Christmas, and Other Things

Just need to clarify something real quick:  my last post is dated December 25th, but it sounds as if it was written on the 24th.  That’s because it was posted at 12:02 a.m. on Dec. 25th (or something like that).  It was written on the 24th.

We had a wonderful Christmas.  We don’t get up at the crack of dawn to open presents any more.  We get up, eat breakfast leisurely, some people get dressed (I am done with being in Christmas pictures in my pajamas), and then people gather to open gifts.  This lasted for a little while, and then we just…chilled.  Nothing really all that exciting.  I took a 2 1/2 hour nap or something like that.  I was working on getting over a cold (and I am still working on getting over it).

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” concert on Friday was WONDERFUL!  Mom and I made a whole afternoon of it and had so much fun.  The concert was great, and I was SO glad that I got to be there.

We arrived at Powell a bit early, so I asked Mom if I could take some self-portraits out in front of Powell.  It was snowing, and the sign was so pretty.  So we walked from where we parked, over to the front of Powell (a walk of several minutes).  I didn’t wear my jacket.  I did not want it in the self-portraits.  (Of course, right?)  When we were standing there, Mom realized that she had left her cell phone in the car.  We were already planning to take my camera back to the car, so we would grab it then.  Well, when we walked back to the car, we forgot to grab her phone.  We remembered it once we got all the way back in front of Powell.  So we turned around and marched right back to the car.  I think we made the round trip from the car to Powell Hall and back 2 1/2 times.  Just burning calories, right?

I was without my jacket throughout all of this.  Completely by choice, though.  Yes, call me silly.  I know. I know.  Snowing, and I am without a jacket.  But, hey, I didn’t want to manage it inside Powell.

It was funny once it was over.  And it was a little funny while it was happening.

Oh, and I REALLY enjoyed a Caramel Brulee Latte from Starbucks.  Thank you, Mom!  It was AWESOME!

The rest of last week was mostly spent in doing things around the house – ironing, for instance.  And healing.  This cold is holding on.

I didn’t take that many pictures on Christmas.  Or any other day, really.  So here are a the few that I took.

_MG_6667

We had two candles burning while we were opening presents.  As you can see, in the middle of opening presents, the outside of the candle also caught on fire.  We put it out and lit just the wick again, but in a few moments, the outside had caught fire again.  This really wouldn’t have been that much of a problem, except for the fact that it smelled quite strongly.

_MG_6683

Self-portraits  🙂

_MG_6689

 

_MG_6695

 

Can you believe that this is the last day of 2012?  It seems to have gone by so fast, yet when I think back on it, it almost seems as if enough happened to fill two years.  But last Christmas seems not all that long ago.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Are you doing anything for New Year’s Day?  We aren’t.  We have never done a whole lot.  🙂

‘Tis the Night Before Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you all had just as lovely of a Christmas Eve as we did.  We continued our tradition of having the W.’s over.  We had an awesome time! We talked, played a game, and stuffed ourselves with ate our traditional prime rib dinner.

I love our Christmas Eve tradition.  It is so fun, so laid back, that there is very little stress involved.  It makes for a great time.

Melissa and I decorated the table, which we did last year.  This year Mom had purchased a new candle centerpiece.  (I’m not sure where I was going with that.  But we’ll just leave it there anyway.)

Before the W.’s got here, I pulled the gingerbread cookies out and frosted them.  I must confess that I *sigh* ate a few.  *Sob*  I will try better next time. 

Voice #2:  BUT IT IS CHRISTMAS, right?  Do I get ANY cheating around Christmas?

Voice #1:  If you hadn’t been cheating as often, yes.

Voice #2: BUT…

Voice #1:  Oh, don’t even go there.

Voice #2:  Just…whatever.

 

Never mind. Sometimes these things just happen.

As I was saying, *cough* I decorated the cookies today.  I was trying to be artsy and creative (which, although I can be the latter, I am NOT the former by any vast stretch of the imagination).  I tried several different things (swirlies was my best), but then I got stuck on words.  Words are so fun.

I kept trying to write “twinkle” on a small star-shaped cookie, but all that would fit was “twink.”  I tried to get it to fit twice, but only ended up with “twink” both times.  Later, as I was looking at them, I realized that I had gotten confused as to where the “i” was, and had dotted the first stroke of the “w” both times.  So I ended up with “tiwnk,” or probably more like *tries to find letters that look like what she wrote* nope.  They don’t have the letters I was using on the keyboard.  How did that happen?

 

Wow.  Maybe I should write my posts this late at night all the time.  It might make things a bit more interesting.

And who knows what I will come up with?

Maybe it is better that I don’t.

 

So I had lots of fun with words.  You’ll see in the pictures.

 

Do you see how long (and how many interruptions – FROM MY OWN BRAIN) it took for me to say that?

 

Anyway, now for the pictures.

 

_MG_6563

Like you really have to write this on a cookie.

_MG_6565

This too

_MG_6567

Again, this was pretty obvious

_MG_6569

It turns out, “yum” is really fun to write in cursive in frosting.

_MG_6575

I started thinking about Christmas carols, and thought about “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”  Well, when there is white, it is often on a tree, right?  So I put white on a tree.

Sometimes I’m not sure that I make a whole lot of sense.  Or that if I do, it is a rather silly sense that I make.

Whatever that means. 

(I really should write my posts this late at night!  I’m much more fun!)

_MG_6578

When I showed this to Melissa, she said that I should have written “wish”  on it (when you wish upon a star).  I completely agree.  I will have to do that next time.

_MG_6625

Again, another very obvious one.  But I think this one is quite cute.

_MG_6580

An M&M!  Love those things.  Have you seen the Chocolate Mint ones?  Anyone tried them?  I haven’t, but they sure sound good!

_MG_6583

This next set of cookies was inspired by my sister’s piano theory book.

_MG_6585

They often have things to decorate with notes, rests, and such, and they tell you which thing gets which symbol with numbers.

_MG_6589

Kind of a “decorate-with-music-symbols-by-number” thing.

(I am sure they have a more official name, but, as has been previously stated, it is late.)

_MG_6592

So I decided to try decorating cookies with musical symbols.  I should have tried to do the bass clef over again.

_MG_6594

But treble clefs are just so much more fun to do.

_MG_6596

They fit really well on the tree cookies.

_MG_6597

 

_MG_6598

I then started writing the titles of Christmas carols out on cookies.

(Ding Dong Merrily on High – I am going to put what each one is, since they are all not super easy to read.)

_MG_6602

One of my favorite Christmas songs (When Love Came Down)

_MG_6604

Christmas doesn’t fit on one cookie, or at least I didn’t think it would.  I didn’t try.  I might have ended up with something similar to “twink.”

(Sing We Now of Christmas)

_MG_6606

I love doing exclamation points!

_MG_6608

(Joy to the World – with an exclamation point!)

_MG_6621

(We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

 

And my grand masterpiece…

_MG_6614

This was SO FUN!

Thank you for putting up with all the cookie pictures.

_MG_6627

Our Christmas Eve table

_MG_6632

The centerpiece

_MG_6647

Reflection

_MG_6653

 

_MG_6662

Beauty on a plate (what else can I say?)

 

Oh, and one more thing…

_MG_6614

 

Merry Christmas!  May you all have a lovely, lovely Christmas!

 

Much love to you all,
Allison

Thanksgiving

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!  I certainly did!  We spent the day at our friends’ home, with another family from church and a few other people. 

It was a lovely day – nice and warm, so we were able to be outside.  Our friends had set up an obstacle course outside, and we enjoyed running it, seeing who could get the best time.  I ran it with my little friend.  🙂

We had an early dinner, followed with a time of Thanksgiving and singing.  After that we had pie and visited.  The evening was wrapped up with a game of Scattergories (I LOVE that game!).

On a food note, the day before I made a grain-free apple pie for our celebration.  I was worried that it wouldn’t turn out, but I was quite happy with the outcome.  I based it on my regular apple pie and pie crust recipes.

And now, for the photos.  🙂

_MG_5376

The night before – making the grain-free apple pie

_MG_5383

The grain-free apple pie – when I was taking this picture I was thinking, “Let’s hope this works!”

_MG_5388

A little hot cocoa made with coconut milk, served in a pretty cup with a pretty spoon.  Ahhh….

_MG_5455

On Thanksgiving – my photographer friend 🙂

_MG_5456

*Smile*

_MG_5486

Mom running the obstacle course with Meimei

_MG_5607

The LOVELY table – Sarah, you did and AWESOME job!

_MG_5608

 

_MG_5616

 

_MG_5621

 

_MG_5628

View from above

_MG_5631

 

_MG_5643

 

_MG_5653

With the candles lit and the cups filled

Confession:  Usually when I am at some sort of get-together, I take a bunch of photos at the beginning, then don’t take many more after that.  So, at this point in the evening, I put my camera down, and didn’t take any more photos until dessert.

_MG_5699

Pie time!

 

What did you do for Thanksgiving?

Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for.

My life is so full.  I sometimes don’t know how to say it, but I am so thankful for so many things.

I think I live the best life, for me.

I am astounded every time I think about all that God has given me, the wretched sinner that I am.  Why do I have all these wonderful things, me who deserves them so little?

I am so thankful that I have been saved from my sins.  I have been forgiven much.  Very much.  I am thankful for God’s hand in my life, guiding me and pointing me in the direction He wants me to go – in the way that most pleases Him.

I am so thankful for my family – 5 such awesome people.  They make me laugh every day.  We have so many great memories together already, and I look forward to many more.

My extended family is wonderful, too.  I’m thankful for them in my life.  Again, there are so many memories and happy times we’ve spent together.  Love you all!

I can’t believe the great friends that God has given to me and my family – you are such a blessing to me!  Sometimes I wonder how I got to have these lovely people as friends, and although I can’t figure it out, I am so thankful for all of you!

I am thankful for each day God gives to me.  Each day is such a blessing, just to wake up and be.  To enjoy so much.  Just to live.

I am thankful for all the interests God has blessed me with.  Cooking.  Cheese making.  Soap making.  Nutrition.  Herbal health care.  Midwifery.  There are so many, and they make me so excited.  🙂 I can’t help being thankful for them.  Basically, I’m thankful that God make me, me.

I am so thankful for all the beautiful things around me.  The trees in the pasture across the road.  Sunrises.  Sunsets.  The rosebush outside my windowThe creekThe woods.  Our lovely property.  I look out of our windows so many times and think, “I live on the most beautiful place on earth.”  Because it is so special to me, and I know the places.

So this is what I have to say:

Thank you, God. 

Thank you for these lovely people.

And thank you for this lovely life.

 

With so much to be grateful for,
Allison

_MG_5301

Some loveliness that I spotted the other morning

_MG_5311

 

_MG_5314

 

_MG_5321

Beading and a Thanksgiving Confession

So I have to tell you.

Don’t take this the wrong way.  I am not complaining.  I love Thanksgiving – the time with friends, family, and the food.

But there’s one thing I should tell you.

Are you ready?

I don’t like turkey.

I know.  You’re shocked.  How can anyone NOT like turkey?

This *actually* shouldn’t be that surprising, if you knew that I am not a big fan of roast chicken.  I like chicken, but not a whole, roasted chicken.  I know – slightly odd.

But I like the stuffing.

Oh, how I like stuffing.

I could stuff myself with stuffing.  And sometimes I do.

But I am hoping that I won’t do that this year.

Anyways.

Oh, random question:  Has anyone heard of a Turducken?  Have you ever tried one?  I’ve heard of them, but never had one.  They sound…interesting.

Well, now that we’ve covered that, it is time to get to the fun part.

Last week I pulled out my beading supplies when a friend was visiting.  I hadn’t taken my beads out since last year, when the same friend was over.

So we did some beading.  She made a bracelet.  And I started an anklet. 

I’ve wanted to make an anklet for awhile.  I can’t wear bracelets, because they aggravate my wrists.  So I thought anklets would be a good alternative.  And I have one anklet that I made when I was maybe 10.  But it no longer fits.

Wow.  That was a bit ramble-y.

So after some brainstorming, and grabbing a handful of jewelry that I had made, I decided to take apart an old necklace and remake it into an anklet.

So this is what I ended up with.

Nothing fancy.  Just a simple everyday anklet.  It is about the color of denim, so I can wear it with most of my skirts.

_MG_5361

These are rather uninteresting pictures

_MG_5362

But I’ll post the more interesting pictures later

Once I had finished this anklet, I saw some other beads that I had, and they inspired me.  So I then made this bracelet for Mom.

_MG_5330

I am really happy with how this turned out

_MG_5329

 

And now for the fun pictures.  =)

_MG_5332

 

_MG_5333

Love the specular highlights

_MG_5337

 

_MG_5342

 

_MG_5343

 

_MG_5346

 

_MG_5353

 

_MG_5367

 

_MG_5370

 

_MG_5372

 

_MG_5374

 

_MG_5375

The Trees in the Pasture Across the Road

I love the trees in the pasture across the street.  I know I’ve said that before, but they are so beautiful I had to say it again.  And you will probably hear it again at some unknown date.

Anyways.

The in the past week, when I have gone out to get the mail, I stop and look at them.  Sometimes I run out with my camera when the light is really great.  Here are some of the shots from the last few days.

_MG_5259

I know that these are basically all pictures of the same thing

_MG_5261

But bear with me

_MG_5287

‘Cause I love them all

_MG_5290

And I’ll try not to be to repetitious

_MG_5291

And annoying

_MG_5293

But I really like these trees

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope you have a lovely day, like the one I am looking forward.  A day full of friends, family, and food.  And thankfulness.

So, what are your plans?

Love,
Allison

Reformation Day Faire 2012

Last weekend was the Reformation Day Faire in Peoria, IL.  This was our second year, and it was very nice.  I especially enjoyed the dance that was on Saturday evening.

This year we rented a motor home, and stayed in that.  It was quite interesting.  Definitely very squishy.  It made for more comfortable traveling, I would have to say.  We also brought Lucy with.  Apparently she got out once while we were at the conference and ran around the church were it was held.  Mom had to chase her around and catch her.  I missed all this, and appeared right after she was caught.  Lucy really liked the motor home.  She was looking for it after we got home.

To give a brief synopsis:

Thursday Dad picked up the motor home and we packed it (this is also the day that I did these self portraits).

Friday we drove up to the Faire.  On the way, Dad surprised us with a copy of “The Avengers.”  I was so excited I started screaming.  😀  We watched that on the way up.  We made it there on Friday in time to hear one speaker.  The concert by the Wintons was that evening.

Saturday there were some talks in the morning, followed by the town square.  The boffer war was at 4:30, and dinner was at 5:30.  The dance was started at 7:30.

We stayed for church on Sunday morning, and left shortly after the fellowship meal.

And that’s that.

Here are some of the photos I took.  I didn’t take all that many during the conference, but I did take a bunch on the way home.  Why shooting through a dirty windshield while flying down a highway at 60 mph is fun I’m not quite sure, but it is.  🙂

Oh, and we also got to see the Wintons perform again!  I have the photos to prove it.  😛 I think this makes a total of 4 concerts in 8 days – 1 two Fridays ago, another the following Saturday, and then one this past Friday, and another this past Saturday.  I think we can definitely be called groupies.  🙂

_MG_4553

Getting packed on Thursday evening – Meiling being funny

_MG_4574

Friday – Lucy being her normal absolutely adorable self!

_MG_4566

My silly brother.  Just got to love him.

_MG_4569

Content passengers

_MG_4582

Relaxin’, and my view, in a way

_MG_4583

I worked on this post on the way up

_MG_4591

Lovely view

_MG_4612

[Does this need a caption?]

_MG_4617

Meiling playing and looking out the window

_MG_4627

 

_MG_4630

*Smile*

_MG_4644

Hey, look!  It’s the Wintons!

_MG_4650

Meiling enjoying the concert

_MG_4655

Saturday – walking to the park

_MG_4657

 

_MG_4660

An impromptu portrait session with two friends, Lily (pictured) and Josh (a fellow photographer) – see my Josh’s much better photographs here (and check out some of his other photos – he has some absolutely amazing ones of the Faire!).

_MG_4663

 

_MG_4674

 

_MG_4678

My friend Bethany  😀

_MG_4684

Sunday – on the way home, taking only too many pictures.  🙂

_MG_4690

Lu, sitting on my lap

_MG_4705

Self-portrait – these were so fun!

_MG_4708

Now doesn’t this look like I was standing all calm and serene on the edge of this pasture, instead of flying down the highway?

_MG_4710

“So away we go, down that forever road.”

_MG_4716

The cards I was using to play Solitaire before I hopped up front with Dad

_MG_4724

“Life is a highway…

_MG_4730

…I want to drive it all night long.”

_MG_4732

Bridges

_MG_4739

Crossing the river

_MG_4741

“…makes me want to take a back road.”

_MG_4745

Hi again!

_MG_4755

Lucy’s here!

_MG_4757

I love roads.  Oh, you could tell?  I wonder how you figured that out!

_MG_4759

I love the greens in this one

_MG_4786

This little blue car was so cute!

_MG_4817

I couldn’t believe it, but at the gas station we stopped at, they actually had A DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHA!!!!  I haven’t seen one of these since we went to Branson, and I have looked at several gas stations.  I am so glad I finally found one.  😛

_MG_4828

Meiling using her drink for a microphone

_MG_4835

 

_MG_4836

Bein’ silly

The Creek

Next to our home runs a private road.  Part of it has gravel, but the majority of it is just a mix of rocks, dirt, and plants.  The trees grow over it, so most of the way is shaded.  The wildflowers are blooming next to it.  After about a ten or fifteen minute walk down this road, you reach the creek.

When you first reach the creek, you walk out under the open sky into full sun.  On the right the creek is shallow and shaded with tall trees arching over it, giving the water underneath a dappled look.  On the left there are lots of rocks, with the creek getting narrower and deeper, with trees hanging over it from the farther bank.

We walked down to the creek this past Sunday.  I took my camera (surprise, surprise).  We also brought our black lab Shadow, who loves to swim.  Noah and Meiling played fetch with her, and Dad threw the ball occasionally.  I took pictures of the whole thing.

Here are some of the photos.  I was quite unhappy as there were all these lovely wildflowers and I hadn’t brought my macro lens, since I was trying to reduce baggage. 🙂

_MG_8156

 

_MG_8166

The road to the creek

_MG_8172

This looks fairytale-like to me

_MG_8188

To the right

_MG_8194

I love water, ripples…

_MG_8197

…and sun sparkles!

_MG_8206

 

_MG_8211

Throwing the ball for the dog

_MG_8222

Playing in the water

_MG_8239

I found this plant interesting

_MG_8256

Sloshin’ around

_MG_8272

To the left

_MG_8293

When you get wet, you have to shake all that water off.

_MG_8294

Sometimes your lips look weird.

_MG_8295

But it always feels good

_MG_8296

Oh yeah

_MG_8303

Noah

_MG_8308

This is going to be a new tradition – a lens cap picture wherever I go

_MG_8350

More dog shaking off pictures – sorry, they’re just so fun

_MG_8351

That feels good.

_MG_8355

Just lovin’ those yellow boots

_MG_8393

Foot pictures…also very fun

_MG_8395

 

_MG_8407

Flowers without a macro lens

_MG_8424

I like how this one turned out

_MG_8443

Where we took a little stroll – an even older road

So what did you do for Resurrection Sunday?  We didn’t do a whole lot.  Since some of us have been sick, we stayed home from church so not to infect everyone.  Nothing to fancy – we went to the creek, read Bible, played badminton, and had dinner.  Do you have a Resurrection Sunday tradition?

Happy Friday!

~Allison

Chinese Dinner

For Chinese New Year, I had planned to make lettuce wraps, dumplings, wonton soup, chicken and broccoli, rice, and steamed cake for dessert.  I made everything like I planned, with two exceptions: I forgot to start the rice early, and I forgot about the mango that I was going to slice to go in the lettuce wraps.  Thankfully Mom had some rice in the freezer, but we didn’t end up eating it anyway.

Meiling was quite the little helper.  She helped me make the cake and fold all the wontons and dumplings.  It was quite fun to have her in the kitchen with me!

IMG_2478

The cake, ready to go into the steamer

IMG_2484

My little helper

IMG_2486

The wontons ready to be folded…

IMG_2493

…and put in the soup

IMG_2501

Dumplings being fried

IMG_2509

Chicken and broccoli

IMG_2515

Ready to eat

IMG_2524

Lettuce wrap

IMG_2530

Wonton soup