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I’ve moved my posts

August 24, 2012

It’s been quite a while since I have posted, but I am starting again at a new address. To join me, visit

Look forward to continuing the journey with you!

Happy Birthday Pickle!

January 4, 2012

My first born turns 7 this week. I can’t believe it. 


Happy Birthday sweet boy! I love the young man you are growing into. May God continue to guide us both!

Happy New Year: Free Line-A-Day Journal

December 28, 2011

Have you seen those 5-Year Line-A-Day memory books? I love the idea–write a little something each day and then when you cycle back the next year you can reminisce about where you were that time in the past.

In reality, the thought of keeping up a single journal for 5 years is really overwhelming. How about something a little less, um,  ambitious . . .

Free for you–a one year line-a-day journal. The PDF contains a cover page and pages for each day of the month 1-31 with twelve areas on each page for the months.


Click link below to download:

One Year Line a Day Journal

Merry Christmas

December 18, 2011


Fr Strasbourg Eglise Sainte Madeleine Nativity paiting - detail


Posting will be a little light through the end of the year, but I have big plans for after the new year including a NEW ADDRESS! Details to come when I finish cleaning house and putting on a fresh coat of paint 🙂  In the meantime, enjoy this–my favorite reminder of the season.

From Keeping Christmas by Henry Van Dyke, a minister from the late 19th century and author of the hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”

He who observes the day.
Observes it in honor of the Lord. (Rms 14:6)

It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.

But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness–are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open–are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world–stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death–and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.

And if you keep it for a day, why not always?
But you can never keep it alone.

Special thanks to Carol Anderson and Sheila Carroll for introducing me to Van Dyke.

edited repost

Christmas Books Revisited

December 9, 2011

Last year I posted some of my favorite holiday books for “Christmas Book Week.” We have added some new ones to our list this year as well as our former favorites. If you are looking for some ideas, this is a good place to start.  As in the past I wrap all the books and put them under the tree for unwrapping each day.

This year we added:

Humphrey’s First Christmas

Christmas at the Barn I found this Barbary Cooney illustrated version at a local library sale. The newer version features pictures by Diane Goode.

Babushka I found this Russian folktale during our Geography Through Folk Tales study.

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden


Don’t miss our other favorites from year’s past:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry–scratch and sniff!

Drummer Boy by Loren Long (same author/illustrator as Toy Boat)

You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love and Satomi Ichikawa –very sweet for the youngest ones

The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston — I love this story. The town of Spruce Pine where the book is set is nearby and has a store devoted to the book featuring work of local artisans.

We Three Kings Gennady Spirin–set to the lyrics of the classic carol, the illustrations are phenomenal.

Wombat Divine by Mem Fox–cute little story about a wombat in Australia who wants to be in the nativity play.

Want more?

Visit The Crafty Crow for her Christmas Book advent ideas with ornaments and crafts




Dewey’s Treehouse and Oopsey Daisy also have book advents going on for more selections.

Gum Drop Trees

December 8, 2011

This is a repost from 2010.  We just made these again yesterday. Pickle added a gum drop angel to the top. A new tradition he says. 

It’s getting harder to get things done (like updating my blog) around here.  However, I know that lots of moms are probably starting to dip into their “box of rainy day” activities already or will be by next week so I thought I would share a couple more ideas over the next few days before I take a long weekend off.

First up–Gum Drop Trees

We love doing these, and this year both boys got in on the action.

Gather up a bag or two of Spice Drops, a box of toothpicks, and a cone-shaped craft foam mold (is that what they are called?) You can find them at Michaels or the dollar store usually.

I cut all the toothpicks in half for easier placement in the cone.

Let the kids put on the gum drops and then stuff them in the cone.

If you are super-decorative you could do rows of different colors, designs, etc. We just went free-form.

Don’t you think your Christmas village needs a gum drop tree?

Of course, after you fill up the tree you will have to eat some of the leftovers. Yum!

Handmade Holidays: Candy Cane Fantasy Fudge

December 7, 2011

Yum. Yum. Yum.

I love this stuff. As we speak I have two containers of it sitting on my dryer. I intend to give some to the neighbors, but I am seriously having doubts that it will last that long.

This is an easy recipe and there are lots of ways for the kiddos to help.  Also since the peppermint is only a “crust” it doesn’t overwhelm the chocolate flavor like a peppermint oil would.

For the fudge I use the recipe on the back of the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme for “Fantasy Fudge,”  but any recipe could be modified to include the candy cane flavor.

Step 1: Place unwrapped candy canes (about 20) in a ziploc  bag. Give to your child with a hammer or mallet and let them crush the candy canes into very small pieces (some dust is ok as it makes a nice “crust” for the fudge”)

Step 2: Line a 9×9 square dish with foil wrap. Place candy cane crumbs in the bottom of the dish covering the bottom.


Step 3: Follow recipe below to make fudge (my kids help cut the butter, unwrap the chocolate, measure the sugar, etc)

Fantasy Fudge 

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup  butter or margarine
1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup) (Do not use sweetened condensed milk.)
1-1/2 pkg.  (12 squares) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 cup  chopped PLANTERS Walnuts (OPTIONAL!)
1 tsp. vanilla


Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to full rolling boil in 3-qt. saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

ADD chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until melted. Add nuts and vanilla; mix well.

POUR into prepared pan with candy canes; spread to cover bottom of pan. Cool completely. Use foil handles to lift fudge from pan before cutting into squares.