What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A bit of cinnamon


 The year she was born, I wrapped her loosely in pink and went straight from hospital bed to Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws house.  Some thirty people stood shocked as I came in- wondering how less than 24 hours after giving birth I was able to go 'visiting'.

It was the joy that did it.

It was warm that Thanksgiving and I distinctly remember people talking about sitting outside- just like the pilgrims.  Blessings fell down on her head that day, her first day, from all her many admirers.

This birthday, quite unlike her first, blessings fall from snowflakes instead of mouths but they cover her nonetheless.

No school on birthdays in this household!  Adele' is spending her day with her new doll from Grandma and Grandpa and counting down the minutes until Papa comes home and she gets her presents from us and gets to eat cake.  And biscuits and gravy.  And STRAWBERRIES ON THE SIDE.  (Her birthday wish.)

As for me, I am making a quadruple batch of cinnamon and vanilla bean ice cream to bring with us to the Thanksgiving festivities, among other things.  I made a batch last week and about died of goodness.  I immediately thought how amazing it would be cozied up to a piece of pumpkin pie on a dish and new it was just the thing I ought to bring.  (A good way to use up the ever present supply of jersey milk around here too!)

My fingers smell like vanilla and the kitchen smells of cinnamon while the snow blankets the earth outside our windows.

A good way to spend a birthday, methinks.

Cake decorating is next on the docket.

As for the yarn along~ I finished a vanilla version of the calm cowl a few weeks ago using the very last of the lamb hat and snowdrop neckwarmer.  I'll be sad to have that luxurious yarn all used up.  It was lovely to work with.  I didn't make it as large as the pattern suggested because I had only remnants left to work with- so it is missing some bulk...but I like it anyway.  I have a few scarves on the needles and hook this week- two men in my life (both in their 90's) need a bit of warmth from me this year and I am hoping to deliver.

I've been reading plenty of stories to children but haven't had the opportunity to read any books for myself this week.  I got a good one from the library though- that I hope to crack open soon.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a World War II historical novel recommended by a lady in my knitting group.  I love reading about that era, so I look forward to the time when I can crack that book open- whenever that time happens.

Hope you all are warm and snug today!  And a happy, happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Bit of Lovely (and a Giveaway!)

A bit of lovely to watch:

I came across Pentatonix last year around this time- with their rendition of Little Drummer Boy and rediscovered them today singing one of my most favorite Christmas songs of all time.  Boy, do they know how to make music.  I love watching the beat guy in particular.  He does things with his mouth that I didn't think were possible.  (That sounded weird.)  

WARNING: when it comes to Pentatonix, once you start listening you may find yourself searching youtube for all their songs.  Just so you know.  I have decided that maybe I *need* their new Christmas album That's Christmas To Me.  

I am getting more in the Christmas spirit by the day...that's for sure.  But before I can get into the Christmas spirit fully, I have to get into the birthday spirit. Adele' is my November baby and her birthday is the day before Thanksgiving.  Then after that, I have to get in the Thanksgiving spirit.  And then- WATCH OUT!  Nothing will be able to hold me back then.


This week is going to be a busy one.

The weather is warming up for just a few days making the last gardeny things that I never got to when the chill popped down to nearly single digits once again possible.  
Adele's birthday.
Knitting class.
Black Friday otherwise known as HURRAH!  MATT'S OFF!

Off the top of my head...a few things that have to get done this week:

  • plant garlic!  I almost missed my window!
  • cover strawberries with hay...or should I say weeds?
  • clear garden(s)...I am so unmotivated to do this.  
  • plant grapes I hope it isn't too late.
  • replant Rhodo.  We had to move my rhododendron and the "moving" for Matt meant plopping the whole rootball on top of a bunch of perennials in my flower circle.  (In all fairness- he was a wee bit busy with better things than to dig a hole and plant it.)  And there it has stayed ever since.  I didn't even notice it until last weekend- it kind of camoflaged right into the dead and spindly stalks of perennials   If it is going to survive I have to put it SOMEWHERE.  (I have no idea where.)
  • can beets (and freeze greens)
  • bake Adele' a cake. (she's drawn me the details to follow.)
  • wrap birthday presents (once I figure out what they will be.)
  • make food for Thanksgiving (though we are not hosting so that shouldn't be too big a deal won't be a big deal)
  • make a stinkin' Christmas list for goodness' sake.  (I've only been meaning to do this for over a month now.)
  • bake communion bread (so glad the oven started working again after two days of....well, NOT working.  At all)
  • Hang mountains of laundry on lines during these two days of fair weather.  (A broken dryer isn't too big a deal in the summer.  It is a far bigger deal these days.)
  • Make cheese (when is this ever NOT on my list?)
Yep- plenty to keep me busy.   But before I get DOING- I have a wee little surprise for you!

A bit of lovely to WIN!

A GIVEAWAY!  Just in time for Thanksgiving...a little thanks GIVING.  (get it?)

I have teamed up with my friend and Independent Consultant Leah Terry to give one lucky reader a Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip!  (I've told you how much I love them before.)

The winner may choose one-flexi-clip of their choice, up to a $16.00 value.  Check them out!  Such a great selection!   And before you choose, check out the special video they have to help you determine what size and style would best suit you and your hair type.

This Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

The winner will be announced on December 1st!

A little birdie tells me that the folks at Lilla Rose are planning a pretty amazing Black Friday special but the details won't go live until 3am on Black Friday...so check back and see just what goodies are in store!

If you have stocking stuffers planned or a few girls to glam for the holidays~ keep in mind that:

 If you are BRAND NEW to Lilla Rose and you order 3 items, you will get an additional item (up to $16 value) for free. Do not order the free one on your order. Leah will order that for you. You may contact her at terrytribe@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

winter harvest

It was 10 degrees last night.  Absolutely freezing.  And that has been pretty standard for the last week.

Before it went to single digits, I wanted to clear the garden of as many greens as I could.  I knew the plants left in the garden are cold-tolerant and hearty...but HOW cold tolerant and HOW hearty was the question.

  I brought in laundry baskets full of collards and swiss chard.  Bowls and bowls of kale.  An old enamel baby bathtub full of beets.  A vase full of Italian leaf parsley.  And I brought in the half-frozen rosemary to overwinter in the living room.

Judah, rainbow boy, helped me in between beginning his own soggy squash, flowered broccoli and half-rotten watermelon garden.  Next year when melons, squash and broccoli appear in between the cucumbers and tomatoes, I'll remember the boy who braved the cold to be with me.

In the meantime- the swiss chard, kale and collards seem unaffected by the cold.  This may not be the last harvest after all.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Visit with Opa


Adele', Judah and I were able to tag along with my mom and my sister (and a few of the children) to go and visit my Opa (grandfather) last weekend.  With winter weather fast approaching, I didn't want to miss the opportunity while I had it.

I am so glad I did!

We stopped first to visit with my Aunt Jan, who let me borrow some old photographs of my Oma and Opa when they were young to make copies of for myself.  I brought them in when we went to see Opa and, as we looked through them, I saw a glimpse or two of the old Opa.

You see, my Opa has Alzheimer's.  He does not remember me at all (and sometimes, at his best, mistakes me for my mother-his daughter) nor does he remember where he is...who he is with, that Oma has died, what he just said and so on.  The result is a vague circular discussion that seems to go round and round unless you some how stop or divert it.  He is very gentlemanly about it all, for the most part.  He says things like "You look like a nice girl."  and "I say, m'lady, why do you not visit me more often?"  He is good at chatting to a person without actually admitting that he does not remember their name or how they fit into his story.  What he does not realize is that he often says the same thing that he said just a sentence before.  Behind his eyes is an emptiness that I despise.  I remember when his eyes were full of life, of joy, of stories...of all the things that made him HIM.

When those old photographs were brought out, though, a sparkle of joy was kindled again.  He did not remember all the people in the photographs but, for a moment, he was out of that carousel of words that Alzheimer's has forced him to ride round and round.  He was there.  And those pictures- they reawakened a part of him, deep within, and he then began talking about the war!  He began to relate stories of himself hiding Jews in the Underground during the Dutch Resistance.  He spoke of a long engagement to Oma because they could not be married lest she be hurt by association if he were discovered to be helping the Jews.  He recalled living in a church organ to escape with his life from the Germans.  (All quite true stories, by the way.)

And for a moment...a beautiful moment... that was my Opa again.  His eyes were full.  His smile real. His words were memories instead of observations.  It was only a brief glimpse- only a few minutes worth- but I have longed for those minutes for a very long time.

Well worth the wait.

Review: Snake Oil Party Potion

The last review of the year!  Wa-HOO!  And guess what?  You don't need to be a homeschooler to enjoy it!   Today's review is for all the game-lovers out there...you know who you are.   And just in time for maybe a little Christmas gift giving or post-Thanksgiving Dinner giggles?!  I think so.

I present to you, from Out of the Box Games, the Snake Oil Party Potion game!!!  (cheers!  hurrahs!  oooh's and aaahhh's!)  This game is a version of the original Snake Oil game with cards that are geared to a younger audience.  The original Snake Oil game is for age 10+ and the Snake Oil Party Potion (the one I was given an opportunity to review) is for ages 8+ though I can attest, with a bit of help Adele' (at 6 years old) was able to make some convincing sells!

The object of the game is to create products that your customer can't live without by combining two words out of your hand of cards.  Some of the combinations are really easy, some are more difficult, many of them are just plain CRAZY.   Try selling a Gorilla Potty, my friends.   Or a set of fur pants.  Or a satellite parachute.

One person becomes the customer and they adopt the persona from one of the "customer" cards...things like, pop star, artist, robot and snowman.  All other players are given six word cards and must "pitch" their products to the customer and the customer then chooses which product they like best.  The "snake oil salesman" who pitched the winning product gets the customer card and it goes round and round again.  At the end, whoever has the most customer cards is the winner of the whole game!

Snake Oil Party Potion can help children with vocabulary and public speaking skills. It encourages creative thinking and problem solving. It can coax shy people to get out of the box (get it?).  It is certainly imaginative and requires some quick thinking and the practice of persuasion.  (Out of the Box Games even has a downloadable pdf about how to use it in the classroom.)  But even without all those perfectly good justifications~ it's a riot!  And that is enough.  Toy companies understand this which is why it is not surprising that Snake Oil Party Potion has earned itself several awards, including one from Dr. Toy, National Association for Gifted Children, Major Fun! Keeper,  The Toy Man, and Mensa Select.

It is a 3-6 player game but they have an alternate way to play with large groups where an 'audience' is the customer and they choose their favorite product by cheering the loudest.  I could totally see this being played with all the extended family after Thanksgiving dinner or within the Christmas festivities!

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