have enjoyed it for several years in a row. The musicians come from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and are very talented. It is a great concert for children and they also serve lovely refreshments afterward. It's a nice moment of peace in the hectic schedule and the traditional music brings back all kinds of Christmas memories: Vermont, upstate New York, central Pennsylvania, Uganda, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Scotland, and of course Indianapolis. Oh the richness of childhood memories! And that is what I'm putting forth the energy for right now for my children -- so they too will have that treasure to look back upon someday. As my sister says, "Mothers are the keepers of Christmas."

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15

A new week begun! This was my Monday to work for three hours at Rachel's school during the lunch hour. So I got the boys started on school and headed off to help in the kitchen. After getting my day's exercise cleaning tables and chairs and vacuuming with the heavy duty (heavy weighing) vacuum, I dashed out the door to keep my tea appointment with my neighbor.

Tea was a nice 50 minutes of calm for the day. We never choose regular, caffeinated tea, but for some reason that's what I opted for. Usually I come home from Rachel's school and lie down or rest for nearly an hour because of the physical toll it takes on me. Since I wasn't doing that today my reasoning was blurred and I chose the caffeine. That makes me talk, a lot!

I zipped out of my neighbor's and back down to school to pick up Rachel and take her to her music lessons where I had an hour to catch up on writing cards, calling/texting people and other various online tasks. On our way home, just as we came to the farm with the lighted star, Rachel spotted a huge, faint rainbow gracing the sky! What a rare treat for December!!

Fortunately there were leftovers for dinner because there were so many other things to do besides cook -- ironing, planning, sewing, etc.

One special treat I am enjoying is being part of a calligraphy exchange! I sent out 7 handmade, calligraphied cards and now I am receiving 7 in return! Three have arrived so far. They are just beautiful! At some point I'll have to post a picture of all of them. It is such a delight to be the recipient of all this art!

December 14

Sunday - the day of no lists! In the midst of a busy season I am thankful for the lifeline of the Lord's Day. While it may still be a very busy day with church and perhaps company, I am thankful that it is a day that is fundamentally different and affords my mind a stopping point from the constant managing of to-do lists.

After morning worship we had a full house of guests. The house is all decorated for Christmas but it really comes alive when there are people talking happily and children bustling around playing together. And sitting together at a table eating, this certainly is one of the greatest fore-tastes of heaven here on earth. I am grateful to my mom for helping me out each Sunday!

There were just a few moments before evening service to begin a new book, Every Valley, a commentary on Handel's Messiah. Since I already love this piece of music I am particularly enjoying this book and its focus on explaining the Scriptures behind the lyrics (which are mostly word-for-word Scripture anyway).

I went early to the evening service to set up for communion while Michael stayed home to finish up his notes. I had previously taken Andrew to his youth group at the church building and so the three littler ones came along with me. About 10 minutes into the service I suddenly wondered where Rachel was. Certainly nowhere in the church building! And not reachable on her phone or by text. So I drove home to find her fast asleep in her room with her phone on silence. We had forgotten to take her to church! But we made it back just in time for the sermon! (Thankful to live only 5 minutes from the church.)

December 13

Saturday, the day I always optimistically think I'll get everything done that hasn't been done yet in the week. There was plenty of desk work to do and then a mountain of ironing (which at least allowed me to watch some of the Bakery Bears recent knitting podcast) and shopping lists to make.

I dragged the kids out to Costco on our way to Grandma's church for their Christmas presentation. We finished there so quickly that I decided to drag them over to Trader Joe's as well, thus eliminating more future errands.

This was the first year we have been able to go with my mom to her Christmas program. We all enjoyed the beautiful music and presentations. I even saw an old friend! I had hoped to run into her but figured with two days, three performances, and many thousands of people what was the chance? But who should walk in and sit down right behind us?!

Fortunately there were leftovers for dinner and that meant I could hop right into cooking for Sunday, painting another sign for Emily, sewing some bunting, and eventually getting to bed myself.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12

Friday. Such a nice day. We finished our Gershwin movie in school, finished our chapter on primates, and watched A Child's Christmas in Wales on Youtube.

A friend joined me in front of the fire for the afternoon -- needed down time for both of us. Life never slows and unless I force myself to stop, I don't. We talked knitting, crocheting, books, and life in general. And we enjoyed Mighty Leaf decaf Earl Grey (two pots) and several gluten free treats as well as sliced persimmons (one of my favorite seasonal treats that also makes an awesome addition to a salad).

After tea I raced down to pick up Rachel from school, get her home and dressed up for her Winter Social at school -- which of course meant racing her back to school by 7 p.m. While that was happening I did manage to feed the family a new food -- black bean noodles from Costco in a vegetable stir fry. They were SO good!!! And, they have 25g of protein per serving which means you aren't missing the meat! I think I'll make this a regular staple.

I dropped Rachel at school and headed to Craig and Emily's new shop via every scary and deserted street Google maps could think of! My job was to letter several large signs that will hang at the back of the shop. Three hours later they were done and I was on the road again (via my own directions) to get Rachel picked up and head home to bed!