Hat Done!

Hat for James

So it was a few days late for Christmas.  James was still surprised by the hat and loves how soft it is.  I don’t think he minded one bit waiting a couple of extra days and having to drive downtown to the LYS to buy a wee bit more yarn so I could finish it.  And now he understands how I can wear my hat all the time and not even realize it.

Christmas Daybook

Go visit Peggy at The Simple Woman to see more Daybook entries.

Outside my window. . . It’s still dark and raining.  I can see the reflection of our Christmas tree and all the white lights.

I am thinking. . . about slowing down and enjoying the Holiday.

I am thankful for. . . Izzy’s quick recovery from a stomach bug that had her vomiting less than 2 days ago.

From the schoolroom. . . nothing.  Just focused on Christmas and family right now.  We’ll get back to school stuff in January.

From the kitchen. . . the last of the baking and the beginnings of preparations for Christmas brunch begin:

•     3 chickens are being roasted and will be turned into gourmet chicken salad

Vegetables being chopped and breakfast meat being fried for frittatas

Dough rising for monkey bread

Cream cheese softening for chip dip

Scones defrosting

Pretzels being coated in chocolate by the boys

Chocolate peppermint cookies cooling

Sugar cookies awaiting frosting and sprinkles

Chicken stock defrosting for homemade dog biscuits

I am wearing. . . Pajamas – I need to jump in the shower.

I am creating. . . a few last-minute surprise presents… shhh!

I am going. . . to Christmas Eve mass with my grandma.

I am reading. . . Who has time for books right now?

I am hoping. . . for the true meaning of the Holidays to shine through in all.

I am hearing. . .Giggles from the kids and a wet dog shaking water everywhere.

Around the house. . . there are several loads of clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away, floors that need to be swept and vacuumed, you get the idea.

One of my favorite things. . . Our Christmas tree!

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . Mass, hanging out with family, eating good food, and maybe a bit of sleep.

I am praying for…families that have lost loved ones and jobs over the past year.

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Path not taken

Backwards Blogging

I get behind on the computer often and I don’t mind one bit.  It means I’m taking care of the people around here, so I’m sure you understand.  I try to update things when I get a chance, which means a lot of backwards blogging and e-mails not being returned for a week or two.

Pencil wrap

I made this cute little pencil wrap from a placemat I got on clearance.  It was big enough to include a notebook in with the pencils.  I sewed 13 pockets for pencils (12 for the colored pencils and 1 for a regular pencil with an eraser.)  It folds into thirds and ties with some grosgrain ribbon.  It’s a perfect traveling companion for Jackson.

I created a traveling set similar to this for each of the kids.  Alex’s pencils are more nature oriented with bird names for each color.  I’m hoping he’ll use it for documenting our nature walks.  Izzy’s set doesn’t have pencils at all and instead has these wonderful soy rock crayons from Stubby Pencil Studio.  These crayons are great and I can’t say enough about them.

We’ve Been Away

To Kentucky, visiting my MIL and her husband.   They live off the beaten path about 25 miles from Dale Hollow Lake.  It’s a wonderful secluded place back in the hills that is just beautiful.

We were blessed with a warm 65 degree afternoon that we took full advantage of by hiking.  We saw all kinds of moss, rocks, and trees.  Alex loved leading the way.

It was lovely catching up with family and playing with the kids.  I also got plenty of knitting done!

Christmas Tree Farm

We discovered Dull’s Christmas Tree Farm last year and bought our first live tree, starting a wonderful tradition for our family.

After extracting our old artificial tree from the box last year and discovering more than one broken branch and how sad it looked, something had to be done.  We went to a few stores looking for a replacement artificial tree, but yikes, those aren’t cheap!  So I did a little research and discovered that you can get a beautiful big live tree for under $30 and support a local farming family while creating a great adventure that the kids will never forget.

2008 tree farm

Chosen tree 2008

tree on car

We went to the farthest field to choose our tree this year and found a nice 7-footer that was good and prickly (the kids leave it alone this way) and James had the honor of using his saw to cut it down.  He loaded it up on the tree dolly and we hiked up the hill.  While James waited in line for the tree to be processed – they give it a good shake to remove the dead needles, prune it, and wrap netting around it for easy traveling – the kids and I head to the lodge to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.  We stopped by the wreath  barn and get a picture of the family on sleigh before heading back to the car to tie the tree to the top.

It was a great time for all of us!

Advent Calendar

Every year, I go out and buy a cardboard Hallmark-style Advent calendar for the boys to open.  Last year, I made the mistake of buying two calendars for the boys that had chocolate hidden behind each door.  Alex can handle his sugar, but Jackson… oh no!

Every year, I promise myself that I will make an Advent calendar for the following year so I can stop buying the paper ones and create a lovely tradition with the kids and maybe even stuff my own surprises behind the doors, whether they be bible verses, lyrics to a Christmas song, or a small gift.

Well, I’m finally doing it with the kids’ help!  I decided on a Christmas tree with a round ornament for each day of Advent.  This year, we’re taking time each day to decorate each round piece of felt with a picture.  The first day, we made a penguin, the second a stocking, and who knows what we’ll come up with for the rest.  After the Holidays are over, I plan on embroidering numbers either on the ornaments or the tree itself and sewing them into place to form pockets to hold treasures for next year.  The kids are enjoying re-arranging all the circles and trying to figure out what make out of future ornaments.

Advent Calendar