Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Truth of the Matter

The truth of the matter is, I went to the mall with my mom and sister on Tuesday. What a treat! We had a blast and the morning was full of laughter! So, we found a "fake bump" in the dressing room, and I had to try it on. It made us laugh so hard I think the attendant wondered what the matter was. But, this is what I really look like:

I realize now that it was a little hard to "get the joke" for all my blog friends at afar. You all were so kind, and I hope you don't mind my little prank.

Well, ideally I would love to enter the new year with a clean and organized house (like I used to be able to do in Scotland). But, the truth of that matter is, the Christmas decorations are still up, the kids' rooms are a WRECK despite them cleaning them EVERY morning! A huge pile of receipts are scattered all over the floor and my desk as I'm in the middle of finances and budgeting, and the kitchen floor is covered in last night's dinner. But, one closet is extremely organized and my craft room is almost there too! Oh well, I have kids -- kids that are big enough and playful enough to make a huge mess and not clean it up very well. And, I figure I have the rest of the week to try to catch up a bit. :)

I hope you all have a lovely New Year's Eve! We are off to a hat party and the kids have made hats -- wait until you see them!!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pregnancy Update

For those of you who have been a bit concerned that I'm not as big as I could be, well, be amazed, be very amazed! Look what happened over Christmas! ;)

Only 17 more weeks to go!!!!

Oh, and I did attempt to upload Christmas pictures but Blogger kept failing on me. Maybe tomorrow I can try again.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thoughts, Ideas, Goings On

I've finally finished with all the gift, stocking, food shopping and can hopefully stay home for the rest of the week! I'll need to because the laundry, house-cleaning, baking, cooking, present-wrapping and some present-making still has yet to be done! :)

Michael took the children to the Children's Museum -- two this week and two last week. It's always fun for them around Christmas-time.

Had a lovely phonecall from Scotland this morning. It's always nice to hear from dear people far away.

Enjoying memories of Christmas' past: Christmas Eve service in snow-laden Vermont with candlelight; "making Christmas" in tropical Africa; quiet Christmas' in Scotland, my Grandmother's Forgotten Cookies.

Cookie baking has been going on here for about a month. I haven't baked this many in quite a few years. And there are still 15 dozen or so to turn out before tomorrow! Sometimes this holiday "fun" becomes a bit more of a chore.

Many people I know are in difficult circumstances this Christmas: ill health, struggles with cancer, relationships, finances, emergencies. I've been pondering the balance between the burden I feel for them and the responsibility to enjoy the lovely things God does bring into one's life. I think part of the balance is using that burden to pray for our friends as these situations come to mind, to think about practical ways to help, to remember God is in control and then to show our trust in Him by then enjoying the beauty, pleasure, and joys of the season as appropriate.

You know, cooking at the Children's Museum involves so much less mess than at home!

I was up at the Knitting Shop yesterday and guess what I saw? This GREAT idea for using felted sweaters. Anne came up with this and you can see more examples on her blog (scroll down to the end of the post).

I've been enjoying my break from sewing felted flowers. Check out this cute mouse I sewed last week!!! He's off to a new home, but it was definately tempting to keep him!

All right, it's now time to take myself off to the sewing closet and make some progress on the last gift before hitting the kitchen, the cookies, and the MESS!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Happenings

Let's see. Life is busy here at the moment. I took the kids to Christmas on the Farm at Trader's Point Creamery last weekend. That's where we ran into Santa. Now, our family doesn't "do" Santa but we don't avoid talking about him and the legends behind him, and if he happens to be posing for a picture, well, I figure he's part of the holiday decorations so why not? :) I'm sure Michael thinks I'm crazy.

The kids enjoyed seeing some real reindeer and taking a hay ride. I enjoyed purchasing fresh turnips for a good price and making cream of turnip soup -- yum!

The week has been full of school, Christmas errands, and trying to sneak in time for a few cards and then sewing projects.

Friends spent the night last night and for dinner we had 12 kids and 6 adults. Talk about noise-level, but everyone had so much fun. And being with people is what makes the best holiday memories -- forget the decorations, cookies and presents (well, almost).

Now, I am sitting here re-grouping and deciding what needs to be a priority today. I'm going to need to do some baking and there are still cards and sewing. Hopefully I can make it fun for the kids.

Enjoy your weekend! Happy cooking, baking, wrapping, celebrating!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Party Time

Emily's birthday was this past Friday. Our plans morphed from nothing, to having the family over after dinner, to having one or two friends, to inviting a party over! We ended up having a really fun evening.

The theme of the food table was "Winter Wonderland" complete with 3 lighted trees and a myriad of candles:

There was lots of good food: a baked ham for sandwiches, veggies, spinach/bean/ricotta dip, salsa and chips, chex mix, cheeseball, apples and caramel, trifle, gluten-free chocolate cake, Christmas pudding with hard sauce and a cookie/candy platter.

Perhaps it was a bit over the top, but it was fun to make, and several of the items will serve a dual purpose of "blog appearance" over at TCND.

Let me forewarn you that the blueberry-lemon trifle was INCREDIBLE! You will eventually see the recipe FOR SURE!

Christina's gluten-free chocolate cake with peppermint was a definite hit.

Besides tree-trimming there was also a table for cookie decorating -- not just for the kids in attendance, but the adults too.

Fun times! And, can I also mention that I do love my new camera lens, even if I am still learning exactly how to get the best pictures with it. (Note: most of my personal blog pictures are taken with my little point and shoot, but sometimes I throw in a few from my new digital SLR -- most of the shots in this post came from it.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ornament Making

Christina and I set aside a day this week to make ornaments. Ambitious idea, I know, but we at least wanted to try.

I pulled out all the possibilities and set the kids up with some painting. By the time we got the baby settled, and the kids settled, we were well into our day and the kids were finishing painting their ornaments almost before we sat down to start the adult ornaments!

Baby John alternated between sleeping, eating, and watching:

My first attempt was a pomander ball I saw over at Betz White's. It looked very easy, but it took me a good 1 1/2 hours! I was pleased with the results, but decided it wasn't an ornament to make in quantity!

James really got into making ornaments :)

Rachel got Auntie C to help her:

After I finished the pomander, I joined Christina and Rachel in making little wreaths.

Here are Rachel's. You take a pile of felt squares and run a thread through the middle, alternating four bells throughout. It's actually very, very simple, and pretty cute! Again, Betz White has an even better demonstration photo.

I was very impressed with how many ornaments James made! He really gets into the sewing!

My favorite ornament of the day was the felted bird. After sewing one I realized this was something I could make in quantity and all the lovely felted patterned sweaters would be just perfect for this.

Here is a not so good picture of the finished pomander:

My red and white wreath:

An attempt at a poinsettia ornament:

And a few more birds -- they are so cute!!! And I have so many color options!

Oh, and several weeks ago a friend was over with a sweater that was not feltable. Instead we made it into a pillow. It was easy to make and came together very quickly. We chose white material for front and back and then carefully pinned the sweater to the cut lining to cut the sweater to the right shape. I sewed around the edge of the sweater and front lining to "tack" it in place before sewing front and back together.

And that's all for now!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Birthday Celebrations

This past weekend has been full of birthday celebrations, beginning with Friday night dinner out with Michael and a walk through the Harrison Center as part of their "First Friday" open houses.

Saturday morning found me blissfully occupied at Goodwill, searching for good finds during their 50% sale.

At lunchtime I met up with my two sisters and mom for lunch at The Sanctuary to celebrate Emily's birthday, as well as mine.

We had so much fun! This is why I'm so excited that Rachel is going to have a sister!

The food was delicious -- mom ordered quiche with salad:

Christina had a Caprese salad with roasted potato wedges on the side:

I had a New Orleans sandwich with Cauliflower soup (yum!):

Here we are all together:

The atmosphere at the Sanctuary is beautiful as well as cozy and it was very festive as well:

The chocolates and chocolate desserts on display were incredible. We couldn't resist splitting one between us:

And here is my unloaded "mess" from Goodwill. I found some great shirts and a sweater for Michael, a few maternity items, quite a few sweaters to felt, a stack of clothes for Andrew, baskets for gift-giving, random silver pieces, and some cute shoes too. I called it a success!

Sunday the family was over to say goodbye to our friend Suse who is moving back to North Carolina. We had a taco feast!

And then there were presents all around.

Yesterday, my actual birthday, I was surprised to find snow on the ground when I woke up! That was always a childhood wish and I find it special when is snows on my very birthday. The kids and I wanted to go to the Children's Museum, but it was closed, so we headed to the downtown library instead (where I could read all the cooking magazines and the kids could play). I picked up a new lens for my camera (better for food) and then we headed home for some organizing/sewing and dinner, followed by Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia!!!!! And now onto the holidays......

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quick Review

Lots has been happening in the past few weeks. I could fill many posts with pictures but thought I'd just choose a few.

Rachel and my mom joined me for the ultrasound on Tuesday where we found out we're having a GIRL!!!! We went out for a cup of coffee afterwards to celebrate:

While in Oklahoma last week the children and I got to meet Michael's maternal grandmother for the first time. We were so happy we could finally see her in person:

The children had so much fun being at Grandpa and Grandma's. They didn't want to leave and wondered if we could go back for Christmas.

Michael's brother took a lovely photo of the 2/3 of the family that were present for Thanksgiving. Such a great picture! If only we had the other two families pictured too!

Thanksgiving brought lots of delicious food and plenty of people to visit with:

It was fun for the kids to have 3 of their 6 cousins on the L-side of the family present:

We celebrated Rachel's 9th birthday the weekend before we left for OK. On Saturday she and I headed up to the Knit Shop to let her pick out some yarn.

And on Sunday there was cake:

Two days before Rachel's birthday we attended the International Festival in Indianapolis. It was great fun -- visiting booths from many, many different countries. Here is our friend Alex, who is of Lithuanian descent. The kids and I enjoyed a bit of Chinese food and some German Chocolate cake. I think we'll try to go next year.
And now it's time to be up and off to Goodwill and a special lunch date with my mom and sisters to celebrate the December birthdays. Have a good weekend!