Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making the Season Bright

My tree is up, the house is decorated and for the first time in nearly a decade I do not have all of the gifts purchased before December. But I am ready, oh, so ready for December, for a month of looking at the lights on the tree and getting lost in thoughts.   I am ready to sing the familiar songs that make my soul rejoice.  I am ready bundle up and stay put. I am ready for a month of reflection of thinking about the gifts god has given us and searching for a map of the path ahead of me.

I, like Jocelyn at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, am looking for a way to teach my children that Christmas is more than the gifts under the tree and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas 500 times.  To teach them that Christmas is about service, love, family and Christ.

I don't know what it is going to look like yet but I know that I am going to let them choose who we serve and how. It will also be inexpensive, we have had a lot of major expenses come up this last fortnight and the giving will have to come from the heart not the wallet.

Do you have any ideas for me?  What are you doing this month to teach your children about the gifts that matter?

This message from President Monson might yeild some ideas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Photos at Starlings

Way back in April Sarah and I made a trade, I would make her 6 girls some Miss Moss creations and she would take our family photos.  I would have had to been daft to have said no.  Then life happened and before we knew it, it was November and the leaves had fallen and the rains had arrived. 

Sarah arrived on possible the darkest day of the year and it was raining.  That didn't stop us.

Friday, November 26, 2010


A coldfront blew in this past weekend.  Coincidentally, the furnace went out the night before, we called furnace folks in spades but no one would return our call for 3 days.  On Monday there was a snowday for the public school kids but no snow. Our furnace was also fixed that day; it wasn't broken, just a sensor that needed to be reset, it cost us $90 to learn that.
Snow on our shingles, I just think they are so pretty, It was our first snow at Starlings which was a blessing even if we were freezing at the time.

On Wednesday, I found that the pipes to the washing machine in the garage  were frozen so I filled up the washer with hot water by the bucketful from the laundry sink.  Eventually the washing machine defrosted (with the help of a space heater) but later that evening and maybe or maybe not related to this event the downstairs water heater broke and leaked all over the basement.  Inspection of the almond colored appliance revealed that it was made in 1980.  Obviously replacement not repair will be the order of the day. Of course, this happened at 5 pm the night before Thanksgiving.

We won't be having hot water until Monday at best. Happily the upstairs bathroom has a separate water heater so we can have warm showers, but no dishwasher of washing machine on Thanksgiving Eve!

I had the fun task of cleaning all the dishes and the kitchen before Thanksgiving food was made, during and after by boiling water in the tea kettle.

This wasn't to be a complaining post, I just wanted to illustrate why we chose a snowflake theme for Thanksgiving decorations.
The Gardners and the Warrs heeded my pleas to come to Starlings for dinner and we had a lovely evening.  All the important foods were here, hummus included.  The sweet potatoes were divine and the heritage pastured turkey from Kookoolan Farms (thanks to Kristin's mad bartering skillz and generosity) was the best turkey ever known to mankind.  Even Moose thinks it is the best turkey ever.  We will have to keep inviting Kristin to Thanksgiving forever because we could probably never afford such a turkey on our own.  **Flash to the scene from A Christmas Carol where Scrooge buys the enormous goose***
Here is a photo of Moose carving the turkey, he was the only person  man enough for the task (it must be all that working out on his birthday weight bench.)

I-Shuan made an absolutely darling "Welcome to Starlings" sign as a housewarming gift on her new "Silhouette" machine, so perfect and thoughtful.

And the greatest blessing of all, we have wonderful, fantastic, amazing renters in our old house.  A giant weight has been lifted from our shoulders.  Thank YOU!  Amen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

You Can't Go Looking for One of Those, or Can You?

I was going through my Christmas Around the World Books looking for ideas for our holiday celebrations when I saw a German Pyramid or Christmas Windmill.  I had seen these before and suddenly I thought "If we ever want one of these we need to get it THIS year while the kids are still little enough to appreciate it."

A quick Google search confirmed my suspicion that these little whimsies are very pricey like $500-$600.  Then I found a made in China version on Etsy for about $40 and Moose and I decided to think on it.

This morning, I was out picking up some FREE furniture and decided to stop into a Salvation Army Thrift shop that I had never been in before to see if they had a Christmas Pyramid.  (Yeah Right.)

They did. 

It was missing the propellers and candle holders so I put it in my cart to think about it.  That is how I decide if I want something, I push it around in my cart and look at other things and then right before I checkout I go through everything and see if I still like it and/or the price.

Before I had a chance to decide a couple of employees saw it in my cart and remembered that there were more pieces to it, we searched and found the original box with 6 propellers and no candle holders.  But 6 propellers looked like enough to make it hobble around so I bought it for $4.99!
Here it is at home with the 6 propellers and one candle holder stick.  We are going to have to craft some pieces but I think this will be fun!  For $5 I don't feel one bit frivolous or extravagant.
Oh, and it is sitting on this awsome treadle Singer base table that was FREE.  I have always wanted one.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

When Was the Last Time You Took Your Children to the Temple?

 The other day I was speeding along the freeway listening to Natalie Merchant's Kind and Generous on the radio.  This song has always made me think of my Heavenly Father and how kind and generous he is to me.  How I am in debt to Christ for his gift to me.  I sang along "la la la la-ing" through the autumn leaves and the late autumn sunshine, just as the song ended I saw the spires of the Portland, Oregon temple peeking through the evergreens.

I debated with myself as whether or not we should stop.   I knew that the kids would complain but the spirit told me that this was the time so I took the exit and within two minutes we were walking around the temple grounds with my middle child murmuring about how he just wanted to go home.

Soon it became evident that everything was new and exciting to my 4 year old daughter.  It had been so long since we had been to the temple she couldn't remember any of it. 

We sat at the reflecting pool and talked about the temple, what it means, what you must do to be able to go there and that in the temple we make promises to Heavenly Father that we will keep his commandments. My husband is not LDS and sometimes it is had for me to talk about the temple with my children.  But there in the sunshine it was easy.

As we walked back to the car my daughter said to me "Mom, you know what I was doing back there? I was promising."

"Promising what honey?"

"Promising that I will do what Heavenly  Father wants me to do."

Remind me in a dozen or so years to remind her of the first promise she made at the temple. OK?  Thanks.

This little trip took us a grand total of 10 minutes but I hope gave us 4 eternities worth of memories.