{Christmas Rumblings}

 We've been hearing the rumblings of Christmas' fast approach for a few weeks at our house.
We started early with a tree the day after Thanksgiving, and all that week, we tootled at decorations.
The season of fresh greens and cozying up the house never lasts long enough for me, so I have no problem with Christmasy things in November already.
I've never really allowed myself the luxury of spending money on Christmas decorations, so there aren't usually stacks of boxes to pull out of the attic.  We usually end up with fresh greens, gifted, found and handcrafted decorations, and my sister is the queen of picking up neglected road side artificial trees, which we end up taking apart and using in various manners.  

 I'm usually such a sucker for the traditional red and green, but this year I went with just a lot more neutral, and in the living room I got brave and added some peacock feathers and colors in.  And I really like it, esp. with the gold, blacks and white.

 Our tree ends up looking haphazard like 98% of the time.  Either the kids are jumping and it starts leaning, or small fingers are pulling pieces off, etc.  After a few attempts at making it look decent, we just decide that, hey, it's a family tree and we won't get too worked up unless the whole thing falls over on someone.  It's a ginormous tree, so fat we didn't put decorations on the back end and our ceilings are 11' and the tree is headed towards the ceiling quite nicely.
Don't be jealous of my sleigh. ;)  Isn't it a beauty tho?  It's in 'storage' at my house...belongs to my mom, but since the pony died and the mice were nibbling at it, we've had it here in our house ever since we moved here.  There are two large double doors that open into our foyer and the sleigh stays in that part of the house for the majority of the year.  This year, I drug it into the living room and am so glad I did.  It fills up empty space and looks so quaint doing it.
See, I not kidding DIY ornaments.  This tag was found over at jones design company.  There are just so so many cool, free tags floating around the blogisphere this year.  You can find more here and over here she had the coolest anthropologie-esque animals (sponsored by Anthro.) dressed in Anthro clothes, that I can't seem to find them anymore...probably because they have since been taken off the web.  But the blog is still fun.

 You'll find those cool chalkboard letters over on this blog.  And they'll suck your printer dry.  But so worth it.

 We also catered a few Christmas banquets this year.  One was quite large, and I got no pictures of that...I was too busy running at top steam to serve the 160+ guests.  Four days later we did a smaller one, and I got a few snapshots of that one. 

Apparently my helper, aka husband, got camera happy on me.  I never get self-portraits of me in action.  Possibly for good reason.  But he says this is my 'concentration face'.  I'm not sure if it's funny or embarassing. :) 
And since I really don't care to end this post with that... here's a few shots of the desserts to get your mouth watering and your tummy grumbling.

Hope your Christmas week brings you a Peace that passes understanding, whether you find yourself at peace with the world around you already, or in the middle of chaos, confusion or pain.  More than ever, I find myself so grateful that He came to bind the broken hearted, set captives free, give sight to the blind and proclaim the Lord.  We are all so in need, Amen?


{A Cornish Hen}

For Thanksgiving this year, {Yes, I realize that was like an eternity ago} we went anti-turkey
And dove into the world of minature. 
Why I've waited so long to make Cornish hens, is just beyond me.
I've admired them from afar, but never attempted them.
Really, they're not so intimidating.

Except for the part where you feel slightly unsettled at the thought of cooking a "baby" chicken.
Which they really are not, but still.

The kids were super excited and kept asking, for a whole 10 days ahead of time, if we could please
Have the baby chickens for dinner tonight.

So here's the lowdown on a fine roast Cornish hen:
 I bought mine frozen, so I thawed them and patted them dry.
We stuffed them with sliced peppers, celery, garlic cloves and onions.
 If you're lucky you'll get the most handsome man in the universe in on the chef-ing.
He declares himself helpless in the kitchen, but I'm working to bring out his inner foodie.
Next, we basted each turkey,er..hen, with butter.  Lots of melty butta.
We then seasoned the daylights out of them with lemon pepper and any other herb/seasoning we could get our hands on.
Roasted them, uncovered, for an hour or till the juices ran clear and the skin was all crispy and tantalizing.  They smelled aromatically decadent.

 Everybody got their own little chicken, we ate taters with brown butter and too much other food, and that was how our alternate turkey story ended.


{Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice}

  So you know those visions of sugar plums that dance in your head?
And that perfect mother-daughter craft that you envision,
Where the Hallelujah chorus somehow is singing in the background,
The moment looks like a Norman Rockwell painting,
And your having a deep bonding moment over some 'Pinteresty' project?

Yeah, that one.  Guess I always thought it would be that way, but alas,
The two of us, my daughter and I, are two birds of a different feather.
While I am stimulated by some artsy/craftsy thing finished, she'd rather get out all the supplies
And then just sit and talk about it.
I'm a do-er, she's a relate-er.
So we're learning to work together. 
I'll be honest, it's been showing me some rough edges in my own character.

Here's a fun project we worked on 'together'.
Super easy, even for small kids.
 Gather some large gumballs, and using a kabob skewer, slowly poke a hole through them.
I used 6 gumballs, but you could do with more or less.
Using a large needle and ribbon, thread the gumballs onto a length of ribbon long enough to tie at the back of your neck.
Tying a knot on each side of the gumballs to keep them from sliding helter skelter.
 Add a flower clip you bought, or make your own.
I just threw together some fabric and tulle, very simple like and sewed a hair clip onto the back.
The flower clip now serves two purposes, as a little bling to the gumball necklace,
And after the gumballs have been devoured, it can be clipped onto clothes or used as a hair accessory.
 Super easy, super fun.  And can be used as a cheap, but fancy gift for princess' or party favors.
Or to create a sugar induced high.  Whatever strikes your fancy.


{Coup de Croupe}

Coup de Croupe (pronunciation:  koo de kroop)

Coup:(koo) (noun) a violent or sudden seize of power or a notable/successful stroke or move.
In which a mother has all other activities taken away and the power to be mobile in any area of life is successfully halted and taken on by the snuggliest babies in the house.  No eating, no drinking, no potty breaks, no showers, and no sleep without permission from the 20 lb. warlord.

Croupe: (kroop) (also a noun) loud cough that sounds like the barking of a seal
The method through which the Coup took place in our house.  A successful and sudden burst of racket heard from a small child which guarantees an immediate response of sympathy and moments of panic from the childs mother.  Requires endless hours of vaporization ( of the air, not the baby), hot steam baths, and co-sleeping.  Footy pajamas are optional, altho comfortable ones are not.  Must be dealt with by wearing the cinnamony scent of Arbonne's Vapor Rub, multiple bottles of juice, doses of tylenol and a very patient mother, along with a daddy who is only guaranteed one square foot of the bed at night as baby flops about over the bed. 

And so normal life has now been subjected to the coup de croupe, and all social activites have ceased and housewifey things set to the side as we nurse the baby back to health.  A few of his siblings have been subjected to a fever as well.  Finally, after almost a week, the barking seal is seeing some light from under the dark blue sea, so to speak.  He's sleeping better and the cough isn't making me jump out of my skin as often.  But, goodness, I sure could use a vacation.  Anyone have a free timeshare in the Caribbean they're not using?  (Just notice Caribbean looks like a mix of Caribou and bean.  Weird, huh?  Now my mind has wondered off to Caribou coffee, which makes me think I haven't had my cup of Master's Touch yet this morning.  Perhaps that will solve my cranky)

*I have, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed the snuggling and holding of the wee lamb.  He's getting to the stage of wanting independence and so I know that these days are quite fleeting.  Enjoying the sound of his breathing and baby breath as he's snuggled up close is pure joy.  I have also leaned quite heavily on The One Who Created him during the long night hours.  A long bout of sickness has not been in vain.  :)


{Master Bedroom}

I'm in a season where I've got more ideas running around in my head, than I have time or resources to fill.  Sometimes I feel a bit like a crazyac trying to contain all my thoughts in my head until I can bring them to pass or at least be at peace with it just being a creative thought and not actually something that HAS to be done.  I may drive my husband loopy, or I may just keep his life exciting...I don't know.  I do know that he has voiced numerous times about his fear of walking in the door and something else has changed...again.  Poor man.

We did some painting in the master bedroom about 2 years ago.  About the same time we were doing the whole kitchen project.  {See, I told you I've got seasons}  The floor in the master had mold under it, and I was in denial that anything needed to be done until it was just too obvious it was spreading.  The former owners had allowed the window unit AC to drip inside the window and the water had gone under the floor boards and started a process of mold and rot. Because I firmly believe in this We tore into this project and painted the room black at the same time since it used to be just so green (scroll down).  We added a white "upside down chair rail" to the top of the wall and we're working on finishing the trim yet.  Good grief it takes us long to get things done.
 (See where we need trim above the windows and under the "chair rail"? Or the light chord that's tacked up to our bed post?  I'm also in a bit of a funk over curtains and/or shades.  Any suggestions?)

 A couple weeks ago I had an itch to make a change to the wall behind our headboard.  It had been a black wall, but I wanted a little more light in the room, so I painted it the same color as the trim and added some handwriting.

Super fun project, and Myron loved it, so a homerun.  He likes to say it often now, with some dry humor, "you know, I will always love you".
I measured off every 4" for a penciled line to write on, and then freehanded it with a permanent marker.  Paint and a fine tip paint brush were my first choice, but the marker was so much easier to handle and I rather adore how it isn't in your face but just a subtle accent.  And freehand writing makes it so personal.  I'm sure you could make it pop a bit more and it would be fabulous in its own way.

*I feel like I should add this disclaimer:  I started this blog to post pictures of our house project.  Gotta be honest, the pictures and process haven't been recorded as well as I had originally thought.  I think I get too stuck in my own head.  I absolutely adore perusing blogs, websites, what have you to stir my creative juices, but I also know the limits of time, resources, etc that so many of us run into.  There's always the competitive or inferior feeling that jumps up in even the best of us and I've hesitated to blog about house things, knowing that some just don't have that "knack" or the budget for it.  I feel super blessed to live in such an amazing old house and I do want to share it with you.  Just know, that my best project are almost always the ones that are tight on money.  Some of my favorite paint colors in this house were a mix of what I had on hand, or my projects have evolved out of what was found laying around in the basement or other foreign corners.  I'm also a sucker for the curb...and the freebies it contains.  (I will admit to slight annoyance when my kids noticed a big ole free pile across the street from us a few times over the last year.  But they've learned from the best, I guess).  So go be awesome with what ya got, and hopefully I'll have the chance to share more of my form of awesome with you more in the future.


{Inherited Treasure}

I wanted to share a few treasures with you.
I'm not usually a terribly sentimental person (ask any of my family members, and  they will give you an adamant nod of the head).  It's not always a good thing, and I don't know if it's personality or life that has made me become that way.  I will, however, insert a clause.  I am in love with my house...whenever Myron hints at building a new one someday, I flinch and cringe and whine a little.

For whatever reasons tho, I have "inherited" a few treasures that have probably made my house evolve into the space that it is.  A little eclectic, vintage, etc.  I couldn't even begin to imagine a brand new house with brand new things, since mine is so full of worn and well used.

So here are a few of my treasures:
 {The tin bucket was my grandmother's on my mom's side.  It's got a worn piece of tape with her name on it on the backside.  And the coke box is from my dad's parents...they used to run a small orchard/country store and I have faint memories of sneaking candy out from behind the cash register}
 {This old tin lunch box was my dad's when he was a kid.}
 {The valentine's belonged to Myron's aunts.  There are probably 50 or so of them.  And some of them would be off-the-charts inappropriate today, but back when they were just cute sayings.}
 {The trunk on the top was Myron's grandfather's.  I think I may have payed an arm and a leg for it at his auction, but I love it.  The bottom one was a free cast off from an old house we cleaned out.  It's a garment trunk, with wooden hangers that slide on a track and it meant to be set upright.}
 {This gorgeous couch was rescued from a house my dad gutted and remodeled.  It is a real beauty and if I was participating here, this would be my "cold, dead fingers" piece.  The sofa was reupholstered and restored.  The sheepskin was a yardsale find and I have get to figure out a good way to clean it well.  It's a lot larger than it looks here.}
 {This quilt is a smidge ugly, and I had a huge debate in my head over leaving in my house.  The green grew on me, but the lavendar-not so much.  I mean, who does that...those colors?  The quilting on it amazing and it was my great grandmothers}
{And lastly, this old flag.  I remember this flying from the front porch of a house my parents bought when I was like 3.  I remember thinking it looked so stately, and couldn't figure out why it had to come down...totally not getting why a Mennonite wouldn't want the flag hanging from their porch.  We resurrected it from the archives last year when the kids were studying American history}.

What about youAre you a treasure-hoarder?  What are some of your favorite treasures?




I have a confession.  No, not the burn-your-secret-sin-in-the-bonfire kind of confession.
Just this: It takes every ounce of willpower and Spiritpower, to the core of  my being, to be a SAHM.
Not because my kids are so terrible (although, admittedly, they can be a handful),
But more because it's just not 'natural' for me.
Don't put me in the judgement seat just yet.
There are days when every fiber of my being wants to follow any number of dreams I've had
And have the feeling of a project complete, a paycheck deposited, or every other rosy imagining I may have about that world out there.
Most days I am the lady in that picture up there, in my imagining I am Somebody dressed to the nine's,
With a place to go and a purpose to fill.
And most days I am also her, in all my pretendings and the reality is that I am still...at home.
Not just at home, but also homeschooling.  
(It is a lesson, the more adamant one is about NEVER, the more likely it seems to be that they will eat humble pie at some point.)
Some of you were blessed with that mother-gene and it has only ever been your wish to fill the part,  And you feel that this just fills your cup.
I applaud you, and I am not-so-secretly jealous of your level of contentment.
So, what's a mom to do, who only travels within the block once in a week?
I had this feeling this week for a big bowl of potato chips and a bumper to bumper movie marathon.  
And I'm not a daily potato chip kind of gal.
It was just the dailyness of being in these 4 walls that had gotten in my head and my hormones.
Quite frankly, there is no moral to this story, or even a lesson to be learned from this post.
It's just more of : hey, if you've chomping at that mommy bit in your mouth, ya ain't alone.
How do I cope? 
Well, hey, Jack.  Sometimes my husband has to talk me back off the ledge (so to speak), 
Sometimes I get a hold of my own coattails and give myself a virtual spanking.
Sometimes I do buy that bag of potato chips (and I've also been known to buy Little Debbie's and hide them under the school tests in my filing cabinet.  Kids never like to go in that drawer)
But most times I practice a little art. 
Yeah, to me all of life ends up being art when I am most content.  That means tootling with some paint in my house, baking something fancy, sewing some crazy project, or literally doodling on a pad.
Because art is about creating something, usually from nothing, and I am most content then.
So if you happen to stop in someday, and I'm wearing heels and a cocktail dress
While trimming my bushes, know that I'm not a crazy woman.
I'm just practicing at contentment and maybe a little art, all the while praying that the Almighty
would so graciously bestow me with a measure of love for Staying Home.

I know there are more of you...staying homer's.  Tell me, do you love it?  Endure it?
What do you do to practice contentment, or keep yourself from the crazies?



{Dinner for Two}

  In the middle of our busy summer, I decided a photo session with my love was way overdue.
Being in the business of raising kids has made us prioritize some great family shoots
But we haven't gotten any fabulous pictures of the two of us since our wedding 10+ years ago.
Myron wanted some good pictures on his desk at work, and so I thought that a fun photo shoot
Would be the ultimate "i love you" thing.

Our friend and fabulous first cousin, Lyndsi, from LYNDSI Photography was first choice.
She's spent time with our family and knows what a couple of dweebs we are and so of course
We were most comfortable with her.
Not to mention that she has got some uber fantastic camera skills.
She's done This photo shoot as well as a few others for us.

I decided to call a babysitter and make this a dinner date as well.
We hadn't spent any time together, just the two of us, since the baby was born.
The kids and I went back to the farm and set up a table for two

Then we shipped them all off to the sitters, did a photo shoot, and enjoyed a fabulous dinner
Prepared by my gourmet chef sister-in-law.

 The sunlight was absolutely golden.  From up on the hill at the farm, the breeze had settled down and it had to be one of the most delicious summer nights of the year.  None of the deer poked their heads out into the pasture to see us but for a town-living couple, the quiet of the meadow and woods, the sound of birds, and the view over the lake was magic.  Unforgettable, really.