Dyeing eggs

I don’t remember having to wait 5 minutes for each egg to sit in the dye!!?? This is kind of an anti-climactic event. Let’s dye eggs!!! In reality, it’s “let’s drop eggs in the dye and wander away while they sit there.” Are our attention spans just that short nowadays? Happy Resurrection Day! IMG_5337

Back home

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We had a wonderful time visiting relatives up north! We had time to see cousins, aunts and uncles on both sides. And our naturopath Dr in Wisconsin. :) So many good conversations and warm hugs. There was beautiful snow, which was such fun for all the kids! We went ice skating at Jeremie’s sister’s house. And for snowmobile sled rides, until trees started jumping in front of the kids out of nowhere. My mom made homemade Baileys, which is so much better than store bought. We had treats of all kinds, including Mia’s favorite..puff pastry wrapped brie and jelly. Candlelight singing of Silent Night. All the required experiences to make it a memorable holiday. We had no car issues, which is surprising, given our past experience. It was wonderful to celebrate the birth of our Saviour with family!

A cool treat! I prefer it on ice. Even in the winter.

A cool treat! I prefer it on ice. Even in the winter.

The Eats

img_4175Almost, if not more, important than the gift giving is the eating that goes on around here during the holiday celebrations. Mia has been baking truffles, fudge, cookies  and more! img_4174Appetizers for dinner while opening gifts! We had ham and cheese stromboli bites, artichoke dip, stuffed mushrooms, bbq chicken sliders, crescent dogs, chili dip and sweets! Kid wine for everyone! img_4173I pray my home is always such a bustle of loud laughter, good times, sweet eating, loving siblings and sweet babes.

Whose photo bombing?

Who’s photo bombing?

Gloria did not get to partake in any of the good food. Her treat was a kefir popsicle. She was happy with that.  img_4192

Family Christmas

img_4165We usually have to celebrate Christmas almost a week early because we travel over the holiday. It’s puts me in a bit of a tizzy, because I am a last minute shopper and there are only so many days in December. This year was one of the most fun, relaxing, memorable celebration we’ve ever had. Just a few stories for the memory banks. Susie made Ruthie a Sofia the first doll and amulet out of clay. Ruthie swears she is Sofia when she wears the amulet and sadly tells me she’s not Sofia when she’s not. img_4198Susie and Charlotte have made Jeremie and I stockings and they delight to fill them with goodies for us on our Christmas eve. Favorite candies, soda pop and handmade ornaments, my favorite. Stocking are always my favorite part of the day, so it’s special that they have made and stuffed one for me. Jeremie gave me very special gift this year. He and Charlotte walked the local creeks and woods and collected all manner of mosses, mushrooms, lichens and ferns. They planted them in a bed of humus in a glass jar. My very own terrarium. It was shocking to me to know that Jeremie realized that I love mosses, ferns, and woodsy stuff. And I was so touched that he put that together. Thinking of him, walking and hunting for treasures with Charlotte, thinking of pleasing me, brings tears to my eyes. He’s a special man. img_4203 Earlier in the year I had found a display case of LEGO friends at a Bargain Hunt. It was a fraction of the cost of new LEGOs so I purchased it for Ruthie. All the sets were already put together, but since she is too little to put them together herself, it worked out perfectly. But when she unwrapped the gift and we opened it, we discovered all the pieces were super glued together! Jeremie and Tommy had to spend a lot of time breaking the pieces apart, without completely breaking the pieces. Well, live and learn. Do not by the displays of LEGO.

What kind of people buy a machete for their 7 year old?!

What kind of people buy a machete for their 7 year old?!

Houses, again.

img_4147One of our favorite traditions. Decorating gingerbread/graham cracker houses with friends. Yes, it’s a mess. Yes, it’s a little expensive..all that candy! Yes, it’s very unhealthy. But we love doing it! img_4149We’ve got a great recipe for icing/glue. Tastes terrible, but it’s super strong. This year we had a tank, birdhouse, Rapunzel’s tower, and some very creative houses. img_4153All these things, that we do every year, are building such sweet memories for me and the kids. I know I will look back on these days as the best times ever. img_4154

A spot for their own

img_4063I’ve seen those beautiful trees on Pinterest. The ones with burlap wrapped artfully around a 12 foot tall tree. Ones all sparkly with silver and teal. Ones aglow with thousands of lights and beads. Or the ones that appeal most to me. Rustic ones. Real pines. img_4087But rather than kick my kids out of the living room while I decorate the tree to my liking, we make it a whole family affair. Homemade ornaments. Minion ornaments. Gaudy ornaments. Ornaments that are falling apart that they just can’t bear to part with this year, maybe next year, or not. I hear squeals as ornaments are unpacked, and we relive the memories that come with each one. Everyone claimed a territory on the tree for hanging their personal ornaments. They tried to defend and outline their borders with  strands of gold beads. However, when my tree began to resemble the board game, Axis and Allies, I drew the line. img_4090But there are still branches bending under the weight of 14 ornaments because children will insist they all hang together. And to be honest, I can relate. The first thing I do when I go to my parent’s house around the holidays, is find my ballerina ornament and make sure it is hanging in the “right spot”. Right next to my sister’s ballerina ornament. Then I check to make sure our angel ornaments are also hanging together. img_4077We have spent warm, cozy evenings singing carols by the light of the tree. And everyone is assured that their ornaments are just as cozy on the tree, hanging right where they should be. img_4080

Feasting

img_4010This year we celebrated our Thanksgiving feast at a friend’s house surrounded by warm candlelight, loud laughter, tantalizing scents, secret smiles, nursing babies, steaming foods. It was such a blessed year, one day of thanks seems so trivial. img_4006Health. How often we take it for granted. Our children are so healthy and strong and happy. Money. How often we complain we don’t have enough. But the abundance in our home is almost grotesque. We have so much we forget what we have. Food. Irritated at the chore of making dinner each night? Um, how fortunate we are to have a stocked pantry and freezers. Friends. We are all flawed. We are all on a journey. But how sweet to travel this road of life with beloved friends by our side. Thank you, Jesus, for your abundant Goodness in our life.img_4007

Halloween fun!

Gloria spent half the night as a fairy, the other half as a storm trooper because the girls couldn't agree on a costume!

Gloria spent half the night as a fairy, the other half as a storm trooper because the girls couldn’t agree on a costume!

Forget trick-or-treating in the country! You’d have to walk miles for a few snack size candy bars. We opted to visit the church’s fall festival, instead. There were fun games for the kids. Food for everyone. More candy than anyone needs. img_3902And a  fun light show presenting the gospel. The little ones had a blast tossing washers, digging for dinos, tossing bean bags, shooting water guns, dunking basketballs and collecting candy. Good thing our dress up bin is so well stocked. We decided to go at the last minute but costumes are never a problem at this house!img_3925

A Fresh Start

IMG_1490A New Year has been rung in with style! And I’ve spent the first days of it curled up in the recliner, smelling fresh baby head. I’ve made no ambitious resolutions. I’ve not accomplished anything that the world would deem “important” in these first few days. I’ve merely been here. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically. Here for the kids that toiled and slaved away giving me a respite in my bed for the first days after Gloria’s arrival. Here to read stories. Ruthies favorites are “There’s a nightmare in my attic” and “Little Mommy”. All reading family members have read them over and over and over. Here to walk through schoolwork with my pupils. We are reading “Hungry Planet” for health and geography. It is a fascinating book with large colorful photographs of families around the world and what they eat in a typical week. Here to peruse seed catalogs and argue with myself about starting another season. I’ve let the chickens in the garden to hopefully eat any last squash bugs that are lingering. I figure they can do no more damage than those rascally piglets. Here to turn over compost (lots of worms!) and breed rabbits (long overdue and not earning their keep). But, really this post was supposed to be about our New Year’s Eve celebration… We hosted a dance/game night this year.IMG_1464Not sure when the baby would be born, I was hesitant to plan any events, but the kids all pitched in and helped and it went really well. Gloria was only a week old, so she slept through most of it, but all the other kids danced and played the night away. IMG_1520They all made it to midnight, even the old folks. This dance was much less formal than our other affairs, and it worked out so well with the little kids. There was room to run around, chase, fight (!), and skate. IMG_1510Basketball, board games, jump rope and scooters took over, once the dancing came to an end. Thanks to all our friends who came out to help welcome in the New Year with us and made it a such a fabulous night! IMG_1496