Monday, December 31, 2007

Mary Janes and a Blast From the Past

My sweet nephew, Brandon, drew my name for Christmas. I cannot imagine anything less that a 16 year-old boy would want to do than pick out a gift for his aunt. But, with a little help from his mom (my sister) he got me these:

Raspberry-red Mary Jane Crocs!! They are so cute and comfortable. I had to wear them right away! And where, you might ask? To the antique malls, of course.
Thank you, thank you, dear Brandon. They are perfect.

Before I left for the antique malls, my friend, Joyce, came over to bring me a lovely gift. In her hands were dozens of copies of Better Homes & Gardens magazines from 1971-1976. In my lifetime, that spans from Eight grade to my senior year in high school.


I am thrilled to bits with these glimpses into the past. Thank you, Joyce, for keeping these tucked in the back of your cupboard for the past thirty years!

How cute is this Granny-squared blanket? The directions are included and you can bet I will be making one this year.

I can tell you that if I served this to my children there would be a massive revolt. A ham-wrapped pickle is not quite my idea of dinner either. But the mac & cheese would be fine and dandy.

How about some festive Jell-O desserts? Yummmmmm.


I believe that I will be spending my New Year's day perusing these little bits of vintage heaven. And working on a special project. But, more on that later. :)

Happy New Year !!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Twas the Night Before Christmas,


And all through my house,
Was the pitter and patter of me and my spouse.
Trying to hide from the boy in his room,
Who was trying to sleep knowing Santa's due soon.
The problem, it seemed, due to dreams of the night,
Was the door would pop open and on went the light!
Anxiety reigned for my hubby and me.
When could we put the gifts under the tree?
Every five minutes the boy would peek,
To see if his stocking was filled up yet. Eek!
At three in the morning, success came at last!
We settled to bed and tried to relax, when-
Pop! went the door and Snap! went the light!
The boy was awake and in awe of the sight!
His stocking was full, his joy overflowed,
And we pretended to sleep, keeping our eyes closed,
As he crept to our room, bounty in hand,
Waiting to show us his presents so grand.
Finding us napping, back to bed the boy slumped,
And we, the two Scrooges, felt like crabby, old grumps.
Give us a minute or two of a peaceful night's sleep,
A few precious seconds with nary a peep.
But, alack and alas, that was just not to be,
For the boy was too full of Christmas excitement and glee.
So up we all got, Dad, Sis and Me,
And we gathered ourselves close by to the tree.
Big Brother arrived, and we all shared our gifts,
Opening our presents in synchronized shifts.
Joy filled our hearts and love filled the room,
And our sleepless night slipped away with the moon.
Christmas, it seemed, had taken us all,
To a place, where we knew, we could all safely fall.
A sure place of comfort, solace and peace,
Where happiness, yes, overcame us with ease.
So, friends, I do hope that you all too enjoyed,
A Christmas seen through the eyes of a boy,
Or a girl for whom the night was too much,
To bring you remembrance of when it was such
A treat to be young, with thoughts that were full
Of a jolly old fellow, with a sleigh he would pull,
Full of the things that would thrill and delight,
And make you forget about sleep in the night.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas



For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6
May the peace and love of the Savior envelop each of you and
your loved ones this Christmas season and always.





Saturday, December 22, 2007

Have You Seen These?

The remarkable Heather Bailey has done it again!
Do you see those little green things in my hair?
Well, they're Heather's Trash Ties and I love them! Just twist up your hair (I do mine wet),
and twist in a Trash Tie and Voila!! Instant cute hair.


I have almost always had short hair. But for some reason, this year I decided to let it grow. What a good idea, since I would have no reason to use these otherwise!
Hop on over to her website and check them out. She makes them herself, packages them and pops them in the post box off to your house. It might take a bit of time to get them, but they are absolutely worth it. You'll feel like a kid again. Trust me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Real Kids

Lest you think they are odd, I am posting a little group shot to show you that my children really do have normal moments. I cannot say the same for the people behind them as they are strangers and I do not know if they are normal or not.



Merry Christmas, everyone!!

All I Want for Christmas

I am feeling a bit like Mary Lennox, from The Secret Garden, lately. Do you remember when she is caught going through her Uncle's study and after a bit of chastising he asks what it is she wants? Her reply is simple. "I would like a bit of earth. And some seeds to plant."
"A bit of earth?" Uncle Archibald is incredulous. Her request is granted and Mary, finally, has been given a reason to experience joy.
Her plot of earth is, of course, her aunt's garden. Walled in and locked away like some precious relic, too painful to be brought out and gazed upon, she brings it back to life, and consequently, her family and herself as well.
For Christmas this year, I have asked for something simple. A plot of earth. And some seeds.
I want a garden and the only way I will get one is if Santa himself brings it to me.
Our front yard is the only location where we get enough sunlight to grow things. Would you not be breathless if you drove by and saw raised beds, lovingly tended, burgeoning with beautiful fruits and vegetables growing in it? I would.
I have been perusing the Seed Savers catalog online and have found some extraordinary heirloom plants that I just know would be extraordinarily happy at my house.

Like these Vermont Cranberry Beans:

Or these beautiful Flageolet Beans:

Or these incredibly colored Dragon Carrots:



Or these Painted Lady Runner Beans:

I would be as happy as a pig in mud if I could have these growing in my little potager.

And so, my dear husband, to answer the inevitable question, "What would you like for Christmas?", my answer is simple; "A garden."

I am really very easy to please.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why?

File this under the Things-Your-Children-Do-That-Make-You-Want-To-Tell-People-They-Are-Not-Yours tab.
In a moment of idiocy, my son agreed to let his roommate cut his hair in any style he wanted, in exchange for said roommate's having to wear a bowl cut (like Moe from the Three Stooges) for a week.
So here is my handsome son, looking a bit like the Mayor of Munchkinland, on a bad day.
(Has it clicked in anyone's mind yet that we are in the holiday season? The time of year when families gather and take pictures!!)




His beard is cut in the Olde English style. "It looks pretty cool, huh Mom?" Let me not delude you. "No. No it doesn't."


After telling me that he received a few strange looks as he was driving down the highway, I could totally understand. You can't seeing the stripes on the side of his head or the "N" just above his right ear. Yup. I would have looked at him strangely as well. In fact, I probably would have thought that Tim Burton was in town filming yet another movie oddity and that he was an extra (terrestrial). Thank goodness he was heading home last night to correct this incredible misjudgement of hair-raising hair-style.
Wait! How do you correct something so severe? Oh. By shaving your head, that's how. Could it get any worse? Correcting a bowl cut, where there is hair to play with is one thing. But correcting the hair on an escapee from Oz is totally another.


So, I will be taking my children to see their grandmother on Christmas Eve with one of them looking like he recently was released from an interrment camp. Maybe if he dresses in a green suit and yellow tights we can convince her that he is playing "Elf" in a local production.


Honestly. It makes a mother so proud.



Saturday, December 15, 2007

Beauty Everywhere

Last night I did something that reminded me of when I was a little girl sitting in the back of my father's big, black Buick sedan with my brothers.
Each Christmas, we would travel to Merrimac, Mass. to see my grandparents. They lived about an hour and a half north of us, so the ride to and from was filled with different games and such designed to entertain three (at the time) small children.

This is my grandparent's house, on 90 East Main St. It was a magical place, filled
to the brim with all sorts of things to spark a young girl's imagination.

What I did last night immediately transported me back to one particular Christmas trip. I am sure that you are wondering what I could possibly have done to bring back such a distant memory. Right?
Well, to satisfy your curiosity, I will divulge my secret- I squinched my eyes up and turned all of the lights around me into Christmas stars. I'm magic, I tell you.

I will share with you exactly how I discovered my talent. Leaning up against the back seat of the Buick, I could see the stream of traffic travelling with us, as well as the cars going in the opposite direction down the highway.

Having just spent hours looking at Grammy and Grampa's sparkling aluminum tree, with its perfectly aimed color wheel spinning below it, changing it from silver, to red ,to green, to blue, to yellow, I just knew I could make the lights before me change as well. So, I squinched up my eyes and did just that. (In case you are wondering, squinched is the correct term for the action of closing your eyes tightly together, creating the barest sliver of visibility.) The result of squinching is absolutely transforming. In that blur of eyelashes and tears is a sight so beautiful, it takes your breath away.

Floating orbs of light immediately change before your eyes into celestial beings. Bound together, by the fact that you are seeing things a bit cross-eyed, car headlights and tailights look like a twining candy cane. It is a sight of whimsy and hope.

My time sitting in traffic last night was clearly worth every minute. Along Highway 138, Christmas stars twisted along the roadway. Every now and then, one or two would dart away, leaving to become a wish for some small child, I am certain.

The next time you are stuck in traffic, bemoaning the fact that you are not where you want to be when you want to be there, pretend you are seven. Squinch your eyes together. Change your perspective. Create magic.

Friday, December 14, 2007

On the Way to Work

Each morning during the week, I drive my son to work. We sit together in silence as the car glides along the road.
On occasion he will get my attention and we will converse, hands flying while eyes try to stay directed on our path. But for the most part, this is a time of quietness.
Consequently, I have found that I am much more attuned to things that occur on the roadside.
Driving this morning, I noticed two young men walking against traffic, as they should. One tall, one shorter, they travelled together on the bridge that spans over Interstate 75.
With a quick movement, the Tall One stepped up, placing his foot on the cement railing and lifted himself into the air. The Short One, unsure, stepped away from his friend.
Arms stretched outward for the briefest moment, the Tall One stepped back down, exhilerated and breathless. He was caught up with the thrill of danger, that one fleeting second where all sense is cast aside for that feeling of doing something daring and reckless.
His friend just shook his head and kept on walking.
On the way back, I saw them again. The Tall One was articulating his point with arms gesturing through the air and he wore a look of determination and confidence on his face. I am certain that he was describing the feeling of his actions minutes before.
The Short One, arms tucked up inside of his t-shirt, bracing himself against the cold morning, moved alongside, head down and focused on the sliver of pathway he was walking on.
The difference between the two was now striking and obvious. The Tall One, wearing a long shirt and a hoodie, familiar with his surroundings, was prepared for the day. He knew what to expect. And with his knowledge, he was able to approach things differently. His basic needs had been cared for and now adventure lay before him and he was ready to breathe it deeply into his being.
The Short One counted on what had been before. Days of warm mornings and hot afternoons had lulled him into complacency. He just assumed things would be the same and that had caused him to be lacking in the things he needed.
He made me think if the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper. Relying on someone else for his information, he was keenly unprepared for, not only the weather, but for opportunities that may come his way.
Head down, arms tucked in, is no way to face the world.
Each day we are given a chance to be brave, daring, kind, compassionate, loving, charitable, and reliable. These opportunities have been prepared for us, individually, to accomplish.
The question is, will we be prepared for them when they come?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sweet Gifts

Yesterday was a good mail day. I received Christmas cards from old friends, filling me in on what their families have been up to in 2007, and two packages from Bloglandia friends!



First came my package from Susan, which contained the cd I won from her blog! How cool is that? I happen to like all kinds of music and this is really very good. Titled What Hides Inside, it is by Sons of William. On my way home from taking JA to work, I was a rockin' mom. ha ha
I am also taking Susan's recommendation and watching a Christmas movie a day. I don't always get TV rights at night, but during the day, it is mine. All mine. My family has to be in the mood for a movie, but me- I'm game any old time.
Nothing like a good movie to get you in the Christmas spirit. Especially when the weather is seventy-six degrees outside. Hardly conducive to thoughts of caroling, hot cocoa and a cozy fireside.
The second package came from Becky, and contained the most darling bird, hand-crafted no less, with tiny feathers for her wings and tail. It must be a her, because she is so darn cute. Along with the bird was a sweet tag. I have a thing for tags. I just cannot bear to throw away something that was made with care. So, I have a pin in my craft room upon which I hang all the lovely handmade goodness that these tags are.
All of this for letting each of you know about a giveaway she was holding. Boy, am I a slacker. I will forever follow Becky's example and repay in kind for all future giveaways.
Thank you, girls! I am over-the-moon grateful for your thoughtfulness.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snowflake Fun

Being sick sometimes has its advantages. (Because you can't bend over without your head exploding, your family feels sorry for you.)
Feeling well is by far the most desirable goal, but being sick gives you a reason to sit at the computer making "paper" snowflakes here.


I have probably made, oh, I don't know, about forty of them.
The above snowflake is my latest creation. I cannot stop.
The icon is a tiny pair of scissors that travel your chosen path, snipping here, cutting there, swirling about at whim. It takes you back to your childhood.
Now all I need is for my mom to bring me some beef bullion
and saltine crackers and I'll be feeling like my old self again.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ohhhhhhhhhh.

I started putting up Christmas decorations yesterday. I got a late start, but not as late as last year. Halfway through I started not feeling well.
I noticed this when I reached in a container to get the greens from the bottom. I'm pretty sure that when I came up my face was the same color as the branches. Blecch.
Have you ever wondered how many times a day you bend over? I never really thought of it before yesterday. But, around mid-afternoon, each time I did, I was overcome with waves of nausea. Oh, joy. Oh, rapture.
So, I would decorate a bit, then sit down. Decorate. Sit down. Decorate. Sit down. It took me a very long time to get things done. But, done they are.

This is the S Family advent calendar. On each little square is a picture of someone in our family. Hmmm. What's this? I spy me ex-brother-in-law on day 5. I need to change that, methinks.

In the background are pieces of family ephemera- my grandparents wedding invitation; the newspaper article about my dad's enlistment; the hospital card from when I was born; the photograph of our entire family, with my grandparents, at the Merrimac Christmas Parade, which my grandmother started. It is all muted back with ivory-colored tissue paper.

I love this calendar. Each picture brings fond memories right to the forefront, where they should be.

The snowman collection, keeping guard over the living room windows. Beware any who enter here. You will be pelted with hundreds of miniature snowballs.

Don't believe me? Just try it.

A little cozy cottage for the Borrowers that live at my house.

Yes. Yes they do.

Because every kitchen needs gingerbread, in any way, shape or form.


I probably should have moved the pants drying on the back of the chair before I took this. :(



You know, looking at it now, in these pictures, it doesn't look like a lot of work. Drat. I was hoping it would look like I spent days on end, just to make it worth feeling horrible the entire time.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Times Up! And the Winner Is.....

The anticipation has been building throughout my house today. Every minute has seemed like an hour.


But eventually, the magic hour arrived and it was time to draw out ONE lucky name from all of the wonderful women who have left a comment on my blog.


All of your names went into my huge, yellow ware bowl.

*Allow me to interject here.

I am so grateful for all of you who have come by to visit and read this humble, little blog of mine. Thank you. I feel as though I know each and every one of you now. I read your blogs and look on in awe at your talents. And some of you make me laugh so hard I spit hot cocoa out on my computer desk.

Some of you I have had the pleasure of meeting in person. Some of you I have known for years.(Don't tell anyone how wierd I really am!) We are all part of this ever-growing cyber circle of friends. It is the good part of this technological age we live in. It makes the world smaller and more friendly as a result. And each of you are the reason.

But, I am sure that you are itching to know who the lucky girl is. Right?

Lovely Daughter has stirred the bowl, mixed it well, and is reaching in to pick out the lucky recipient of my big, fat Christmas giveaway.


And the winner is..............................................



Whimsey Creations!!
Congratulations, Jill!!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
PS- I love this giveaway business.
Hmmmm. My 100th post should be arriving at the New Year. I feel another one coming along.
Stay tuned...........

What Sound is Reverberating Through My House?



Tick. Tick. Tick. But, at 2:00, it all stops.

Friday, December 7, 2007

How's This for a Jolly Face?


Yup. He will be in the box along with all the other fun treats!
The drawing is tomorrow at 2:00 PM!
The bowl is filling up with names and I cannot wait to draw one out.
Gee, I hope it's YOURS!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

I spent a small portion of the afternoon in the delightful company of Dawn today. We went to the square in McDonough. It is quintessential small town Christmas there at the moment.
In the center of the square is a small park, decorated with larger-than-life ornaments, a dazzling Christmas tree and Santa's sleigh pulled by white twig reindeer. It is magical.
Lunch was superb, as lunch at PJ's always is. We each chose salads, presumably to help our figures. But in my case, it's so I can fill my tummy with yummy party food tomorrow night at the first Christmas gathering of the season.
It was as though we sat and picked up where a conversation left off. Do you ever have that happen? We only met at the beginning of the summer, but it feels like we have been friends forever. I love that kind of connection.
Dawn brought my Pay It Forward gift with her, packaged simply but elegantly, in a brown paper sack decorated with sheet music and bits of greenery. Tucked inside were these:


A sweet rag ball, aged to perfection, sprinkled with glitter and trimmed with a ribbon, tag and tinkling bell; a vintage postcard (a copy- how smart) encased in glass and soldered by Dawn. I have to learn how to do that! And the small charm ornament has the most impish little Kewpies on one side that make me smile. She even stamped the muslin bag the postcard came in. Details, details. Nothing escapes her.
One cannot go to the square without getting in a little shopping, so off to The Plum Tree we went. I can always find something there, and today was no different. Dawn had little sections of an old playpen in her room, and I just know I can do something with them, so home they came with me. Some altered tags and a few vintage Christmas postcards, and I have the makings of some sweet presents.
Thank you, Dawn, for such a sweet gift, good company and a really nice afternoon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I Wonder What This Is?

I can't tell you yet, but it has been made into something very sweet and cozy and is in the Christmas giveaway box.


If you haven't yet left your comment here, you might want to. The drawing will be held on this Saturday, December 8, at 2:00 PM.
The box is filling up with some rather nice things.

Monday, December 3, 2007

And Now For Your Listening Pleasure

My son, Nathan, has formed a band with three friends, called At the End of All Things. He is a self-taught musician. In fact, all of these boys are self-taught. And they are incredible, each and every one.

If you like indie rock, or not, please take a listen. I think you will like what you hear. :) I rather enjoy their music. But then, I may be a bit biased.

A Side Note- I just read that Cindy has posted about her son's music on her lovely blog. Please go click the link to the video of Honorary Plaque, done by his group, Pistolero. It is very good.

A Bit of Small Town Living

My friend, Tina, and her husband have been publishing this e-zine for a while now. Every issue that comes out is a delight for anyone desiring small town life. It doesn't matter of you live, in the big city or out in the country, there is always something here that will strike a familiar chord with you and leave you wanting more. The photographs are amazing. The writing, superb.

I have printed off each copy for my own use, so I can highlight things that I want to remember. Can you tell I just love their work?

Please, take a peek for yourself. You can download the entire magazine here:

http://www.stliving.net/ (The current Winter issue, as well as the previous Autumn issue.)




Does this not make you want to find an unpaved, snowy road and someone sweet to cuddle with?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

It's Your Day


Happy Birthday to my sweet daughter, who turned 19 today.
(Since she is incognito, I thought I would post this picture. She is wearing the 3-D glasses from the Polar Express 4-D Extravaganza at Stone Mountain. Very attractive, no? :)
I wish you all of the lovely things that life offers to you, little one, and then some.