Wednesday, December 26, 2007

a Jolly Christmas

And it tastes just as good as it looks! Thanks to Miranda for the "Jolly" Starbucks mug that she remembered that I really wanted and to my friend Cindy for the yummy hot Chocolate and marshmallows from Williams-Sonoma.

As I sit here savoring the memories and the moments from the past two days, my heart is so full of joy and contentment. What more can I say... so I will leave you with these images and let them speak for themselves.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" How many times have I heard Andy Williams sing that song this month! But it really is a wonderful time to reflect on the birth of Christ, when God became a man, to be the Savior of all the world.
Thank you Jesus for loving us that much!

Yesterday was full of the sweetest blessings. As Christmas music played in the background I wrapped gifts, sewed a stocking night cap for a costume that my oldest son needed for a party, then took it to him at the Apple store to make sure it fit, I baked, I cooked, I ate, I poured over Christmas letters from loved ones, did a load of laundry (then my machine died... sure hope Santa shops at Sears), watched "Polar Express" for the first time with my darling husband and adorable son, who both have bad colds (ok, so Tyler & I did fall alsleep on the pull-out couch along with Wiley & Koda and missed some parts, but loved the movie!) and talked on the phone with my precious daughter as she went about her day. What more could a Mother want! I love my life!
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

a few of my favorite things

Cloche covered sugar houses, churches and trees, vintage glass ornaments and my Caroling family are just a few of my favorite things. They make the Holidays happy in our home!

I am so excited to introduce you to the newest member of the Caroling family. Is she not the sweetest! Last week I went to Savers and there she was. I fell in love. Don't you just love her spirit and passion for singing. Mmmm... whatever will I name her?
Yes, I have named the adults... Mrs. Hanson (after my 5th grade teacher- yes, she was as serious and strict and bossy as she looks here, but a very good teacher I might add), Uncle Stan (my Aunt Selma's husband that passed away several years ago) and Aunt Eva (both her and my Uncle Odell have been gone for several years). Maybe I will name the kids after each of my grandkids, as they are born. Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

my mitten garland

My Mom sent me the best birthday present... mittens made by my Mom! And as you can see, I don't actually wear them. Hello, I live in Phoenix. These mittens have another purpose. They grace my front window every winter. I love my mitten garland! I have several pair of mittens that my Mom made for me and my kids over the years. And I cherish each and every one of them. I even have the pair that I knitted while I was in high school. I knitted alot back then, scarves, hats, bags and mittens. Oh and I can't forget crocheting hundreds of granny squares! We're talking the 70's! YA, granny square vests, granny square afgans... I would crank em out just cuz they were so fun and fast! And what else are you gonna do when you're snowed in for days on end!
Anyway, the rest of my mittens were found at thrift stores and I am especially thrilled when I come across a homemade pair rather than the factory-made, store-bought mittens. They're such treasures worth displaying! Wouldn't you agree?!

Monday, December 17, 2007

rice night

Rice Night is one of the highlights of the Christmas season. Our dear friends Steve & Grace host the coolest event where we all bring a favorite dish from our childhood. Steve spends hours cooking this glorious, custardy, Scandinavian rice topped with a generous pat of butter and cinnamon. YUMO! I always bring my Swedish meatballs and my friend Barb brings her homemade lefse to wrap around the meatballs. Such a fun, festive night with our dearest friends. Here Steve and John are prepping for the Tom & Jerrys that add to the holiday cheer. Cheers!

Shawn & Nicole savoring the hot, creamy rice.

My dear friend Grace and I... and her lovely tablescape.

Ok, I have got to set the record straight. Those were not my baskets of beer seen in my birthday post below! I had no idea what were in those baskets that Miranda and I were seated next to! We were having lunch at the Duck & Decanter in Phoenix and decided to enjoy our lunch in the loft where they deplay all their gift baskets. So you can imagine my surprise when many of you took note of the contents!! Too funny!
Btw, Duck & Decanter is a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Very unique, one-of-a-kind gifts.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

my birthday

I don't know how else to say this... but I am having the best birthday ever! Seriously, I will never forget these past couple days. I have never felt so loved and affirmed. I am blessed to have friends and family that love me for who I am. I am grateful to be a part of a staff that so freely lives out the truths that we teach here at Open Door Fellowship. And I am humbled to have a husband that is so supportive, and desires for me to be all that I am created to be.
And I couldn't ask for more thoughtful and caring children. The fact that they love each other so much is truly the sweetest gift ever.
My heart is full. My life is rich. In Him. In all of you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

my Waechtersbach dishes

I am sooo thrilled that we are having lots of rain here in Phoenix! Makes me so happy and well, rain makes it feel so wintery. I can pretend there is snow on the ground and that I am stuck indoors with the woodstove all fired up and the house all warm and cozy.
SO, I had to make myself some yummy hot chocolate. What makes it so yummy you may ask? Well, it's a secret. But I will tell you my little secret. Make yourself a steaming mug of hot chocolate and then... add a splash of Peppermint Schnapps! Oh my gosh, what could be more festive during the Holidays on a dark, rainy afternoon! And then, here's the topper... literally, the topper... add a dollop of FROZEN Cool Whip. Yes, frozen! Seriously, try it. You will never go back to marshmellows. ever. again.
So, that and my peanut MnM's on a cold, rainy day... mmmm, simply priceless.

Love displaying my Waechtersbach Christmas dishes from Germany every year!! They are truly my pride and joy of all my Christmas collections!
Many, many years ago I found six 'irregular' plates at a Christmas liquidation store for $6.00 each. I never dreamed I would ever add to those six plates. But over the years I found 4 complete place settings at a little thrift store in Pine, Arizona for $25.00! That is like the cost of one single plate! And then I got several more place settings and the matching wine glasses from my cousin Shelly. She brought them back from Germany many years ago. Can you believe it! I am forever grateful.

THEN, while Randy & I were back in Wisconsin in October, my sister Ginny surprised me with "The Star" baking dish!! She had found it for a deal. (retails for over $40.00!) Oh and that big serving bowl was a TJ Max find for $5.00!

Linking up SHOW AND TELL FRIDAY @ Romantic Homes

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Lego Santas

One of my favorite Christmas Collections got started in the 80's.
Being the Lego-maniacs that we are, it was only natural that I would start collecting the little Santa Lego packs found at Toys-R-Us check-out counters. They came out with a new Santa each year and were only available in the late 80's and early 90's. I was so glad I bought them each year for my kids. Aren't they just adorable! They sold for around a dollar each.

But a few years ago I was surprised to find Lego Advent Calendar sets at Barnes & Nobles and the following year at Target. Every day leading up to Christmas the kids would put together a Lego Santa or an Angel or Snowman or some sorta toy. My husband still builds a set each day, even though the kids are grown. Then when Christmas is over, we take each of them apart so they are ready for next year.

The last couple years I have picked up these Mega Bloks sets at Target that are so cute.
SO, I haven't found any new sets this year yet. Have you? PLEASE let me know if you have! Thanks!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

repurposing ornaments

I LOVE decorating for Christmas! I love to pull out all our treasured ornaments each year and recall the stories associated with each of them. These 'space-age' looking ornaments were given to us several years ago from my Aunt Evelyn's estate. I was so dissappointed the other day when I discovered one of the glass balls had broken.
Now you need to know I pride myself in repurposing and recycling everything. So I examined it closely to see what it could become, saw nothing and threw it in the trash.
WELL, an hour later I came upon one of my very favorite blogs and took a double take... do you see what is around that bird statue below? The remains of my ornament that I had just thrown away! What was I thinking?! Well, I quickly dug it out of the trash with plans to repurpose in a similar fashion.
Thanks Heather for the inspiration! Now go check out her blog here!

Monday, December 03, 2007

why are my kids so happy?

because they are about to meet their cousin Matt & Sylvia's little baby...

ELIJAH!!! Isn't he the cutest! Take a look at those big brown eyes!
Matt & Sylvia and their precious ELIJAH are visiting from Germany where Matt is stationed in the Air Force. So awesome having them home for the Holidays!

They also got to meet their cousin Ben's fiance Helen. They live in Southern California and came home to meet little ELIJAH! What a sweet couple. So thrilled to have her in our family!

What a blessing to have this special photo op of four generations!
Elijah's Papaw Thompson * Elijah's Papa Thompson * Elijah's Daddy Thompson
(Randy's dad, brother Don and nephew Matt)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

let the season begin

Ok, so the concert is over, and it was wonderful and as always, it was just what I needed to put me in the right frame of mind going into the Christmas season. Trust me, leading up to last nights concert was not pretty... lots of stress and fear and worry and every other emotion in-between. To put it mildly, I was not easy to be around. I can get that way. Focusing on the wrong things, negative thoughts, emotions all over the place. All because I choose to make it all about me rather than Christ in me. Man, I can make my life so much harder than it needs to be.

What did Randy say last night? That as much as we attempt to fill our lives with things that make us happy and comfortable, deep down we are still left empty, longing for that peace, joy and contentment that is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Randy reminded us that this is not our home. We are aliens and strangers. With one purpose. To give our lives away. To love. To model Christ. To give grace. Oh, I want that to be true about me. But I tend to clutter up my life with so many things that distract me from being aware of those around me that have needs. Those longing to be loved, to be known.
So, I am grateful this morning. I have hope. I am renewed. I am ready for the season to begin.

My daughter Miranda, me and our friend Jess on bass.