Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Gift This Year

              Elv and the boys set up shop in the mini barn this year to make gifts for the women of the house.  They had several evenings into the project and nary a word did they breathe of what they were doing.  And, of course, we didn't ask, enjoying the whole idea of them making our gifts this year.
             I was pretty sure it would be something metal and perhaps have to do with a cabin type something.  But I have to say we were all quite wowed over the result of all that work and secretive planning.
            The mirror part of this still blows my mind.  Elv bought a full length mirror from which he cut the mirrors for these lamp holder/reflector beauties. They are etsy-able, if you ask me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Supper Table For Amy's 16th Birthday

What is more special that a 16th birthday? Well, maybe there might be some things a little more life changing than a birthday, but this one is pretty special to our family.  She did NOT want a party, but when we started on this brainstorm to make a pretty table for supper she was Johny-on-the-spot.
Frankly, I think this last picture of Elv and his daughters is precious.  Hope you enjoyed the tour, again.
                                Merry Christmas and God Bless Us Everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chocolate Covered Ritz Crackers


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's Happening At Home

               I am writing this a few days before Christmas.  It is Amy's birthday today so she and Frances are taking a break from Christmas preparations to watch a Jane Austin movie for a couple of hours.  They're sitting here "wired" sharing earphones in front of the fire with me. I have my music to myself.
                Brad is over at Delvins helping Ben, Lily's father, today doing insulating.  Lance is running Delvin's logging machine so that Delvin can be at home to help on his own house.                         Yesterday Frances and Charity made Christmas goodies here with help from Dot, Anna, Amy and I. Lovely mess and the result was 25 plates of cookies and goodies to pass out to the parents of the Children's Ministry children on the rez. That's a lot of caroling, right? But they said it was fun and went over well with everyone.  
               Anything can happen just before Christmas and usually does. The woods machine broke down so Elv ran to Superior for the parts yesterday afternoon, then stopped in here to ask Brad and I if we'd like to go with him to the woods since he would be working into the evening working on the machine.  I gathered up the neck scarf I was crocheting for Jenny and gifts to wrap, my current reading, and computer to go with him. Brad grabbed a cedar board and his jig saw and jumped in, as well.
             So while Elv took the machine apart with the aid of his collection of strong lights, Brad and I continued our Christmas projects.  I sat in the cab with the interior lights on since the pickup was running all evening as Elv worked anyway, to do mine. 
            First thing, Brad needed me to help him draw a pattern for a rubber band gun. (To all you moms out there. Be prepared to even to help with guns now and then, being a good mom.) He wanted the shape of a hand gun to cut out with intentions to mount a clothespin on the flat top of it for the obvious purpose. He had to draw a little one to show me how it ought to look and then told me how to draw the one of proper size in a torn off flap of a cardboard box. 
           I finished the scarf in good time and had time to wrap the four gifts for Jenny and family. Besides I got well into a Jessamyn West novel before Elv came a verdict on the water pump. 
          "All the fins are gone on the pump." He had that look that guys get when something weird/bad/interesting happens to heavy equipment. 
           "So they're inside there somewhere." I suggested thinking about another engine one day long ago sitting by the road on Fourth Of July pass in the Bitterroot Mts. of Idaho where a little screw at the top of the engine fell down into the bowels thereof and killed it. 
           "Well, in the cooling system somewhere, yes."  
           We headed home then to solve tomorrow.
            As we walked in the door the young people who had been out caroling followed us in.  We must have had a dozen noisy boys and girls standing around laughing and talking.   Noah was opening a box that came while he was away. He popped the air wrap noisily with plenty of good will and help from the others. You couldn't walk for the press so to speak.  Most of them weren't staying and boots were dripping onto the floor giving the rest of us wet socks. We love a house full of youth at any time. 
          The rubber band guns turned out beautifully. When we got home Brad sanded them and had Amy help him get the clothespins glued on there while he cut a ridge to hold the rubber band taut. I wrapped them individually and labeled them. All done.  I wish all Christmas creating was that easy and successful, don't you?
          Gifts are adding up little by little on the lamp table in the living room.  There are still more to come.  The Christmas card/family pictures have not arrived. Tracking tells me where they were as of the 17th. Why should it take 4 days to get here from the cities? These particular cards are our third attempt at a family picture, to boot, and now they've evaporated. Can't win for losing!

           Our little family of six will have our Christmas day on Saturday here at home.  On Sunday we are to go down to Sparta to visit Mom and the Grabers for the day.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Tea Centerpiece

I have umpteen projects cookin' right now, so I shouldn't be playing with my camera.  But how else is a person supposed to show her mother?! This is for you, Mom.

Star of the East

Jenny posted her thoughts about this song questioning the theology of same. It really got me to thinking about some of the old songs/carols we sing so often. I realize that sometimes the poetry kind of takes precedence over accuracy. So I am posting the lyrics here to let us see for ourselves.
         Star of the East, Oh Bethlehem's star
Guiding us on to Heaven afar!
Sorrow and grief and lulled by thy light,
Thou hope of each mortal, in death's lonely night!

Fearless and tranquil, we look up to Thee!
Knowing thou beam'st thro' eternity!
Help us to follow where Thou still dost guide,
Pilgrims of earth so wide.

Star of the East, thou hope of the soul,
While round us here the dark billows roll,
Lead us from sin to glory afar,
Thou star of the East, thou sweet Bethlehem's star.

Star of the East, undimmed by each cloud,
What tho' the storms of grief gather loud?
Faithful and pure thy rays beam to save,
Still bright o'er the cradle, and bright o'er the grave!

Smiles of a Saviour are mirror'd in Thee!
Glimpses of Heav'n in thy light we see!
Guide us still onward to that blessed shore,
After earth's toil is o'er!

Star of the East, thou hope of the soul,
While round us here the dark billows roll,
Lead us from sin to glory afar,
Thou star of the East, thou sweet Bethlehem's star.

Oh star that leads to God above!
Whose rays are peace and joy and love!
Watch o'er us still till life hath ceased,

           We sang this old carol a couple of times while caroling last week.  Our song leader led it in a fairly quick tempo and it suddenly became quite nice for a change. I have heard this song plowed almost into the ground, which calls for undo portions of lung space and effort.
           Do the lyrics make ecclesiastical sense? Well, it's poetic poetry, true.  But considering the seeking of the wise men as an example to us might make the lyrics mean something after-all.
           I'm sad that nobody ever sings the "additional ending" as it is dubbed in Zion's Praises.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Found On The Office Wall Downstairs

                 People are often unreasonable and self-centered

                                Forgive them anyway.

            If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
                                Be kind anyway.

              If you are honest people may cheat you.
                               Be honest anyway.

             The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
                              Do good anyway.

         Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
                            Give your best anyway.

                 For you see, in the end it is between you and God.
                       It was never between you and them anyway.
                                                         Author Unknown

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Chimney Fire @TheStoneHouse

             It all started with a lovely warm fire in our sitting room stove this morning. Of course, Elv and I had no idea that we were creating the setting for a fire call. Just a nice morning of coffee and quiet time by the fire.
             The plan for today was for the children and me to haul firewood from the woods.  Elv thought there would be around 4 loads and he would assist us in loading at the woods.  So Elv and Lance left for a short day of work with intent to help us later. Lance planned to be home to study for Sunday School teaching this afternoon.
            Everything was ticking along as planned.  Elv and Lance were off to work.  I had made a quick breakfast of pancakes for the children and stacked the dirty dishes in a sink of hot water.  The girls were getting ready to go out the door when we noticed an odd smell.
            I followed my nose downstairs to till I came to a stop leaning over the stove looking behind it at the chimney door behind the stove.  It is a cute little door with a pretty design all painted white with a little catch just right for keeping it closed.  The problem now was that it was all glowing red as if there was a fire in there.  Wait! The fire is supposed to be in the stove, not in the chimney.
           I quickly called Elv who advised me to call 911. I did that and dispatch seemed to know who I was and where I was calling from. Neatest thing since sliced bread. All I had to do was to say I had a pretty good chimney fire.
          But first I must back track a little. Last night at the supper table, Lance who is Lieutenant on the fire department, was bemoaning the fact that Bass Lake Fire Department could soon be without a chief and therefore no longer in existence. Well, I certainly couldn't see a problem with the department today.
        In about three shakes after dispatch paged the crew I had six guys milling around in our basement sitting room solving and throwing their potions on the fire.  Lance had the little hand held xray machine that gave him the temperature of the chimney walls in the house here. And they all decided that the fire was indeed at the bottom of the chimney and nowhere else in our house.
        Since the fire in the stove was almost out, the chimney fire seemed to be as well, we decided to go ahead and haul firewood as planned. After the first load I came in and checked the chimney wall again by laying my hand on it. OOH! Very hot yet. Hmmm.
       I think we put on 250 miles today hauling firewood.  Eight loads later the woodlot is quite full of it. While Elv finished up the last two loads, Lance and I cleaned out the bottom of the chimney.
      We pulled out buckets of black stuff and it was STILL quite warm. I saw a coal once as we worked.  We put the pans/buckets outside the door and left everything in the chimney/stove area open and airing for Elv to inspect when he got in. Then we could put the stove back and clean up  the mess.
       The mess was mostly a dirty white film all over everything in the room including me by the time we were done. But it cleaned up easily with the vacuum sweeper and mopping water.
       After supper Elv went outside for some something and noticed that one of the pans of creosote on the patio that we had taken out of the chimney after the fire was supposedly out, was now a mass of red hot coals burning away nicely in the open air.  Does anyone wonder why chimney/house fires are notorious for restarting?
      Elv says that if I need that much attention, I am just to let him know after this.  He even offered to stay home from work on Saturday morning if that's what it takes. :) I have always wondered what it would take to get him to not go to work on Saturdays. :)
     We're all grateful for God's loving care over us today, and for a quick response from BLFD.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Progress In December

     A light snow is falling outside all day, recoating the six lovely inches that fell late Saturday night.  We woke up Sunday morning to a changed scenery. THIS snow will stay.
     In our story hour book, we have gotten Ben Hur off the galley ship and adopted and enriched by one, Arrius. The old former servant, Simonedes, has appeared on the scene, apparently only to complicate life further for our hero.  The children are patiently enduring Wallace's pontifications on culture, history and religion as we go along because the story line is too interesting, faithfully resurfacing at regular intervals. I am pleased to discover that their dad has instilled enough ancient history to round out the story for us.
   And we've decided who has whose names around here for Christmas. The train and house setup on the big windowsill runs and lights for Brad. Elv really likes it, too. The mini-barn has been converted to a workshop for the guys who are creating gifts this year.
   And now it is time to bake cookies. I hope to shop for baking supplies on Thursday so that we may begin.
   While we make some steps forward, we slip back in one other important step.  The family collage card with which I was so pleased, came back from printing quite blurry. It seems that Picasa 3 carefully downsizes the picture at some point in the collage creating, but you can't discern that until you get it printed. Thankfully, I ordered only 10 of them because I wanted to see them before ordering 50 of them. Wasn't that wise of me?
   Our dear niece/cousin Adnrea has sent out her lovely invitation to the family. We are all cordially invited to attend "festivities" in her parent's southern estate in South Carolina over Christmas weekend. The personally crafted card is so beautiful that I have added it to the centerpiece tea tray on the dining room table.  Wouldn't she be shocked if we all took her up on it and showed? Wouldn't it be fun? I even hesitate to send kind regrets at this point. One can dream, right?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Skiff Of Snow And Other Stuff of December

     All we have is a skiff of snow. Not enough for anything but making the back roads slick and to be able to say that there IS snow. Not enough to play in, or make a snow man of, or plow even. I doubt you can measure it although I saw that someone thought 1/8th of an inch would be considered a skiff.  So maybe we have an 1/8th inch of snow.  In which case if the sun shines tomorrow we will soon have even less longer the skiff of which we speak tonight.
    The frustration I encountered today was getting well into a crocheting project only to discover that the directions were defective. I simply couldn't come up with what the picture showed for a shell border if I followed the directions. Now I LIKE to follow the directions when I am crocheting because the result is much more satisfactory and besides I get a kick out of producing something beautiful from what my children declare is nonsense writing.  So I made the difficult choice of abandoning the directions. Now what I have looks like the picture but I can't say that I am satisfied. Sigh! Oh well. 
   Happy things in our day were as follows: Amy crafted a stable of cardboard and set up the dear old nativity set that I found at Salvation Army two years ago.  She used straw, pine boughs, lights, and quilt batting to create a lovely scene in a deep window sill.  
    Also Amy and I went along with others from church to sing to the old folks at the rest home this evening. We had instruments and good, willing singers so it was nice to belt out the carols and other favorites for those dear old listeners.  The Old Rugged Cross was mellow and slow and lovely. 
   A very unfortunate happening was that when I went to put my contacts in to go out this evening I discovered to my horror and intense pain that the saline solution was not saline solution but cleaner disinfectant for contacts.  Nearly killed my eye! Wow! So out went a perfectly good set of lenses and the new lense felt lovely shielding the burned lid from the burned eye. Always read your labels!  
   More happiness is that Elv's new job is within minutes of TheStoneHouse!  This is a major Praise! 
   And Christmas is showing up everywhere, again. I love this season. 

This blog has moved!

Please click here to see the latest from Stone House Scribblings.