Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Watch This Movie... Tonight.

Snuggling under a cozy throw in front of the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree and relishing a good Christmas movie is one of my favorite things to do on cold winter evenings. 

However, finding a Christmas movie that is about the real meaning of Christmas and absent of gag-worthy santa propaganda is like trying to find your daughter's favorite Elsa sock when you need to head out the door in 4.3 minutes or less.  #santagetsoldafterawhile  #socksareinvisiblewhenyoureinahurry

Image result for max lucado christmas candle

Imagine my delight when the Rugged Mountain Man discovered a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas movie the other night.
Image result for max lucado christmas candle

Max Lucado's The Christmas Candle is based on his novel of the same name.  It follows the journey of one man, a town and a legend through hard times, through doubts and ultimately, back to faith.  Intertwined is a love story that's as much of a miracle as what the whole town experiences in the end. 

It's clean! 

It's wholesome! 

It's uplifting! 

And, it's well done, too! 

Image result for max lucado christmas candle

Additionally, being a fan of Charles Dickens and Pride and Prejudice era stories and scenery, I savored every bit of English scenery, charming architecture and exquisite costuming.  Fans of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South movie will be happy to see Leslie Hanville, who played Maria Hale, playing Bea Haddington, another central character.

Though not a musical, Susan Boyle ~ a Scottish singer and contestant on Britain's Got Talent ~ plays a part, lending her angelic voice to the theme song of the movie.  It was a high point in the movie for me, as her style and voice lean in the Celtic direction, a favorite style of mine. 

Image result for max lucado christmas candle

We finished this movie feeling uplifted and inspired.  It was worth watching.  I'm a repeat movie watcher, so I'm sure it will be one of my favorites for years to come.

As the movie has the death of a central character in the story line, deals with tragedy and an unwed mother, it isn't for the youngest of viewers, so no, the girlies haven't seen it yet.  We're still discussing how much the Littles and Bigs will understand and how much will go over their heads.  Plus, it could be a good discussion movie.  You watch it and decide for your family.  I'm looking forward to adding it to our movie collection; it's just that good.

If you've got Amazon Prime, it's free to watch there!  If you don't have Prime, try this link. 

Meanwhile, I'll be in the hunt to track down that book.  It's a must read for me!  Maybe I'll be able to read it during Christmas break...

Merry Christmas,


Monday, December 19, 2016

Did you ever wonder?

Did you ever wonder if your 3 year old has better time management skills than you?

Alternate captions:
"That's it.  I'm done waiting to go
to the Little Camo Guy's house." 
"I'm taking time into my own (capable) hands."
"Just rockin' out the time management over here." 
"Homeschooling: Teaching real life lessons...
like time management,
even to the youngest of students." 
Happy laughing, friends!


Friday, December 16, 2016

Getting a Little Pinteresting

It's been a little Pinteresting around here lately.

I find that Pinterest can help you covet
it can help you put to good use what you've already got. 
In this case, my growing collection of vintage aqua mason jars became budget centerpieces for a small post birth baby get together for a friend.  I had warm fuzzies to see something I've collected from my grandparents, my husband's grandparents, our friends and my mom being used to give someone else joy.

With the help of my mom and sister in law, we put together a "Thankful" celebration for my sister's coming baby boy bundle.
I'd noticed this autumn~esque centerpiece on Pinterest. 
I was thrilled to dig out my enamel basin that I'd snagged
from the Rugged Mountain Man's grandmother's estate.

Some scrap burlap, jute twine, a few leftover artificial leaves and a sharpie
became a simple "Thankful" pennant.

My sister in law shared this pennant idea... some more leftover artificial leaves, inexpensive clothespins and scans of favorite book pages made a cute book and leaves pennant. 
You might also notice our tin can luminaries on the Fall mantle.  They were yet another project from our Colonial life study, representing the tinsmith vocation that was popular during that time period.

As the holidays progressed, we wanted to do a fun little Christmas decoration update.  With a coupon for some fun lumberjack flannel, our own leftover burlap and ribbon, a Buffalo plaid garland took shape in less than fifteen minutes.  That's the kind of crafting I do these days, y'all!

I pulled off the update of the tree too, by using a new-to-us Christmasy quilt for a tree skirt and lumberjack plaid ribbon for the tree too.  It isn't a huge change from last year, but for $5.00, the whole family enjoyed making our Christmas decorations look more "us."  (You already know that our red and black plaids are a bit conspicuous.
And the Rugged Mountain Man pronounced this "the best tree yet!"

The girls and I put the enamel basin to work again,
tweaking the centerpiece to reflect their tea party's theme of an old-fashioned Christmas. 

The effect was thoroughly charming. 
At one point, my sister and I went back and forth through the house, proclaiming that we could smell something burning.  Eventually we discovered a few smoldering boughs in the centerpiece!  Never doubt a woman's nose!

The boughs are from a bush out front that "needed to be trimmed," (read: if Mommy knew how to use the chain saw, she'd cut it down herself.)  The Blossoms harvested holly sprigs from our own holly bushes, proving yet again that festive doesn't have to be pricy. 
I continue to use my sister's Pinterest mantra ~
When Pinterest stops inspiring you
and starts making you feel bad,
it's time to get off. 
However, I'm thrilled that Pinterest has inspired us to use what we've already got
to beautify in simple ways. 
Happy Pinteresting, friends!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Our Own Taffy Pulling Bee

Remember how we coordinated history curriculum with our trip to the historic triangle? 

Studying colonial life was fascinating.  We thoroughly enjoyed that trip to Colonial Williamsburg.

We learned that many times the colonists would band together
in gatherings referred to as "bees" to work and play.
The girlies just wouldn't let me forget that the colonists had taffy pulling bees.
Taffy pulling sounds like sticky sweet fun, right?  Sign us up!

I can hardly blame them for their fascination with taffy pulls, as I'd read a Christmasy novel that involved folks pulling taffy for old-fashioned fun and it picqued my curiousity as well. 
I mean, taffy-pulling sounds like something everyone should try at least once, right?

When Daddy was away slaying deer for the family freezer,
we decided that a nice, quiet evening was perfect for pulling taffy.

Keep in mind, I've never pulled taffy before and I don't have a fantastic track record with candy that requires a candy thermometer.  (Too many distractions around, perhaps?)

We utilized this recipe.  Can you tell Blossom4 wasn't thrilled about pink slime on her hands?

Grammie called right in the middle of waiting for the candy thermometer to reach the right temperature.  She remembered putting powdered sugar on her hands when pulling taffy as a kid.  This proved to vastly increase our enjoyment of the whole experience. 
We were sure to share a bag of taffy with her!

Oh, the giggles, friends!

What a kick we got out of smooshing
and stretching
and pulling
and demonstrating
our pink slime to each other. 

Blossom4 was "done" almost immediately and resorted to handing me taffy candies for wrapping. 

The rest of the girlies eventually pulled their taffy into ropes and we came out with plenty of taffy to share with their friends.  Of course, it didn't even compare to yummy saltwater taffy or the I Ching of taffy, a huckleberry flavor shared by some cross country road-tripping friends.  Perfection is never achieved the first time around, but it sure was fun aiming for it anyway. 
It should be noted that Blossom1, true to form, said we should sell taffy.  I doubt that the recipients of our pink taffy would agree with her. 
Blossom2 vastly exaggerated her stretching dramatics, causing us to double over in laughter. 
Blossom3 was particularly enthralled with slicing the taffy ropes into bite-size pieces with my nifty "scrape shovel" kitchen utensil. 
As for me, I was astounded that no one got it in their hair.

Friday, December 9, 2016

An Artsy Autumn Afternoon

Clearly on one of the last warm days of autumn, we decided a project was in order. 

I like to save Sunday afternoons for resting, for family, for refreshing our focus, for thinking, for breathing, for starting fresh.  There's even room for family fun.  I think Daddy was napping in front of a football game.  Craft projects with girlies make naps for daddies much more realistic.

Which is why, I told Blossom1 and Blossom2 to get out their craft kits they got for their birthdays. 

Then, digging into my "stash," which is alternately a life-saver and on other days, a clutter disaster, I brought out some plain white t-shirts, which turned a two girlie project into a project for everyone!  (insert my Chance voice from the Homeward Bound movie... "there's plenty for everyone!!")

Y'all, I can't stand messes inside.  As a good friend of mine jokes, "They make me twitchy." 
But outside, they don't seem to bother me, which is why this table was cause for celebration.  I could totally picture crafts happening here!  When mama chills, everybody enjoys themselves more!

With stencils, puffy paints, plain t-shirts and tote bags, the girlies were happy campers.  Well, they were happy as long as I scrupulously supervised Blossom4, thereby preventing her from methodically squeezing each puffy paint pen into enormous puddles of paint on her t-shirt. 
The thing that I loved most is that the crafting inspired generosity too. 

Blossom1 and Blossom2 used their leftover supplies to craft a sweet little Winnie the Pooh library bag for their cousin's birthday!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Remember to Forget the Elf

It's Christmastime and our daily Follow the Star tradition has recommenced.  The girlies are loving it!

Here's the quick and realistic version for all you busy mamas:
#1 - Let your kiddos make a popsicle stick star. 
#2 - Clean up the glitter, scraps, ribbon and glue mess from said popsicle stick star craft, after perpetrators have mysteriously disappeared outside. 
#3 - Tell yourself that it really is ok that it doesn't look a traditional Star of David.
#4 - Explain to the kiddos that you'll hang it after they go to bed each night, thus silencing the howls of rage over who gets to hang it first and then, each successive evening. 
#5 - Laugh as they come shooting out of bed the next morning and pound through the house like a herd of elephants in search of the star.
#6 - Proclaim that it's okay that they all found the star at the same time!
#7 - Close your eyes and hold your breath as your little ones "carefully" move each wise man and camel to the site of the star.
#8 - Smile and remember that amidst all of the things you're not doing and you're not keeping up with, you ARE helping them to learn what Christmas is really about. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016