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It's learning to look past life's imperfections

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ten Great Tips For 2010

My daughter Erika just shared this with me & I had to pass it on
1.  Stay out of trouble.  

2.  Aim for greater heights. 
3.  Stay focused on your job.
4.  Exercise to maintain good health.
5.  Practice team work.
6.  Rely on your trusted partner to watch your back.  Take your time trusting others.
7.  Save for rainy days.
8.  Rest and relax.
9.  Always take time to smile.
10.  Realize that nothing is impossible.
THE SENILITY PRAYER : Grant me the senility to forget the people 
I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. 
  Now, . . .you are supposed to share this with a bunch of your friends.  

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Home Made Fire Starters

One thing Chris and Isaiah love to do in the evening is light the fire pit.  I think it was one of the best splurges they made when the house was purchased.  Its a small one in the backyard, a place for them to relax and unwind….after he gets it lit.  No, really it could take a while.  Growing up with a wood stove &  in a camping family it drives Erika crazy.  The concept of  twigs, airflow and kindling to start a fire is beyond him.

  He starts with a huge log, paper a match..and charcoal grill starter…a lot of it…..WOOSH! 

He says he did not come from “Pioneer People”

He’s been pretty good about all the teasing so, for Christmas as a joke (sorta) I made him some fire starters…

Normally I would use cardboard egg cartons but they are hard to find. So I had to substitute with cardboard fruit packing  trays

Christmas 013

I cut them in strips trimming the excess into tiny bits

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I’ve been saving leftover candle wax all year, storing in baggies

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I also saved dryer lint from my cotton towels & jeans.  You can use the lint from all loads but the cotton works best….

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Melt your wax carefully ( I don’t have a double broiler so I used a large old measuring cup on top of a pan of boiling water…

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Be sure and protect your work surface with wax paper & pour a bit of wax into the individual section first.Add you lint and any extra bits, pinecone bits, twigs, or chunks of cardboard.  Christmas 019

Topping it all off again with lint, make sure everything is saturated by pushing it down.  Some may start to ooze through the bottom but that’s ok you know it’s all soaking in.

Let dry and your good to go start your fire!

And no Chris, you don’t throw the whole box in, you just need ONE to start the fire!

Store in a cool dry place and they will last forever

An additional benefit of using wax fire starters?

Your roasted hotdogs and marshmallow's don’t taste like lighter fluid!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Morning Surprises

Our oldest daughter Danielle was scheduled to be off work Christmas Day.  But after a scan of the work schedule realized a single Mom of 3 was slated to work….so she told her co worker to spend Christmas Morning with with her children she would cover her shift…..Christmas morning Danielle called “on her way to work”  to say Merry Christmas & that she had left something on our porch…..

Christmas 040Work called and said they had enough children out on pass she did not have to come in! So, Miss Silliness dressed as a Christmas Elf (notice the blurry snazzy boots) was free for the day!

I came back inside and this is what I found! Yes I fussed as we were going to have a big breakfast when we were done…..bottomless pit “kids”..

Christmas 042 I grabbed my coffee cup for a refill and returned to the kitchen…..

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Mr... Fix~it the ring leader of the revolt? Not a very flattering photo of my crew, but the brats all get what they deserve!

We sent Chris & Erika  Christmas 111 On a search for their gift….

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Poor Chris has no idea what to think of some of our jokes and pranks

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Mr..~Fix~it can be evil at times….

Christmas 118So bundling up in coats and jackets…. Christmas 120Listening to last minute cluesChristmas 124

As new home owners they need all kinds of things but most importantly a new door!

We tried to stay practical this year, Rachel & Adam  a Zoo pass, Danielle a food processor, items they would put to good use.

And me?  Well Mr... Fix~it did well this year.  He gave me a Kitchen aid mixer!

Christmas 088

How did he know! 

Could it have been the puddles of drool I left in any house ware department when I caressed one saying “someday”…..

We missed Aaron in Calif & Ania in Poland, Rachel, Adam & Hayden in Indy but, I’m sure they didn’t miss the clean up or the breakfast dishes!

Hope you found JOY in your day!

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

And the Winner of the Star Crayon is ……

Using the scientific system of numbering the entries I then asked my brother in law to pick a number……

The winner is number 5

cindy_sullivan@XXXXXXX !

Who said:I would love the star crayon for my son! He loves to draw and he loves the nursery rhyme "twinkle twinkle little star," so this would be the perfect gift for him

Cindy, I’ll be contacting you this afternoon for your address!

Thanks to all who entered.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


A friend sent this to me.

It's wonderful. I hope you take the time to read it.


   About a week before Christmas, Mom bought a new nativity scene. When she unpacked it, she found two figures of the Baby Jesus.
   "Someone must have packed this wrong," Mother said, counting out the figures. "We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel, and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two.

   "You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it's freezing cold out there." The manager of the store copied down Mother's message, and the next time we were in the store, we saw the cardboard sign that read, "If you're missing Baby Jesus, call 7126." All week long we waited for someone to call. Surely, we thought, someone was missing that important figurine.

   Each time the phone rang, Mother would say, "I'll bet that's about Jesus." But it never was. Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California . Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested that she just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it. "Put Baby Jesus back in the box?! What a terrible thing to do," said Mother. "Surely someone will call. We'll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone does." When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, Mother insisted that Father "just run down to the store" to see if there were any sets left. "You can see them right through the window, over on the counter," she said. "If they are all gone, I'll know someone is bound to call tonight." "Run down to the store?"

   Father thundered. "It's 15 below zero out there!"
   "Oh, Daddy, we'll go with you!" We began to put on our coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered.. We ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Tommy got to the store first and pressed his nose up to the store window. "They're all gone, Daddy," he shouted. "Every set must be sold. Hooray! The mystery will be solved tonight!"

Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When we got back into the house, we noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. "Someone must have called, and she went out to deliver the figurine," father reasoned, pulling off his boots. "You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother's present." Then the phone rang. Father yelled "answer the phone and tell 'em we found a home for Jesus." But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a  box of cookies and some milk.

    "Now what has she gotten us into?" father groaned as we bundled up again.
    "205 Chestnut. Why that's across town. Wrap that milk up good in the
blankets,or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can't we all
just get on with Christmas? It's probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this."

    When we got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street , it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny candle burned in the living room, and the moment we set foot on the porch steps, mother opened the door and shouted, "They're here! Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I'll take the milk and cookies."

    "Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?" father asked.  "We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way." "Never mind all that now," mother interrupted. "There is no heat in  this house, and this young mother is so upset, she doesn't know what to do. Her husband walked out on her, and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don't you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy."

    My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children's mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.

    "I been doin' washin'an ironin' for people and cleanin' the five and dime," she said. "I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept goin' through my  mind. 7162. Said on the box that if a person was missin' Jesus, they should call you. That's how I knew you were good Christian people, willin' to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight, and I called your missus. I'm not missin' Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin' heat. I have no money to fix that furnace."

    "Okay, okay," said Father. "You've come to the right place. Now let's see..  You've got a little oil burner over there in the dining room.  Shouldn't be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I'll look it over, see what it needs."

    Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk.  As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them.

    Father finally got the oil burner working but said, "You need more oil. I'll make a few calls tonight and get some oil.. Yes sir, you came to the right place." Father grinned.

    On the way home, Father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. "Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you've got that pickup truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?" By this time the rest of the family was pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after our bedtime when we were wrapping gifts.


  The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts.  Even though it was 30 below, father let us ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn't a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that's what He does.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Giveaway!~Fav’s on Etsy..Support Handmade

A few months I found a wonderful Etsy seller LemonDropsShop. I purchased some cute hair clips for Evie hoping they would be the set that actually stayed in her baby wisps

Boy was I (and Erika) pleasantly surprised….they worked! With no fuss or pulled strands! Very well made, no loose or frayed ends. Needless to say we’ve picked up a few other sets.

I looked at them at first and thought I could make these….after checking in to the supplies we decided it wasn’t worth the bother as the pricing she offers can’t be beat!

A Mom of twins, who knows what is useful and works amid all the baby garb..after all she has 2 product testers in residence!

I’d been looking at her bibs for our “Drool Diva” and When she offered a give away a few months ago I signed up!…

And won!

I really like her nontraditional baby prints, bright & cheerful but not overly cutesy. The second bib I ordered after winning. I’m not sure what she uses in the construction but, they are to date leak proof & great size to protect clothing.

Her shop is full of baby fun & user friendly items. She has recently started stuffed animals….with her own touch! Look at this Hippo, is he not the cutest thing?

I ordered this Star Crayon for Hayden, Its a great size for little hands to hold on to.

I just wish I’d had this post completed early enough for Christmas as her items are wonderful, she offers the customer a variety of fabrics and patterns to select, her customer service is EXCELLENT! Fast shipping and gift packaging!

So, as a belated gift to readers, I’m having a giveaway!

I ordered an extra “Star Crayon” which will be great as a stash gift or for your own little one!

Here are the rules,

Leave a comment telling me your favorite baby item in her shop….(be sure and look at her sold items also) for an entry

Link the giveaway on your blog for another entry & let me know, for a 2nd entry

Tweet and or face book for a 3rd/4th entry..(These can be as many as you’d like)

The drawing will be held Christmas Eve, and announced by the 26th. A quickie!

So, what are you waiting for….go check LemonDropsShop out!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Last Advent Project

For at least 68 Children, Christmas is not about stacks of gifts under the tree, if there is one.

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Its not about the latest electronic gadget or game, when your cold or hungry

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For 167 adults, Christmas is about being fed in the body & spirit & knowing there will be food for at least a few more weeks

The last advent Project 006 Gifts of clothing that warm the body and the soul of 51 families for another winter.

A wonderful group of people that gave so generously to those in need

For 10 years we have had the JOY and Honor of co-chairing the Advent Project at Sacred Heart. The love and generosity of the parish has moved us to tears every year. Nothing was more rewarding than the night before delivery & the visual gift of Sacred Heart being Jesus to the community.

EVERY year, the Advent Project ran on FAITH & integrity with the funds donated. We came to the painful realization we can no longer in good conscience continue to participate in the program when the parish staff chose to use what should have been a “joyful giving” as a “fundraiser”for the church.

When all was delivered, with our adult children and grandchildren, we left knowing it was our last year to participate and the last day as members of the the parish.

The last advent Project 003Sometimes growth and knowledge is painful but necessary. But for the first time in months, Larry & I are sleeping through the night, knowing we did the right thing.

So, the gate is open, coffee is fresh and bread is baking so stop in for a chat.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stepping Back

Once in a while everyone comes to a point when they have to just step back and as my friend Rhonda says, “close the gate”. My “closing the gate” may not be the same but, I’m finding I need to step back for a bit.

We’ve had a few challenges that have set us on our heals and seriously shaken us to the core leaving us both feeling very hurt and emotionally battered. I’m finding its become unstoppable, like a huge wave, flowing into and affecting all other aspects of our lives. We both are having a difficult time focusing or sleeping. I’m having a difficult time maintaining commitments I’ve made. As a moderator on the Down_To_Earth Forum (I haven’t been able to do for a week) and the Ruby e-zine article I’m 2 weeks late with. Both are such wonderful & joyful places to be a part of.

With a lot of prayer, & supporting each other we’re taking baby steps to move forward but, needing to let some things go, at least for a little while.

We have for the past 10 years co-chaired what is called the Advent Project at our parish. To our family this project is our Christmas, interviewing those in need, coordinating sponsors with recipients of a pantry restock & gifts of clothing & toys for children. This year we have scaled back and only have 50 families sponsored. When we found ourselves making comments such as, let’s just get through this year we knew we had to make a few personal changes. Everything else we do is set aside for now as this needs to be done with a good spirit & joy in our hearts. Anything less would not be right and in fact be a disservice.

Tomorrow night is Advent Eve for us, all the groceries & gifts will be brought to church and Saturday morning will be delivery day.

So, we’re stepping back …. and closing the gate on everything for a bit, trying to find our balance.

We have a Winner!

Drum roll please!

Lanolin 012

and the winner is :

Blogger Jaclyn Bailey said...

I want a cute little jar of Lanolin! That would be so much easier to carry around than a 1 lb Mason Jar! (when traveling.... I don’t just carry around lanolin!

Be sure and email me you address & this will go in Mondays mail!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekend Knitting

Mr. Fix~It is hunting again this weekend so I’ve had a bit of a knitting marathon. And baking Chocolate Chip Cookies.

2 pair of small longies, I didn’t realize I was almost out of smalls, these knit up much quicker than larges. Almost instant gratification..but not quite!

A Gray & Cream Marle twist. Super thick and soft

weekendknitting 009This next pair is a hand dyed of mine. The colors were inspired from our trip to New Zeland 2 years ago.

The lake waters were so crystal clear, blues and greens with touches of purple ….I wish I could capture with dye and do justice to the true colors weekendknitting 007

I’ve been trying to clean up organize my wool. It’s taking over the living room. That I can’t say no to a great fiber bargain has started to become a problem….anyway last year thrifting I bought a large bag of cotton scraps & made countless dishclothsweekendknitting 005 Well, in the midst of sorting I found the bag….got sucked in to matching colors……and started knitting…I can justify the distraction and say I was stash busting….Right?.

There are 3 others I haven’t taken a photo of. Very few skeins are enough for one cloth so I’m having fun striping & playing with patterns.

I just looked over at the room that looks like there was a yarn storm so I’d better get busy & clean it up!

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Miss Evie Strikes A Pose

I finally was able to take a photo of Evie in her new Punkinhaus Gnome Hathat&longies 008It’s a tad big but I think the smaller size would be to smallhat&longies 009 of course I may be a bit biased, bit I think she’s a doll! The hats darn cute too!

Today in Etsy I listed to day a pair of large longies I call Black Ice

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I found the pink Trim and completed the Bunny Longies

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On the needles I have a small pair of hand dyed and a small pair of Gray & Cream Marle, nice unisex colors. Just need to finish the legs and they will be ready to post.

Our son Aaron James’ birthday was yesterday. We called him In San Diego. He’s putting on a good front but I know he misses Ania badly. She’s still in Poland, caring for her mother who was diagnosed with cancer 2 days after the wedding. Thank God for Skype!