Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Joy to the World

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
********
Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
********
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
********
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Monday, December 24, 2007

O Holy Night

O Holy Night
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
********
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
********
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Silent Night

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Quiz

Check this out!

I suck at it, by the way.

Finished in the Nick of Time

I finally finished my Christmas cards two evenings ago. If it weren't for Prince Charming's willingness to address envelopes (!!!), I probably wouldn't have finished when I did.

Here is the insert:




Isn't that a cute picture of the girls?

Those trees were cut from the same paper that is pasted to the flap of the card.





And here is the fully-assembled, finished product:




I used up every single piece of shiny red paper I owned!

It's a slight variation on the original; I realized I didn't have enough jewels for the 30+ cards I had to make.





Of course, now that I'm done, we just heard from a friend of ours who has finally given us his address. Do I have an extra card for him? No!!!

Guess what I'll be doing this afternoon: designing another card, since I don't have any more red paper.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tour of Homes

Christmas Tour of Homes

So, I'm a little late getting on board with this, but we are once again sick in our house. That and the week before Christmas is always hectic.

Never fear, however; I am participating at last!

I don't do much decorating for Christmas. 1. We are never home; we always go visit family on the West side. 2. I don't have many decorations. I just haven't seen the necessity of spending a lot of money on them.

Here is what little I do have:



These are our stockings on the red fireplace wall. Yes, the tree stocking holder is a little out of place, but the one with the angel on it had a broken wing.








This is my favorite Christmas decoration! It's my creche from Willow Tree. And yes, it is the entire set!








I love this tree. It also happens to be a kid favorite. They seem to think picking the berries off is loads of fun. My great-grandma made the doily.








These are my snowflake candle holders. They're beautiful when lit!








My mom made this. It's supposed to hang on the wall, but I just drape it on the coffee table.




What I really own a lot of are ornaments. My mom makes a point of giving everyone an ornament every year. The ornaments represent something important or special that happened to that person that year. These are some of my special ornaments (I accidentally forgot to put up any of my husband's this year; then he put the boxes away before I remembered):




This is my genuine pewter Piper Piping ornament. In 8th grade, I had the female lead in the play "The Pied Piper of Hamlin."









This is my silver Family ornament. I got it the Christmas after Cinderella was born.











This is a Viking bear. I got this my freshman year in college; we were the Vikings.










This is my Angel Dog. I got this the year our family dog died.









My mom made this ornament. I got it the Christmas after Prince Charming and I got married. Part of it is made from an unused wedding invitation.






These are some of my more random ornaments:





A pickle, because, apparently, every tree needs a pickle.











And a spider.










This is the creme de la creme of my Christmas ornaments. It's a genuine, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted, Cinderella original. And it's been displayed with prominence front and center.





Enjoy!

Click the banner above for more decked halls.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--Survival of the Fittest


Even with all the snow and frost, this little guy just isn't giving up!

For more pictures, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

O Come, Emmanuel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel


O come, thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of of hell thy people save
And give them vict'ry o'er the grave

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

O come, O Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
And drive away the shaves of night
And pierce the clouds and bring us light

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai's height
In ancient times did'st give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday Cheer Photo Contest

Photo Contest at writefromkaren.com

I've already posted about two of my favorite Christmas memories here and here, but I don't have any pictures of them.

This picture, however, is a classic Cinderella moment:



The stockings are emptied, the toys are all played with. So, what is a two-year-old supposed to do? Paint Daddy's toenails with a paint brush, of course!

The contest ends at 4:00pm CST tonight, and voting begins at 5:00pm CST tonight, through 8:00pm CST on the 17th. The winner gets a $25 Mastercard gift card. So, please, please, please stop by Write From Karen and vote me me.

Pretty please?

Please vote for me at writefromkaren.com

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Cinderella likes to sing. And make up her own songs.

Yesterday, she was pretending to be Mary. This is the song she sang about it. She doesn't stay on topic for very long, though.

video

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Second Favorite Christmas Memory

My sister dredged up another Christmas memory for me. This is one that we share.

Every Christmas Eve when we were younger (by younger, I mean age 18 and under), my sister and I would gather up several board games and stash them in one of our bedrooms (we alternated every year). We knew at least one of us would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, and, inevitably, wake the other one up.

In the later years, it was always me waking my sister up.

I'm older. By two years.

Pathetic!

In all fairness, this was always agreed upon ahead of time. There was very little complaining that one of us my sister was woken up early.

We would congregate in the chosen room, huddled under blankets, door closed, bedside lamp lit, playing games until a reasonable hour (7:00, 8:00 in later years) to wake our parents up.

Oh sure, there were a couple of surreptitious trips out to the living room to attempt to make out the dark, blurry shapes next to the stockings.

It never really worked.

We always thought we were so quiet, but apparently my parents didn't sleep too well Christmas morning, either. One of them would always ask us later who was sneaking around the living room.

Whoops!

Anyway, some Christmas mornings my sister and I would be playing games for close to 4 hours.

As we got older, we'd usually head out to watch television after an hour or so of games, but not every year.

To this day, I still treasure that time with my sister. We didn't always get along. We've never been that close. We're sisters first, friends second.

I think we were sometimes too much alike.

I didn't like this growing up.

Now, I wish it was different.

Regardless, I will always remember the times we had together in the early hours of those long-gone Christmas mornings; the sisterly camaraderie shared while attempting to deceive our parents.

And trying to play board games without making a peep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--Flying a Balloon


For more pictures, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

My Favorite Christmas Memory

My favorite Christmas memory happened last Christmas Eve.

I suppose that one could argue that since said memory occurred last year instead of further into the recesses of my subconscious mind, this is my most recent Christmas memory, rather than my favorite.

Believe me; it's my favorite.

Oh, sure, I remember getting a bike for Christmas one year, a Cabbage Patch Kid with all the trimmings another year, a boom box yet another year, a fiance.

This memory is still my favorite.

I was 4 months pregnant with Sleeping Beauty; Cinderella was 2 1/2 and potty trained.

We were visiting my family in Seattle, and dressed in our Christmas best ("best" is relative when you're 4 months pregnant and morning sickness has just passed).

One of my favorite things to do when we visit my family is to go to the church I grew up in. I grew up Catholic, and sometimes, my spirit just craves the ordered worship of the liturgy. It's beautiful and holy. I still remember the prayers and creeds, and my spirit cries out to God in a way that it doesn't do in other churches. I don't know what it is, but I love it. Every once in awhile.

Anyway, so like the good ex-Catholic that I am, we all went to mass: my parents, myself, Prince Charming, and Cinderella.

We went to the children's service, earlier in the evening, so we could head out to see my mom's family afterwards (9:00 mass is too late for a 2-year-old; trust me). The church was packed with young families.

The priest called the children forward so they could sit on the floor, below the altar, and watch and Christmas pageant being enacted. We allowed Cinderella to go forward by herself.

That was our fatal mistake.

The pageant ended, and the children trooped back to their parents. All the children except Cinderella.

She didn't come back.

I was sitting on the aisle, so I peered around the pew in front of me to see where she was, thinking she perhaps just got lost on her way back to us.

Oh no. Nothing with Cinderella could have been that simple.

While I began to panic, Prince Charming leaned over and pointed.

There she was. Standing at the very front of the church, on the bottom stair (which is 4-5 feet deep; a good platform) dancing to the Christmas carol the choir had begun singing.

Dancing. In front of the whole church.

The priest was still standing there, watching her with a huge grin on his face.

She wasn't coming back to us; she was still dancing.

In all fairness, this was probably her dream come true: a full audience with its entire attention fixated on her.

I, of course, had to be the one to ruin it.

I headed on up the aisle to retrieve my daughter; I grabbed her arm, and SHE RAN AWAY FROM ME!!!

ME!!! Her mama! Her 4-months-pregnant mama!!

I eventually snagged her, and carried her back to our seats. She, naturally, was kicking and fussing so much I had to carry her stretched out across my arms and pregnant belly. To top it all off, her pretty Tinkerbell underwear was exposed to the entire congregation.

Everyone was laughing.

The priest made some off-hand comment that I didn't hear through my total and utter embarrassment, and everyone laughed again.

Fortunately, mass was almost over at this point, but Cinderella was done. She'd had her moment in the spotlight, and she wanted nothing more to do with church for the evening.

Ahh, blessed memories! You gotta love 'em!

Children, too. You gotta love children, too.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Pride Cometh Before the Fall

I need to step back and explain something for a minute.

If you remember, I wrote about my daughters' Christmas gifts, and how I didn't spend very much money on them.

Before I wrote that post, I was feeling proud of myself, but it wasn't that big of a deal to me. We're on a tight budget, so I did my best, shopping-wise, to get as much as I could for as little as possible.

And I did. I really did.

However, now I'm beginning to feel too much pride in myself; I didn't want to share how I managed to buy what I bought; I began to want to keep it all to myself and keep everyone guessing.

Because the truth of the matter is I didn't do anything spectacular. I didn't hit any phenomenal sales; I didn't get any great bargains.

I began to want everyone to think that I did. My pride was beginning to cause me to stumble.

So, let me confess to you. Here is how I spent $20 on gifts (plus the $20 on shipping and tax):

Sleeping Beauty
When Sleeping Beauty was born, we didn't need anything for her; not one single thing. So, everyone gave us gift cards and cash. We saved them until we found something to spend them on.

Enter Christmas.

With one gift card, we got her 5 cute pieces of 18-24 mo. clothing at Old Navy. Each piece was on sale, costing around $5 each.

With another gift card, we got her a set of pattern blocks from Toys R Us. They're too old for her now, but she'll grow into them.

Since I prefer Pampers diapers above other brands (Kirkland from Costco isn't bad, though), I used the rewards program at Pampers.com to earn a Lego shape sorter. It wasn't my first choice, but the bat and ball set I wanted for Cinderella was out of stock by the time I redeemed my points.

Cinderella
Cinderella was even easier. I had already won this bracelet from Vienna's Treasures through Bloggy Giveaways (isn't it darling?).

We used another of Sleeping Beauty's Toys R Us gift cards to buy a different set of pattern blocks for Cinderella. (Since the Pampers redemption did pan out the way I planned, I justified using Sleeping Beauty's gift card on her sister.)

The last item we got for Cinderella was a doctor's kit. This is the only item we actually spent money on.


That's my confession to you. I feel a whole lot better now. No more pride, no chance of falling.

For now.

I've got other issues to deal with, I'm sure.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Finally!

I have been waiting impatiently all week for Marie to get her cards (are the pictures not working again?) in the mail. I wanted to post some pictures of what I made, but I didn't want to spoil the surprise for her.

Finally, they have arrived!

And here are a few of my favorites:





















































































Again, the picture quality isn't that great. I could really use a scanner!

A couple of the cards are variations of cards I have designed before, but most of them I really and truly designed just for Marie.

Sometime after the New Year, Rocks in my Dryer will be hosting another giveaway carnival. Stay tuned, because I made double of everything I made for Marie (with some slight variations), and I will be giving away 20 more cards, including the ones pictured here.

So, what do you think?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Photo Meme, Revised

I reloaded the pictures for my photo meme, if anyone is still interested in viewing them.

Stupid Blogger.

Do You Mind If I Brag for a Minute?

Thank you.

I just have to brag about this. I can't contain myself any longer.

I got the 2 girls over $100 worth of gifts for Christmas this year, and I only spent $40.

They're each getting 3 very nice presents.

Technically, $20 was for shipping; so, in reality, I only spend $20 on Christmas presents.

Thank you! Thank you!

My genius and frugality amaze even me sometimes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

F.Y.I.

If you need to order anything for Christmas, check out Amazon.

I ordered a car seat (a booster for when she outgrows her baby seat) for Sleeping Beauty Saturday night, and received it via UPS yesterday afternoon.

It took them 4 days total to process my order, ship it, and deliver it.

WOW!!!

Just so you know...

Wordless Wednesday--Rice Cereal


"I know it's good for me, but BLECH!"

**********
For more Wordless Wednesday pictures, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

WFMW--What Do I Fix?


When in a pinch for dinner, we have a few standbys in our house: pasta and canned sauce, breakfast, or couscous.

Yes, couscous.

If you haven't tried it, it's delicious!

It's a very small, very find pasta, traditionally eaten in the Middle East and North Africa.

You can buy it in bulk, or buy it in boxes that come complete with their own spice packets. Those are my favorite because they cook so quickly (boil water, add couscous, wait 5 minutes, eat!).

So, here is my What Do I Fix recipe for couscous:


Couscous

*1 package couscous
*chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, tomatoes, peppers, green onion, sugar snap peas, anything that can steam quickly and tastes good al dente)
*if desired, chopped fruit (apples, dried fruit, raisins)
*cooked chicken, cubed
*marinade of choice

1. Cook chicken in large pan on stove, using equal parts marinade and water; drain completely.
2. Cook couscous according to directions on package.
3. Once done, add chopped vegetables and/or chopped fruit to pan after couscous is done absorbing the cooking liquid, and replace the lid to allow vegetables and fruit to steam for a few minutes.
3. Add cooked chicken and mix everything together.


Voila! A simple, healthy, meal ready to eat in 10 minutes.
**********

For more dinner ideas, check out Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Commentary

So, yes: the tree is a fake one.

Ever since Prince Charming and I got married, we've had a hand-me-down, artificial tree. Our first one was an ancient tree my parents gave to us after they bought a new one.

We finally got rid of it last year.

And bought a real tree.

It was heavenly! Perfectly symmetrical, aromatic, thick, real, green.

Ahhh! Bliss.

We killed it.

It was an accident! We ended up putting it too close to the heat register. I watered it constantly, but the heat dried it up.

This year, since we're on a tight budget, we have another hand-me-down, artificial tree.

Which we are very grateful for (thanks, Mom-in-law!).

It's just not real.

It's one of those unavoidable let-downs. I have to keep telling myself, "It's for the girls. It's for the girls."

And it is: it's for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.

And that makes it okay.
**********

I love our stockings! I got the first two from Kmart, when we still had a Kmart. They're from the Martha Stewart collection, and our tree skirt coordinates with them.

The other two stockings are from (shudder!) Walmart (known as Devil-mart in our house). We try to avoid Walmart as much as possible, but when there are very few shopping choices in your town, it is sometimes unavoidable.

It was nearly impossible to find stockings that coordinated with our original ones, but these two do a fairy decent job of it.
**********

Are you drooling over the creche yet?

It is the Willow Tree set from Demdaco.

Oh, yes; it is!

The entire set!

And it's all mine!

My mom bought me all of the pieces over three Christmases, until it was complete.

I LOVE IT!!!!

If I had chosen a nativity set for myself, it would have been this one.

I think it captures the essence of Jesus' birth very beautifully.

Except the presence of the Wise Men while Jesus was a baby; I'm not so sure that's how it was.

Oh well. It's still beautiful!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Spirit

The tree is up.


The stockings are hung.


The creche is assembled.


The presents are wrapped and under the tree, or are on order.


I'll have commentary tomorrow. Right now, I'm just enjoying the Christmas spirit that is floating through my house.

That and Sleeping Beauty needs a nap.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Sunday Scrappin'

Sunday Scrappin’

I don't really scrapbook much, but I did do something crafty this week.

My pastor emailed everyone earlier in the week and asked if anyone crafty was willing to make the Advent wreath for church this weekend.

I pretend to be crafty, so I said I'd do it, then completely FREAKED OUT as to how I was going to make a wreath.

As I said before, I pretend to be crafty; I can make cards, and I can complete a semi-decent scrapbook page every once in awhile, but I'm really not all that crafty.

Anyway, I did it, and I am surprisingly pleased with how it turned out:





























No, it's not a scrapping project, but it was a project. No, I did not actually wreath the greenery (it was store-bought). And no, there are no candles in it; they were at church.

Yes, that is my kitchen counter. It's where I do most, if not all, of my projects. I used to have a crafting studio/spare bedroom, but Cinderella moved in there two summers ago, so my stuff has been relegated to the hallway closet, which is better than sitting on the floor of my bedroom, where it all used to be.

My goal for this week is to finish my Christmas cards. I have a mock-up done, but I haven't designed the insert yet:








Bad picture, cute card!










What do think? Does it need anything else, besides the insert? It's a super easy card, so I'm not sure I want to do anything else, but I would like input from people.
**********

Sometime this week I'll post pictures of some of my favorite cards I made for Marie. I FINALLY got off my butt braved the snow and got them shipped!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Question...

Can the blogdom at large see my pictures on the photo meme post? I can't see them, and I'm wondering if it's just my computer, or if Blogger vomited them off my post...again.

Photo Meme

So, my statemate, Krista, tagged me for this photo meme. I love a good meme, and this one is quite a lot of fun.

All you have to do is type the following categories into Google image search and paste the first picture that comes up, assuming the picture is appropriate, of course.

Here are mine:

Age at my next birthday:




Sad. Sad. Sad.





Place I'd like to travel:





We thought about going here (it's Greece) for our honeymoon, but traveling in Europe in August? I don't think so!




Favorite place:



This is where we really went for our honeymoon: St. John, USVA. Sigh...Gorgeous! Although, it was 85 degrees with near 100% humidity, and no rain. Yuck!



Favorite object:




My Haflinger slippers. The only slippers I'll wear! And no, I did not pay that much for them.





Favorite food:








with








Favorite color:





This changes from day to day, but lately it's been purple.





Nickname:


My current nickname from my in-laws is slightly different from the common nickname for my real name. It's not my favorite nickname, but there aren't many choices for my name. I'm not telling it.



Birthplace:




Home, sweet home!




So, who should I tag this time?

Because she needs to get blogging: Sydney.
Because she's so willing to play along: Twinmommy.
Because I think she'll get a kick out of this one: Beast Mom.
Because I haven't tagged them before: Wendy and Marie.

Tag! You're it!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baby Food and Baby Faces

When Cinderella first started eating baby food, we gave her orange veggies.

You know, squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

I remember reading somewhere that starting babies on veggies before fruits is a good idea. Since fruits are sweeter, babies will be less likely to eat veggies after tasting fruits, or so the author's philosophy went.

Anyway, I bought it, and Cinderella loved her veggies.

She'd see me open that package of whatever orange vegetable was for dinner that night, and she would literally squirm with excitement.

Not that she didn't also love her fruits.

She just loved food in general, but especially her orange veggies.

So, priding myself that I did it correctly with the first baby (and the second baby would just naturally follow suit), I assumed that when I first started feeding Sleeping Beauty her orange veggies, she would bow down and thank me, her wonderful Mama, for the goodness that is orange veggies.

How wrong I was!

To Sleeping Beauty, squash is bearable; carrots do not sit well AT ALL; sweet potatoes are mildly palatable.

No excitement from Sleeping Beauty at all. Nothing!

And no thanks for me.

I've even tried to alternate bananas with an orange veggie; she's too smart for that trick. And though she thinks bananas are wonderful, no baby can live on bananas alone and not get backed up really quickly.

And a backed up baby is no fun for anyone in the house.

Since her iron levels are low, and she detests rice cereal, I finally caved in, tossed the orange veggies aside, and fed her pears mixed with rice cereal for dinner last night.

I had barely brought the spoon to her lips (not into her mouth or on her tongue, mind you; just to her lips) when Sleeping Beauty screwed up her face in disgust and looked at me with horror in her eyes.

"A white veggie?" she seemed to accuse. "You really think I'm going to eat this crap?"

I thought to myself, Yes, honey-babe; you are going to eat this crap wholesome goodness. (Baby food pears are good stuff!)

So, she plucked up her courage and deigned to open her mouth for me to actually place the pears and cereal on her tongue (like she really had any choice in the matter; I just decided to play along).

And surprise, surprise! She liked it! She actually liked it!

Duh, I thought; of course you liked it. It's pears; it's sweet; it's not an orange veggie.

Whatever works. As long as she eats her iron-fortified rice cereal, I'm happy.

The Snow Hath Come, Again

It snowed AGAIN last night!

Woo hoo!

This time we got about an inch, with another possible inch coming down today.

Woo hoo!

I LOVE snow! I love it even more now that I'm not working and don't have to drive 25 miles in it down roads that haven't been plowed, nor ever will be.

Snow is simply amazing! It's like we went from this:








To this:









Well, minus the gigantic sand dunes (although, we do have real sand dunes out here, down by where I live) and the pine trees.

Well, and the mountain, for that matter. On a very clear day we can see Mount Rainier from here, but I digress.

Too bad the snow is so icy that all you can do with it is compact it into an ice cube.

Doesn't matter to Cinderella, though. As long as she can eat it, she could care less what kind of snow it is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--Balloon Love


I know it was taken 2 weeks ago, but I love this picture of Sleeping Beauty.

**********
Check out more photos here.