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Friday, December 31, 2010

Holidays on the Farm

When I think back about the holiday season growing up on a farm, the thing that really comes to mind is cutting our own Christmas tree from "the back 40".

We were always a Live Tree family.

Tromping out to the woods behind the house, always on a cold, cold day, to pick out the perfect tree with my Dad was an annual tradition.

Only we never got to pick the perfect tree.

We always had to get an icky-old cedar tree--and usually one with a flat spot on the back (because it was going up against the way anyway).
Dad was (is!) a practical kind of guy.

I always, always, always wanted to have one of those pretty, perfectly conically shaped pine trees that smelled sooo good.

But we had to save those. For what I don't know.

The few pines we had were ones Dad had planted himself. Many were from seedlings he'd brought back from a visit to Georgia.

Looking back, I have to admit, the cedar trees weren't so bad--especially now that I live in a fake-tree home (The Husband has allergies that banned the live tree a long time ago! This is our plastic tree as it is this year.).

I think it was more of an issue of The Forbidden Fruit that made the cedars seem so awful. Besides, it seemed we had at least 2.3 million of them on our Southern Indiana hills. And cedar trees are basically the vegetative equivalent of rats.

I do have one of the old glass ornaments we used to adorn those scrubby cedar trees. We had these in red and green.
I always loved them...
Just don't tell my mom that I swiped one when I was digging in the attic a few years ago!

Check out what is going on--or has in the past--during the holidays in the homes of other farm families by visiting the Real Farmwives of America link up on Facebook.

Have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Stuck Ball

It's only Wednesday and I'm feeling tapped already this week. I have some commentary about work, but I don't have the energy right now... Plus, I'm a bit on the crabby side. I might type something shameful.

So, I'm going Wordless this Wednesday with a picture from our family's Christmas break trip to the bowling alley. (Glamorous holiday travel, huh?)

That's BabyD's bowling ball stuck in the next lane. It should be rolling toward those pins on the right.
The ball slipped out of her hand, rolled half-way down the gutter of the neighboring lane and stopped.
The attendant didn't believe us... we got a lecture and a stern look about staying in our own lane.

Wordless Wednesday: Check Out This Manicure

Yeah, school is still out, and the daughters decided to do my nails...

Blue cheetah, thanks to a manicure set they got for Christmas...

But I got even.
I went out in public with is today! hahaha!

Monday, December 27, 2010

meet me on Monday

Big D couldn't do it today so Baby D (me) had to fill in for her.

1. What are your New Year's Eve plans?
: We usually just have a normal dinner and then stay up to watch the ball get lit up but Big D never makes it to midnight

2. How tall are you?
: I am exactly five feet tall but I am still growing

3. What is your favorite pudding flavor?
: My favorite pudding flavor would have to be vanilla with vanilla wafers

4. What room of the house do you blog the most in?
: I do it in any room but I only do it once and awhile and only do meet me on Monday

5. What is your best physical feature?
: my eyes because they sparkle and the pretty blue color

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Ornaments

My friend's tree always looks perfect with white lights and matching ornaments that her mother spends the whole day on. Our tree, however, looks nothing like that with assorted ornaments, colorful lights, and silver tinsel that goes everywhere. Throughout the year we collect ornaments from places we go on vacation or family trip/outing.

My mom decorates the top of the mantel with a nativity set that she's had forever.

I thought I'd share some of my favorite ornaments on our tree:

This is one of three sea horses we got during a trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. The sea horse is my all-time favorite.

The blue star in the background is also one of my favorites. I like it because it is glittery. :)

This one was one my mom brought back from her trip to Hungary earlier this year. The wife at one of the farms she visited makes these to sell. She weaves them out of straw. This is one of the traditional art forms for the Hungarians.
I have no idea where this came from, but the pig is adorable and it flies. Mom says it came from one of her college friends, so it's really old.
We seem to like going to aquariums (although we haven't been to one in a long time). This one came from a trip to the Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati. It's a colored glass fish. 

The ballerina came from our trip to the Biltmore Mansion. I was in kindergarten and wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up.

The cow is one I made from a little statue. I show Jersey heifers and wanted an ornament, but couldn't find one that looked like a Jersey. I put a wreath around its neck to make it look Christmasy.

The red gift with the dog head sticking out is my dad's. We got it the year we got Buttercup, our yellow Lab, just a couple weeks before Christmas.
The silver glass pinecone is a set that my mom and dad bought their first Christmas together.
This pretty glass ball with the little bumps on it is just really pretty. My grandma gave it to my mom one year.

This plastic ball is filled with shells from Myrtle Beach. We've spent five summer vacations there enjoying the beach.

We have a pickle on our tree. My mom bought this on a work trip she was on a long time ago.
I find it hilarious to have a pickle on the tree!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why "Santa" Isn't Coming To My House

Regular readers have probably figured out that I'm a bit messed up in a few areas of my life. Of course they all stem from my childhood, because who us comes out of adolescence unscathed in some way?
And Christmas is no exception for me.
Actually, it's not really Christmas. It's Santa.

Did the Jolly Old Elf visit your house as a child?
Yes, he was a regular at ours, each Dec. 24th. I was always
exciting because in the drafty old farmhouse we grew up in, The Big Guy had to make his entry in MY room!!! That's right! He'd have to sneak right past my sister and me sleeping, because the only intact fireplace left in the house was in our room! The other one was clogged up by the big wood stove my 'rents put in.

Talk about making it hard for a kid to sleep at night!
I thought I might actually get to sneak a peek...

Plus, everyone in the front of the school bus was all hyped up about Saint Nick's arrival and all the loot he'd be packing along.

Now, if you notice what I said (typed?), the kids in the front of the school bus knew all about Santa Claus and his dealings. That was where all the little kids sat.

However, dissidence was building in my head, because rumors were starting to trickle up from the back of the bus (aka, where the 6th graders sat) that some of this HoHoHo business might not be all it's cracked up to be...

That was really troubling to me, because:
A. As we all know: Everything you hear on the school bus is true. I think most people over the age of 30 recognize that the school bus was the major source of information and wisdom back in the day--seeing how we didn't have the Internet back then; and
B. Mom and Dad told me Father Christmas was coming.

What's a first grader to believe?
I double-checked the facts with some key influencers in my life:

  • The babysitter
  • Grandma
  • Siblings
  • Holiday TV specials
  • Mom and Dad
All agreed, yes, Santa Claus was indeed coming.

All of them wouldn't be lying. Right???
I clung to the truth as a knew it, figuring there must be some mistake.

Well, sure enough, the day came one Saturday when my mom was on her every-other-Saturday shift at the hospital. (I know she was working and not home, because that was the only way I could get away with playing with her stuff.)

My sister and I were deep in a session of Dress Up and decided the perfect accessory to whatever ensemble we'd assembled would be Mom's tall, black, shiny go-go boots. (I so wish you-all could meet my mom, because you would chuckle at the thought her wearing go-go boots at some point in her life! I'm chuckling right now!)

That's why I was digging in Mom's closet that fateful day, not long before Christmas.
Total innocence was about to go down in a ball of flaming disappointment as a burning seed of distrust in all that I knew and love and valued and counted on (am I getting a bit dramatic here? Sorry.) would be destroyed by one upward glance!

I happened to look up and, right there, on the top shelf on the right, was exactly what I wanted for Christmas.

And what my brother wanted.
And my sister, too. (Littlest sister was not yet born.)

How could this be? Our entire Santa list was right there, in MOM'S CLOSET!! (Keep in mind, our gifts only came from Santa. The 'rents never claimed to give us anything back then.)

I remember running to get my siblings to show them. Maybe we could figure this out together.
I was truly, truly confused.
And I couldn't ask Mom or Dad, because I kinda, sorta shouldn't have been "borrowing" Mom's shoes. That alone would've earned me a whoopin'.

The siblings and I came up with all sorts of scenarios, like "Maybe Santa dropped them off early" or "Maybe the toys are for our cousins". Anything at all to explain that we hadn't been victims of lies. Finally, we decided to wait and see if that was really the stuff that showed up Christmas morning.

Can I just say, that this was probably the one time I was really hoping I wasn't getting what I wanted for Christmas?
I'm serious here. I really, really felt like the whole world had been lying to me.
How could I face the future knowing that the truth in life was to come from the obnoxious kids sitting in the back of bus number 3???
(Fast-forward a couple years when I started hearing about sex from my fellow bus riders... but I digress...)

Sure enough, Christmas brought exactly what was in the top of Mom's closet. And the cousins didn't get anything close to it.

Right then and there, I decided I was never going to lie to MY kids about Santa and subject them to the crushing knowledge that parents aren't always truthful.
And I haven't.
The grandparents persisted in their efforts to perpetuate this lie upon the next generation, but I felt good knowing that my kids (where were instructed to play along anytime someone brought it up, so we don't ruin the pretend fun for other kids) knew I was always honest.

And that's why "Santa" won't be visiting our house this year.
Or ever.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Question Friday, and a Milestone

This week's been rather busy--but I don't think that's a shocker to anybody this time of year.

So, out of just being completely brain dead, I'm sticking with Five Question Friday for my post today.

I do want to give a bloggy shout-out to KD at Life Inspired by the Wee Man, who recently signed on and noticed she was my 100th follower. I told her I at least own her some balloons or something.

Welcome aboard, KD. I hope I don't make you regret it...

I never imagined this thing would go that far.
I think LittleD thinks I'm making up fake profiles on Google and following myself.

1. Do you regift...and if so, do you have a regifting horror story?

Heck, yes! And, no, I haven't had any horror stories--or I'd probably quit doing it!

2. Do you know what you are getting for Christmas this year?

I know at least two gifts... hehehe... I bought them myself and smuggled them to the girls to wrap up.
If you had The Husband buying for you, you'd understand...

Beyond that, I have an inkling of what I'm getting... because I fed a couple suggestions to the girls and they already blabbed that I wasn't getting the practical one that I really wanted. (No shock there; The Husband is doing the buying, afterall.) And, he hasn't taken the girls to DressBarn yet (the place he goes when he can't come up with anything else), so I have a feeling I'm gettin' the goods.

3. Who brings the most gifts in your family, you or Santa?

Me, of course. If it wasn't for me and my trusty Acadia doin' all that runnin' around, that tree would be bare!!! The Husband did ask that I at least tell him what we're giving the girls before they open it. (That was after I asked if he's shopping with me or if I'm doing it alone.)
We don't do Santa.
That should be a blog post. Maybe this weekend. How I'm still scarred by the reality of Santa Claus.

4. What store do you love to by jeans from?

Any where I can find them. I recently reentered the world of jeans. I literally went years without owning a pair--out of total disgust for not finding any that: A. fit, B. didn't make my butt look like the side of a barn, and C. ***most important***I was willing to pay for.
Yes, I'm cheap. And I don't care if you know it.

Sorry, but jeans are NOT worth $100 a pair to me. Who am I kidding?? Even half of that is too much.

I actually snagged the last pair for half-price at a little boutique near here, Chez Willee.
I won.

5. Christmas meal: Big, All Out Meal or Snacks and Apps?

Usually the big meal.
This year we're goin' to my brother's family's house (pre-Christmas shout-out to the SIL, my anonymous blog stalker). I hear we're having ham. (Love ham... or any pork product for that matter.) I'm bringing cookies and a dessert.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Does Your Wedding Dress Still Fit?

I really don't know the answer to that question myself.
I suspect I do... but I'm in no hurry to confirm it.
After all, 19+ years of cookin' for The Husband, birthin' two children and a sedentary office job just might be reflected in my thighs...

I had half a mind to try on the white taffeta dream when BabyD recently convinced me to pull it out for her to take a look.
Then I came to my senses.
So, I let her try it on.
(I didn't realize how bad the picture was until I uploaded it. Sorry for the blur.)
She immediately wanted to parade it around the house.
He 10-year-old little frame didn't exactly fill it up. But I did get an eerie peek into the future... and I had to shudder. Not ready for my baby girls to grow up just yet. Or be interested in boys. Or dating. Or all the other stuff that comes with...

The Husband and I were actually thinking of setting up an Arranged Marriage for each of the girls. That way we can by-pass some of the stress of teen girls dating. If they want to date, they can talk to their husbands. Sounds too simple.

Actually, I do have a co-worker who has been married for 37 years to a woman his parents picked. And he thinks it's a great system.
In fact, this summer, his son married a young woman he and his wife selected (along with the bride's family). The whole thing was very interesting to me. The son, who had graduated from college a little more than a year ago, was quite ok with the whole thing. His parents suggested it was time for him to "settle down" and they simply asked him if he'd like them to find a wife. The son totally had a choice about it, and agreed. In his family, and their culture, this is a normal part of life. Even here, in the United States, in 2010.

So, my first question to my co-worker was, "Where does one find a wife? Do you have a catalog? A web site? How do you go about that?"
Turns out, the folks from his native country is stay fairly well connected here in the U.S. They just put the word out to some other families with daughters of the marrying age and that's how they found the bride.

And she's not some uneducated girl trying to climb the economic ladder by marrying a U.S. citizen. She's a pretty, educated recent college grad, who grew up in the Western U.S. She, like the groom, just respects the cultural norm in her family.

The young couple had total veto power. They did meet and talk by phone, separated by several states. Any "dates" were chaperoned (see why I'm liking this for my daughters?). And, ultimately, they got to decide for themselves. I guess it's more like parental match-making. And, my co-worker says they feel good that their son is marrying into a good family, they've known for years, with common values. What more could you ask for for your child?

Fortunately, arranged or not, we're still years away from marrying off our girls.
But that doesn't stop me from keeping an eye out for good families with smart and charming boys.

BWS tips  button

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Party Time with The Girls!

As you all know, I'm a the leader of a Girl Scout troop. My loyal band of seven had our annual after-school Christmas party this last week.

The one thing I really appreciate about our annual shin-dig is the girls always make the presents for each other in the gift exchange. We draw names and discuss the rules every year. And they always, always, always say that's the best part.

And I love to see what they come up with.
One of the things BabyD's "Secret Santa" gave her was a tree ornament made from a real tennis ball. BabyD took up tennis this year. Santa-Girl even customized it with her name.

LittleD's giver made her brownie cupcakes with pink frosting (her fav) and a bookmark with a Yellow Lab on it.

After I loaded the girls up on sugar: Cupcakes and ice cream. We got busy on our special craft project. It's really easy and might be a good service project or gift for some older folks in your life.

My Scouts love to do crafts and we got this idea from one of the moms--she's a nurse at a rehabilitation center for senior citizens. My girls wanted to do a project to serve others--something we're always talking about. She said the patients are always losing their glasses. So, we decided to make beaded neck chains for their glasses--the kind librarians are notorious for. (Sorry to stereo-type any of you would-be librarians out there! My sister is a librarian, and I haven't seen her dawn one yet.)

I actually found those little loop-ends at JoAnn's. They come 30 to a pack.

LittleD and I spent about an hour pre-cutting the string and crimping the loops on ahead of time. This helped us jump right in at our Scout meeting, since we had to eat, exchange gifts and make 30 of these before we left.

I got a good deal on assorted beads. The girls just jumped in and started stringing their own designs.

I think these came out beautiful. I sat and crimped the other end as they finished them up. We had a pretty good assembly line.
We did make some of them with plain leather cord for the men. (We didn't think 88-year-old veterans would appreciate the pink and silver beads as much.)

Check out the first batch:

Pretty cool, huh?

We have a half-day before Christmas break, so the girls and I are going to put them in cute little gift bags and hand deliver them to the patients, along with Christmas cards and maybe a carol or two. They've visited nursing homes before, and they are quite excited to go.

I love that these girls, who range in age from 10 to 13, are so willing to give of themselves and share the love of Jesus to some seniors who don't get a lot of visitors, let along gifts. They genuinely enjoy talking to these seniors and hearing stories about when they were young.
One more way that the kids remind me to be a better person.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nothin' Like Barf to Ring in the Week!

I wrote this post on Monday this week, but for the life me, I don't know why I didn't hit "publish". Could've sworn I did!

LittleD was up bright and early this morning... throwing up. In her bed.

Yup, I had a load of laundry going before 5 am this morning.

Came out of no where. I hope she just ate something disagreeable yesterday. She really didn't have a fever (98.9).

So, here I am: 8:55 am on a Monday on the blog, in my PJs and robe, dog lying on my feet, watching The Andy Griffith Show and I'm thinking "boy, I'm glad I don''t have to go out in the -5 degree weather!"
What a life! (except for the barf)

It was a busy weekend. I had to work a trade show--where I had a real life, face-to-face meet up with Bloggy Pal Jent at From My Front Porch...

LittleD tagged along with me. One of my friends was amongst the show organizers and her husband was out of town, so she contracted with LittleD to baby sit her 1-year-old. Now this was LittleD's first paid babysitting job. She did great and kept the Babe entertained the whole time. The only crying was during the diaper change (and it was the Babe, not LittleD).

I did have to step in to help with the diaper duty... Yes, it was the full prize the first time. Since this was LittleD's first, she needed a little guidance on the details. So, now I'm trying to collect my fee as a diapering subcontractor. Don't you think LittleD owes me a cut of the profit? I did all the wiping! She seems to think I do these things for free. I'm trying to teach her some basic economics. Some how, I don't think she's going to ante up...

Now LittleD is loaded. Only she's not looking to go out and spend it right away. She's saving up to go on a mission trip with our church. Hopefully next year. She's very committed to earning the money herself--which I think is great. She just seems.... sniff... so grown up... sniff.

Meanwhile, I'm going to do the Meet Me On Monday link up.

When BabyD comes home, I'm sure she'll want to add to the post, as has become her thing lately. Until then, you can see my boring old answers:

1. What is your favorite kind of cheese?

A: Asiago, especially on scrambled eggs with mushrooms. Otherwise, it used to be this caraway seed Havarti that I can't find anymore.
2. What size is your bed?
A: Queen. Big mistake. Should've bought the king when we had the chance. It just seemed so big back then... before we had kids, who like to snuggle.
3. What is your most overused phrase?
A: Lately I've been finding myself saying "really?" I used to annoy one of my coworkers with "Look at me!", but I think I've broken that one.
4. Green or purple grapes?
A: Purple. Actually black seedless, if they're on sale. Seems like green are always the cheap ones. 5. Shower, morning or night?
A: Morning or else the previously mentioned coworkers would say "Look at you!" because of my hair's ability to channel Medusa overnight.