Christmas at Home

I’ve been meaning to write. I had all these projects to tell you about. I made fun gifts, created new decorations, went on an amazing trip, and celebrated with family.

And while it would have been fun to keep you abreast of all the happenings, sometimes you have to be content with a recap.

Let’s start with this little guy who followed me home from Dubrovnik.

I love his worried eyebrows; he was too precious to leave behind. And since he was so cute, I figured I’d change things up and have the nutcrackers on the mantel. The girls were surprised that I could fit them all. Lined up and soldierly, they look rather magnificent. And then with the wing walls open, I moved in some little trees and animals.

When Baby Girl got home from school, we went out with Papa Willy and found a beautiful, gigantic, 12-foot tree to cut down and decorate. Somehow along the way, I lost my oomph. The mantel, pillows, the tree, an entry table, and I was done.

The dining room table featured a few Christmas Baubles. (Carmen Heffernen’s pattern is a free Ravelry download.) I told Baby Girl I was making sweaters for Christmas ornaments. It started as a project for work, but it’s totally addicting. I was able to use up tons of bits and pieces from ancient projects. A word to the wise, use plastic balls. Just before Christmas, Sweet Miss and the Fella upped the game with a gingerbread house kit. With four mini houses, Baby Girl and a friend joined in the fun.

Christmas Eve was amazing. Sweet Miss told us months ago to keep the night open. She invited the Fella’s mom and friend for dinner, and then–surpise!–it was a “Ho, Ho, Ho Homicide”. We were all part of a murder mystery party with reindeer, elves, and Santa. With antlers and festive gear from the dollar store, we had a lot of fun and looked great, too.

Both of the girls mentioned Christmas PJ’s as one of their favorite traditions, and I made sure I had them done early. This year I went with school themes. Who knew pajamas could cause such strife?

While Cocoa didn’t enter in to the fight, Sweet Miss and the Fella did give her an extra special present to tear apart.

In the way of other handmade gifts, Baby Girl put together a book filled with yarn shops to visit around the country and the world. Sweet Miss was a little nonplussed with her “Red, Riding Hood” hat/scarf, but I think her students will love it. MeeMee looked fabulous in her Capelet, and my sister-in-law looked fearless in her Wonder Woman Wrap.

And now, Sweet Miss and her Fella have driven back home. Baby Girl is attending an architecture conference, and we are preparing for the new year. I have pictures from our week-long trip with the family to Costa Rica, but we’ll save those for another time.

Wishing you much love and laughter, time with family and friends, joy and God’s blessing in 2019 from Kim at the Big White House on the Hill.


Saying Goodbye to November

My herbal wreaths have faded, and I’m sitting in a world of fog. I guess that means November is gone and winter is here in earnest.

We had five days without rain last month, so when the sun comes out That Golden Glow is greatly appreciated. I came down with a cold the week before Thanksgiving–just in time for Dad’s Weekend. But me and the MR still enjoyed seeing the girls and spending time together.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my brother and his family and are learning to be gracious and share Sweet Miss with the Fella and his family. Baby Girl was home, and we binge watched Stranger Things rather than get our tree. We’re saving that for this weekend when finals are over and Baby Girl is home for a whole month.

Besides going through lots of kleenex, I did A Little Kitchen Organization and managed to redo some chairs for Sweet Miss with The Power of Fabric.

Speaking of fabric, I’ve been anxiously waiting for some Christmas PJ flannel I ordered over Thanksgiving weekend. It’s nice to get the sale price, but it’s hard to stay patient especially on a deadline.

Another bonus of not bringing out all the Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving weekend is being able to decorate in more manageable bits. Sometimes, it’s hard to stay festive when you’re surrounded by tons of boxes.

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends and looking forward to sharing the Christmas spirit with you.



Fall Favorites

Last week when we were shopping, Baby Girl told me, “I love fall; I can wear sweaters every day.”

Fall is a wonderful time of year, and here are a few of my favorite fall things.

I love misty mornings when the fog hovers over the valley.

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I love the sunshine glistening on spiderwebs.

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I love the fancy hairstyles and pretty party dresses for the big homecoming dance.

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And I love a good old-fashioned trip to the pumpkin patch. It’s been a few years since we’ve gone, but here’s a flashback to when the girls were younger.

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I also love to snuggle up with a cup of tea, a cozy blanket, and a good book especially on those stormy Northwest evenings when the rain is pounding and the wind is blowing.

What do you love about fall?


A Thoughtful November

I’ve been in a comtemplative mood this month. I encourage us to carry each others burdens, be mindful of our thankfulness, and shared a few reasons I’m thankful.

Besides those heavy topics, posts ran the gamut from nutcrackers to laundry soap with a brand-new shower thrown in for a little excitement. I am obsessed with the morning skies of winter randomly posting pictures and a collage just for fun. And while my family may be camera shy, my dogs certainly aren’t; they try to weasel their way into all the photos.

So here’s a run down of this month plus a little more for all you wonderful people who stop by and keep me motivated with your kind words.

I picked up six new (to me) nutcrackers in Marching Into the Season. They were from the same collection I purchased three from this summer. I’m amazed at the awesome stuff you can find on local Facebook pages, and with December here, those nutcrackers are guarding the fireplace as I write. Over the weekend, Cost Plus had a set of three 14-inch,traditional nutcrackers on sale for $55. All I can tell you is that I got a screaming deal off the trading post.

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My mom’s 70th birthday would have been this past October 29. She’s been gone for over eight years now. Perhaps that’s why the new grave at the cemetery at the end of October made me so sentimental. In Past the Old Cemetery, I talked about the strange way living down the street from this landmark has made me more compassionate and encouraged me to share in others’ sorrows. I thought a picture of a cemetery would be creepy and it was a cold, foggy day, so I posted my first sunrise picture. Then on Thanksgiving, once the turkey was in the oven, I posted another thoughtful post about being Thankful and another sunrise photo. Perhaps every time I get sentimental, I’ll post a sunrise? This blog is better than therapy. Then, somewhere in the middle when I was talking about this and that, I shared foggy morning photos. If you don’t like what I write, you can always just look at the pretty pictures.

Morning Sky Collage

If you’re not into scenic views, maybe you like shower remodels better. That by far was the most viewed post this month. After the Tile Update, the MR worked hard and delivered a beautiful shower in time for Sweet Miss’ visit home. When your 16-year-old daughter is taking photos of her shower and showing it to her friends, you know That’s Some Shower. This is the MR’s fourth shower remodel and may be the best one yet.

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I remember in our first house, the MR unhooked the plumbing on our only shower and promptly went to bed for two days with the flu wracked with fever and chills–oh, the good old days. He also soaked our shower head in vinegar overnight to get rid of the hard water build up. It worked like a charm.

It is November, so we didn’t have a lot of gardening going on, but our decorative tree finally started Putting on a Show rather than looking scraggly.

Flowers Up Close

I just hope next summer it will look as good. I did get my soil test results, but let’s save that for another day.

The sink for the powder room finally arrived in one piece–the third times a charm–in Special Delivery. I hung up the prints I’d been embarrassed to see sitting on the floor and replaced them with a sink in the entry. You never know what you’ll find around here.

One of my more random projects this month was my search for bright whites. Yes, I made my own laundry soap. While I haven’t noticed a huge difference, it was super cheap. I was pleasantly surprised when one of my readers wrote that she’s been using Mom’s Super Laundry sauce for years. She encouraged me to add vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to boost the whiteness. Now that Sweet Miss is finished with all her laundry and back at school, I’ll have to give it a try.

My cozy sweater pillow is just one example of how I let something simple spiral out of control in my mind. Just try it. It’s OK if you have to go with plan B; in fact plan B might be even better.

sweater pillow up close

Just because I didn’t have enough yarn to cover the entire pillow didn’t mean I had to leave my cover languishing in a cupboard for months. Fleece was a perfectly good alternative backing. If you don’t knit or crochet, this could be a great way to give life to that old favorite sweater with a hole in the sleeve.

Finally, my Thankfulness Tree was a hit. OK, so maybe I was the most frequent submitter–surprise, surprise–but I twisted a few arms and everybody ended up writing something except for maybe the MR and Papa, but that’s to be expected. I even received cooperation from Baby Girl’s friends and the extras who came home with Sweet Miss for Thanksgiving. When we were packing the Thanksgiving decor and dragging out the Christmas stuff, I packed up all our thankfulness notes from this year and put them in the storage bin. Now, we’ll have reminders of what was special each year–who doesn’t love good cake, supportive parents, laughter, and pseudo families? This is a tradition I’m going to keep. One of the great things about the project was that all I did was add branches to our existing fall tablescape and set out notes and pens. It was so simple and made me smile each time I walked by.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with the four of us Papa Willy and two of Sweet Miss’ friends from school. While it was a much smaller gathering than last year, this year, we dealt with some food allergies. That meant two kinds of rolls, three kinds of stuffing, two kinds of gravy, and two kinds of green bean casserole. Thankfully, it was only one turkey, and the MR carved it to perfection.

The Turkey

Sweet Miss set a beautiful table. When I was pulling out the large cutting board, I came across this box of pilgrim hats the girls made over 10 years ago. It was fun to be able to add them to our little gathering.

Thanksgiving table

Apparently, no one likes pumpkin pie, so we went with gluten-free chocolate cake that was fabulous. No one seems to have missed out.

Our Gathering

Baby Girl was the only one to go Black Friday shopping. She came back with some great deals and a lost phone. I’m not sure she’d still consider the evening a success. We went to a local tree farm and cut down a 10-footer. I told the MR we should have had boys. Sweet Miss’ boyfriend and his buddy cut down the tree lickety-split and even carried it to the car. I didn’t have to hold the tree and get a face full of needles as the MR got it set up. It was nice to have a few extra hands helping. They did end up watching football instead of decorating with my girls, but they’re welcome any time.

After my oldest being gone for two months, it was so nice to have our little family back together again. The next two weeks will zoom past and Christmas will be here before we know it. Speaking of Christmas, decorating calls.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you enjoy time with friends and family? Is your tree up? 

Marching Into the Season

I know it’s only the first week in November, but I’m already getting excited about the holidays.

Sweet Miss is headed home in just three weeks, and we’ll be hosting Thanksgiving here and decorating for Christmas that weekend. I’ve planned lots of projects–who knows how many I’ll actually get done? But I’m excited about one vision that’s taking shape. Last December, I shared my troubles decorating the massive mantel with my undersized decorations. Then in the monthly wrap up, I mentioned my dream of nutcrackers marching down the stair-stepped side walls that flank the fireplace.

Well in June, what did I come across at the at the thrift store but a giant nutcracker. My quest had begun. Next, a friend read my blog and came across nutcrackers for sale on the local Facebook trading post. By the end of the month, I’d added three more soldiers of Christmas to my collection. The seller had access to a hundreds of nutcrackers down in California and promised to contact me when they arrived at his house. I was afraid he’d forgotten about it, but Friday I found myself perusing table upon table of nutcrackers.

The collection had belonged to his mother-in-law and with her passing, the family needed to find new homes for her treasures. At most for just $3 a piece, I went to town and brought home these fine fellows.

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While I have to put them away for now, in another month, they’ll be guarding my fireplace along with their brothers. I have a great start on a collection, so I can be a little more discriminating and add to it as I go along.

I need to get busy with all those other Thanksgiving and Christmas projects. We had a windstorm on Saturday morning, and the power was out for a day and a half. I have lots of catching up to do around here, now that I can see the mess we made in the dark. Baby Girl and I did enjoy a cozy afternoon, knitting and doing homework while listening to an audiobook with a fire in the hearth to keep us warm.

Are you getting ready for the holidays? Hope you had a cozy weekend.