Our Christmas week was very pleasant and to top it all off . . . we got enough snow on Christmas Eve to make it a white Christmas! Monday, the 23rd, we spent the morning making cookies - Spritz cookies, which are my very, very favorite! Then we all went to the Mount Vernon movie theatre and saw The Hobbit. Our second viewing and Dad's first! It was better than ever! But more about The Hobbit later. ;o) Then we rushed home for a quick dinner and then rushed down to Church for the Christmas Eve service. (They do their candlelight and cookie service on the 23rd, so that everyone can have Christmas Eve to spend with their families.) It was very nice and fun all around!
Christmas Eve we wrapped presents and finished getting the house ready, etc. In the night it began snowing! Yay! Christmas dawned and we all were a bit tired. But excited! Actually, Sis and I had been dying to give Mom her presents since we finished them! But we all got dressed and had breakfast. Mom and Sarah put everything under the tree while Dad and I cleaned up and got coffee made, which we took upstairs with us.
We had loads of fun and took our time so that we could all enjoy everybody's gifts. Gramma Gail sent us two super-fun surprises! A box with a flowering tea set and a set of different kinds of salt from around the world! Sis and I had flowering tea once - many years ago - at Mrs. Keultjes'. It was so cool! This set has six different kinds and one is called "Dragon Lily", so we are going to save it until March when The Hobbit comes out on DVD! Flowering tea is where the tea leaves and flower petals are sewn together into little pellets and you drop it into a glass tea pot and in about five minutes, the pellet opens up into a beautiful flower. I finally got to give Sis her sketchbook, although it does still have spaces to fill up. But I think that we were most excited about giving Mom her Poirot presents! We made her little dolls of Poirot and "Pat" from Triangle at Rhodes, which is her favorite short episode. Pat came out so adorable, with her souvenirs and her red hair! I also painted Poirot on a glass mug for her and made a matching wool felt coaster that says "I'd rather be watching . . . POIROT". Embroidered the same on a pillowcase for her to use in the backroom when watching movies! Sis and I were particularly thrilled, as it was a secret all our own and Mom could never guess what we were doing!
Mom gave us Hobbit souvenir money and Sis and I had fun in the evening shopping online for our Hobbit souvenirs! We each got a letter opener, a replica key to Erebor, a key and map keychain, and I got a Legolas and Tauriel poster. When they all arrive, I'll have to take a photo. Sis and I are really enjoying The Hobbit!
Day after Christmas, the Keultjeses came for the annual Christmas dinner. This time we didn't do a Cuban meal and we did a soup buffet instead. That was really fun, as it was much more laid back and allowed more time for visiting! It was a really fun evening! Both of the girls had come home for Christmas, so everybody was there!
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 9:5-7
I've posted a blog entry for Deanna Durbin's birthday for so long, that I thought I would do one this year as well. Today would have been her 92 birthday. I have spent the months since the news of her death was released collecting articles for my numerous Deanna scrapbooks. Actually had friends in four different states looking in newspapers nation-wide! Although no longer with us, her beautiful music can still be enjoyed and continues to bring a smile as I listen to her recordings in the kitchen!
October began with a fabulous visit from Gramma Gail! She drove up from Florida for a Lutheran conference in Cleveland, but stopped for a visit over the weekend with us. She arrived Thursday night and stayed until Monday noon. We had fabulous visiting times at home, just catching up on news and conversation. Gramma brought up one of her old CPUs, as she knew that Mom's comp had died in July. What a fun present! It turned out to be newer and bigger than mine, so in the end, we played musical computers and I spent a lot of time over the weekend cleaning, swapping hardware, hooking up, and installing. ;o) Loads of fun! We upgraded Windows, so now all three of us run on Windows 7, which is taking a bit of getting-used-to, but a much smoother transition than I thought.
On the Saturday, Mom, Gramma, Sis and I drove up to Amish Country for a fun outing. Quite an experience, as we never go up there on a weekend, and now we all remember why! The crowds! Oh, my . . . But, it was very fun and Gramma loved it. We went to Lehman's (the big non-electric/gift store hardware) and then to the two cheese factories - Heini's and Guggisberg. The crowds at Heini's to taste cheese was over twenty minutes and stretched across the entire store! It was raining buckets the entire time, which just added to the adventure. Surprisingly mild weather the entire time! I was still wearing shorts! Gramma must have brought up some of that Florida weather with her. *grin*
One fun thing that we discovered at Lehman's was 'Hobbit Tea'! Made by Mint Brook Meadows, a local tea company in Holmes County, they obtained the rights to sell a line of teas based on Tolkien's classic tale. Mom has loved the company's mint and spearmint tea for years, but 'Hobbit Tea' was news to us! Turns out that they even have a website just for the three kinds of tea - www.hobbittea.com. These are a must for any Tolkien fan and Sis and I can't believe that we didn't know about these sooner! There are three different kinds:
A fun thing - we got to see the International Space Station go by. A couple of weeks ago, Dad came home and said that it was going to pass overhead for about five minutes around 7:30pm. So, we decided it would be fun to take a look. Pitch black, a bit chilly, but who cares? We trundled outside and tried to locate it. Dad had us a bit confused when he pointed out a bright light which we watched for a full minute before we all decided that it wasn't moving! Then we did locate a very fast moving light and got to watch it go across the sky! Very fun! We took the camera out and tried to get a photo, but it didn't work very well. Sis did get a photo of Mom, Dad and Me out in the yard, though!
Sarah has been following the birth of England's newest heir - Prince George of Cambridge. She has been keeping a scrapbook since his birth and we are constantly waiting for new photos to be released! Well, this month, he was christened and his official photos were released last week. What a photogenic little baby! I have an old paper scrapbook from Queen Elizabeth's 1951 Canadian tour (Princess Elizabeth then), which I am making with all the big royal events that happen like the Royal Wedding, QEII's Diamond Jubilee, Prince George, etc. This past Sunday, Sis and I had a wonderful day. It started off with gorgeous fall weather, a lovely Church service and fellowship time afterwards, then we came home and Sis and I sat upstairs cutting photos and articles while we enjoyed our Sunday coffee! Really one of those lovely days!
I have been working on reading some Elizabeth Gaskell novels this month. I finished 'North and South' and am now working my way through the three stories used to make the mini-series of 'Cranford'. Very nice. I have really been enjoying them! 'North and South' is one of my new favorites and has practically usurped 'Pride & Prejudice' as my favorite romance! We just discovered the mini-series this Summer, and the entire family really enjoyed it! Actually, even Dad voted it excellent!
We have spent a lot of time this month working on finding sources for food that don't use pesticides, growth hormones, GMO ingredients, etc. Been a big change, but so worth it! Mom has even learned how to make her own paneer cheese out of whole milk or half & half! It is fabulous and best if made from 'Snowville Creamery' half & half. Sis and I have become addicted, especially on waffles or biscuits, with maple syrup drizzled over the top! Mmmmmm . . . We went to Whole foods on Monday, and got several different kinds of milk to try making cheese out of and we also got five pounds of Icelandic butter, made from grass-fed cows' milk! It is so cool!
'For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? - Psalm 18: 31
John 11: 25-26
"Jesus said unto her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die."
Oh, tarry and be strong;
Tell God in prayer
What is thy hidden grief;
Thy secret care.
Yet, if no answer come;
Pray on and wait:
God's time is always best;
Never too late.
- Mrs. O.F. Walton
(The Lost Clue, 1910)
There are two kinds of people - those who don't do what they want to do, so they write down in a diary about what they haven't done, and those who are too busy to write about it because they're out doing it!
- The More the Merrier (1943)
'Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrible. He paws in the valley , and rejoices in his strength; he laughs at fear, and is not dismayed. With shaking and rage he races over the ground.' - Job 39
"I learned something when I went back to Helstone, expecting it to be the paradise I knew as a child. Try as we might - happy as we were - we can't go back."
- North and South
"I amar prestar aen.
Han mathon ne nen.
Han mathon ne chae
A han noston ned 'wilith."
- The Fellowship of the Ring