Friday, December 23, 2016

it's hard to believe, but it's only one day till Christmas~

here in minnesota we have a layer of beautiful
white snow and we are heading to the north woods
to celebrate.

I don't think I have one more gift to wrap, or food item to prep,
 and now my hope is that after all the carrying on and
preparing, that I can sit back and soak in my family~ together
at our home away from home for Christmas.
i started this blog post yesterday and now while i wait for
lars to get home from work so we can head north, i will finish it.

some of my extended family have been sharing favorite
memories of Christmas's and
i read them and it takes me back too. when you are little
it seems like about 3 years between each Christmas, but now
it hardly seems worth it to decorate and undecorate.
it's January~then you blink and it's time to hang lights on the tree again! ha
why does time speed up so fast as we get older? i've often thought we have this all backwards.
i think time should fly when you're young and foolish, and slow down
when you're old so you can just hang out, sleep in and take in all you've learned,
count your blessing (very slowly) &
watch your grandchildren grow up.
am i making any sense?

I just think it would be great if we were retired from age 20-40 when we have strong bodies,
energy and then people could raise their own kids and travel etc.
   then we could start jobs and work from ages 40-65 when we're bored and the kids are gone.

: )
i think i'm on to something friends.

last week i got to spend 2 days at my daughter's.
(i'm trying not to use her name anymore because when anyone
puts her unusual name in a search engine my blog comes up and she likes her privacy
~~ & i don't blame her).

she and her hubbie have settled in at their house on the lake and she's decorating like
a grown up girl this year. they got their first beautiful fresh tree and she's
bought a few new things, plus inherited some family things to decorate with.
i'm going to share some photos from their place with y'all.

they are birders like us and they have a bank of windows in their living room
that make for great bird watching.

it was one of those bitterly cold spells when i was there and the birds
puff up their feathers to stay warm.
"hello puffy red cardinal".

it's always a thrill to see a pileated woodpecker. if i had to guess i'd say their flying
wingspan is about 3 feet!

fluffy new snow coated everything and it was so beautiful.
(it's snowing here right now too and i love it. love winter, love snow).

i stopped at a nursery that I've been eyeing since the kids moved and decided to
buy some fresh flowers and make her a Christmasy bouquet.
i got a a clippers and walked around their yard and cut the pine that i used and
took some pictures to show you how easy it is to make your own bouquets.

start with a block of wet floral foam that you purchase where you get fresh flowers.
i wanted a low bowl and used a clear one from the kitchen.
next start adding your greens. i like to mostly cover the foam and
then start adding in my flowers.

then just have fun adding in whatever flowers or berries you have.
one tip i'll share is that if you push a flower into the foam and decide you didn't want
it in that far, don't just pull it out a ways. that creates an air pocket and
the stem won't get any water. instead completely pull the flower out and re-insert it
in a new spot.

just loved their tall fraser fir tree~

and the gift wrap they chose.

from where i sat watching the birds, this ornament from long ago was shining at me.

kenz, so stinking cute in a scarf. she always crosses her front
paws like this. none of our dogs have ever done that, do you think
it's a girl thing since we have always had male dogs?

these pottery critters were made by an old family friend. i love
how a. used them all in her winter vinyette.
*there's a raccoon and hippo along with the puffin, penguin and walrus.

sparkly trees in the guest bath~

a big lighted star in a vintage metal box was perfect in the sunporch

i loved seeing they used this very old ceramic santa figurine that belonged to
a.'s grandma. look how pretty the row of snow capped evergreens look out the
kitchen window.

lars and i bought this wooden card box in maine 29 years ago and had
it shipped home. i have loved it well, but was ready to pass it on now.

and yep- i brought more cookies to their house and threw some haphazard
frosting on them. we're all trying to eat less sugar so i went to bed feeling like
i should be on the naughty list.

hi kenzie, i'll see you in a few hours when we all get to the lodge!

there's so many repetitious sentiments at Christmas, but i just want to
say, that if i could, i would wave a magic wand of protection over each of you.

i'd wish for good health (because if you have your health you have EVERYTHING...
or at the very least can figure all the rest out, and secondly,
i'd wish for peace in our hearts.
mine, my big sweeties (lars'),
my precious children and their loves...
my dear family and treasured friends and
anyone else reading this.

our youngest was born on Christmas day.
happy birthday cole,
as he knows so well, we consider him the best gift we've ever received at Christmas.
there was a major snowstorm that Christmas 28 year ago and
i only had one visitor because there was no travel advised.
it was beautiful and peaceful and perfect.

now lets go have a Merry Christmas and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

God Bless!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

last saturday was cookie decorating day at my
cousin nancys. we planned it way back in october
and decided it made sense if everyone baked their own cookies at
home and we'd just spend our time together decorating them.

making cutout, decorated sugar cookies is a labor of love man.
by the time you mix them, chill them, roll, cut and
thennnnn decorate them, you've probably got about 15 minutes into
each and every cookie!
(no wonder i used to feel resentful when my kids would
grab a handful and eat them like popcorn.
"what are you doing? can't you show a little respect and just look at them?")


i have about 25 Christmas themed cookie cutters, but i just used my favorites~ the
ones i know are fun to decorate and don't have a lot of pointy parts that just
break off. i couldn't wait to see what shapes the other girls came with, so
you can imagine my surprise and delight when anna opened her
bowl and revealed these!

who'd have thunk it? snails, fox, porcupines and bears?
moose? CHRISTMAS MOOSE... be still my heart!
(cookie cutters available at ikea).
i loved the originality and couldn't wait to see how she'd decorate them and
believe me, she did not disappoint.

nancy graciously made the frosting for all of us and provided a plethora of
sprinkes and decorating tips and it was go time.

that's maddy in the kitchen, still mixing up frosting and growing a human
being while she's at it. nancy- in the middle- will soon be a grandma for the
1st time! the baby is a boy and we love suggesting names. : )
anna is on the right and she's the woodland animal- cookie baker.

barb did not decorate cookies on her knees. she'd dropped a tip and
had to go looking for it.

here are some of the finished cookies. anna's animal were my favorite.
i liked everyone's, but seriously, who doesn't love a fox wearing a wreath
around it's neck, or a moose with beautiful antlers??

my friend mary bought me a cookie cutter last year that is a pickup truck with a tree
on the back. i gave everyone one to decorate and it was fun to see all the variations.

nancy's santa made us smile~

barb just made snowflakes, she wanted to keep it simple, but boy did
she find a lot of different ways to make them pretty!

i find it hard to believe it was the first time anna had ever decorated cookies...she
is a natural.

here are some of mine~

these beauties were decorated by maddy.
*excuse me now while I take a break and go eat sugar straight out of the bag.

i'd like this decorating day to be a new tradition. it was so fun to sit
around a table and catch up on each other's lives while we got creative.
nancy even made us a yummy lunch of soup and sandwiches and then
before we knew it it was time to head out.

it had started to snow and the forecast was for many inches.
my next stop wasn't going back home though, it was traveling south to
northfield mn. to spend the night with dear friends.

luckily I beat the worst of the snow and got to christa's before
the snow started to pile up and hey! being snowed in in
northfield would be about the best thing ever.

christa loves to decorate and it's a joy to see her house at Christmas.
the front porch looked like this.

the families collection of nutcrackers lined up on these shelves, was beautiful.

a lot of art projects happen at this dining room table. I had fun making old
fashioned snowflakes with the boys. it was kind of a competition and now they
probably don't have any paper left in their printer...  : )

will and ben. big brother isaac was at his choir concert.

it snowed alllll night and we woke up to this beautiful sight.

so cool how the snow piled up in the fire pit area.

sunday morning christa made a delightful birthday brunch in honor of her momma.

fresh rosemary bundled at each of our places- and these darling notecards.

it was just a really, really lovely weekend. exactly what i needed.
spending time with fun family and close girlfriends just does
a body good. we shared yummy food and belly laughs and
to end this, i want to show you the photo i took of christa's family
that completely cracked me up!!!

i was in the kitchen and heard one of her boys say,
"hey auntie"!   i turned and saw the 3 boys sticking their heads out
of their bedroom doors- just their heads, and i laughed out loud and called christa over to see it.
she and joe immediately ran to join the fun and i (of course)
ran for my camera to document it all.

good times you guys,
good times.

Merry Christmas from my friends and i,


Thursday, December 8, 2016

good morning!

i hope it brightens your day a little bit to see some
of our Christmas decorating.

*please keep in mind that overall my house is still a mess-
shoes and dog hair piling up everywhere,
piles of paperwork and dishes in the sink...
but selectively if i just show you some of the
beauty scattered about and if that makes
you happy, then all the daily dirt and grind don't matter,
not one tiny little bit.

that's life~ in all it's perfect, imperfect beauty.

our fresh tree smells so yummy

the angel on our tree was a hand made gift from my sister, about 35 years ago- love her!

this little salt and pepper shaker set is from Target

a shot in front of the tree

i think we all have favorite ornaments right? this one is new and it's already a favorite.
my hubbies parents had a little camper kind of like this, for many years.

this is for sure an ornament i treasure. handmade by my gram, i remember
her excitement the year she made a bunch of these to give away.
there was no pinterest or etsy in those days girls, so she probably saw this idea
in good housekeeping magazine. : )

Target delivered again with this felted snowball garland.
i like when some of my d├ęcor can stay up all winter.

i don't unpack my nativity every year, but when i do i marvel over the details and
beauty in these sculptures. an old friend made this out of clay and even though
she made many, many of them, because she made every one by hand, no two are alike and
each little lamb and wise man is truly a work of art.

friend leslie's Christmas potpourri

the family room fireplace

i do a little decorating outdoors too. our kitchen table is right inside this
window so it's a great place to enjoy flowers in the window box all summer
and then greenery in the winter.
(it has however rotted the window sill from summer watering, so lars
has a big project waiting for him this spring). ; )

i was on my way to stash this topiary form in the garage for the winter
and then decided to wrap it in white lights and put it in a pot of greens on the deck.
i like it shining in the patio door at night. i also love the lights that line
our roof that take lars hours to put up every year. (thanks hon)!

it's a lot of work to decorate your house for the holidays, but man it brings me joy.
our oldest asked his sister last night if she has her house full of
Christmas stuff. she said she's working on it. he said "i just don't get it, it's so much
work and why do girls think they have to put Christmas stuff all  over- i think it's kind of dumb"?!

who's kid is he anyway???
*and my response~ "i didn't raise you like that eric- you old scrooge!"

bahaha hohoho!!!
it's worth it to me~

have a good day dears,