Friday, December 30, 2011

A {Blog} Year in Review: 2011

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.
 1 Peter 1:24-25

I started 2011 with a hymn. (I posted one every Sunday this year.) I talked about how much Alaine and I had in common in My Look-Alike and about Nora's birthday party we had for her in Nora's Second Birthday.

I kicked off the month with a quote from C. S. Lewis about books and tea. From there I did a post about some of my favorite teas. I also showed some proof of my look-alike niece.

I don't know what happened in March. Either we were still recovering from the flu we had in February or I wasn't in a blogging frame of mind because I only have four posts in March and all of them were hymns that I automatically set. To God Be the Glory and He Leadeth Me were some of the gems I chose to share.

In honor of National Poetry Month I posted several poems including Paul Revere's Ride and I Never Saw a Moor. I posted about the kitties here and here. And I told you about my purse redo.

I talked about the game Ben and I play in My Baby. And I showed some adorable pictures of Alaine in A Sweet Girl.

I showed you some pictures of the highlight of my month, my high school graduation! And I talked about National Ice Tea Month and Mommom's Boiled Cookies.

I was able to go out west for a visit with my brother, sister-in-law, nieces, and nephew. I had a wonderful time. And speaking of visiting, a yellow jacket decided to visit the Queen Anne's Lace during one of our patio parties.

I got a letter from my niece that I shared with you. And my dear friend got married a day early because Hurricane Irene decided to make her grand appearance.

I started showing you some of the pictures I took with my new Nikon here, here, here, and here. And then a friend of ours got married.

Thirty-One Days of posting with 31 Days of Photography Fun. Interspersed with posts about a desk redo and a comfort food recipe or two.

I started a new series called Photo Friday since my 31 Days went so well and I was still snapping pictures with my Nikon. Then there was Thanksgiving anticipationa happy first birthday post, and the start of the mini-series Christmas Gift Ideas.

I told a story about a girl and an owl. Christmas posts were prevalent. I took you on a tour of my room with the Christmas Tour of Homes, I was a co-host for the Christmas Cookie Countdown one day I showed you some of my favorite Christmas songs.

Photo Friday: Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, I experimented with a macro lens that my dear friend, Miss Frances let me borrow. I had fun snapping pictures of the kids.

I am considered the outsider since I am not a peer like their younger aunt Bekah and I am not considered an adult since I was only nine when Gavin was born. I have had many nicknames over the years like Hairy (because of my long hair) and Frederika. (Don't ask. Even I don't know how they came up with that name.) Anyway, it is a game for them to try to hide their faces from me when I take their picture. It is kind of fun to see what I come up with.

I snapped one of Owen when he was telling me about one of his Christmas gifts.

Later on, I tried to snap another one. This one Kristin got in on it.

Kristin: Owen you must look at the camera.
Owen: But she already took my picture.

Gavin meanwhile, was relishing the fact it being Owen who was made to have his picture taken and not his. I took advantage of the situation and snapped this candid shot of Gavin while I was waiting for Owen to look at the camera.

Kati’s Little Corner of the World

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Bokeh

Rosemary cheeseball wreath...

and Gammy's Christmas trifle were some of the treats we enjoyed on Christmas day.

(Thank you for letting me borrow a macro lens for Christmas, Miss Frances!)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, I am putting a hymn up like I do every Sunday but with it being a special day, I thought I would do things a little different and put a music video of the hymn, too. This was a poem by Christina Rossetti and it was put to music by Gustav Holst. Then Twila Paris sang it on her Christmas album, It's the Thought (which we always play on Christmas morning while we open gifts).

Merry Christmas to all my blog friends out there! Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the birth of our savior.

In the Bleak Midwinter
by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

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She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. --Luke 2:7-8

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Tree Disaster

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we always put up our Christmas tree. The Christmas of 2004, we went over to my uncle's (who sold Christmas trees back then) and picked out our tree as usual. That was the year that Sarah, who was then Ryan's fiancee, came with us. As we always did, we took a picture of whoever was there helping chose the perfect tree.

That evening, after our traditional meal of subs, we trimmed our tree while listening to Bing Crosby's White Christmas album and eating shortbread cookies.

Everything looked good until...the tree started loosing its needles. It kept loosing more and more needles and before long it was a sad sight. It got so bad that the week of Christmas, Dad went out shopping for an artificial tree to replace the dead, trimmed tree. He came home with one and we started the job of untrimming the tree, taking the dead, needle-dropping tree out of the house while trying not to drop too many needles before making it to the door. After it was out the door, there were whole piles of needles in the corner.

After a thorough vacuum (even after that we still found needles for a long while) we then had the task of re-trimming the new tree.

On Christmas Eve, when Gammy and Gampy came over, Gammy snapped our picture in front of the new, re-trimmed tree for us.

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Linking up to Kristin's Gather Round Your Tree linky party...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Photo Friday: All Those Toys!



Kati’s Little Corner of the World

I have decided not to add the Inlinkz area in the post this week. If you have done a Photo Friday post, add a comment with your link instead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Tradition

Every year around Christmas, Mom, Bekah, and I make some time to go to Barnes and Noble/Starbucks for Christmas coffee drinks. Yesterday was the day. We all decided to go out of the box with our drinks this time. Mom went with a Caramel Brulee Latte, I decided to go with a Caramel Brulee Frappuccino, and Bekah chose a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino.

We sipped away while looking at crafty/home magazines.

But those Starbucks drinks always seem to disappeared way too fast.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Memories

Every year since I can remember, Gampy and Gammy have come over to watch my siblings and me open our Christmas gifts on Christmas morning and then have a special Christmas breakfast with us. And every year since I can remember, Gampy has had a trusty pocket knife that he pulls out when we need help opening a new game or toy or cutting a ribbon off a package. He sits in the chair that is close to where we open our gifts and even before we even know that we need help, he seems to know and has the blade out to help us cut through that tricky packaging.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Snapshots

Did you know that I have worn the same outfit on Christmas morning for at lease four years in a row? While looking through old pictures I found that I've worn the lounge pants for more years than that, but with different color shirts.

This year I think it's time for a change.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mystery and More of My Favorite Christmas Songs

Since I have been doing different themes each week in December, I thought I would post some Christmas songs during this week before Christmas.

After thinking more about my friends out there who read my blog and have slow internet connections, I have decided that posting a song each day is not the thing to do. Instead, below the video song there are a few links to some of my favorites.

I love the Selah Christmas album, Rose of Bethlehem. There are many songs on there that I like a lot but this song is one of my favorites on the album. The words of this song are beautiful.

***To turn of my Mix Pod music to listen to this song, go to the bottom of this page and hit the pause button.

This World by Twila Paris on the album It's the Thought

You Are Emmanuel by Truth on the album You Are Emmanuel

What Child is This by Selah on the album Rose of Bethlehem

O Holy Night by Selah on the album Rose of Bethlehem

Sunday, December 18, 2011

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O Litte Town of Bethlehem
words by Philip Brooks

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

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Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you shall come for Me One who will be Ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.  ~ Micah 5:2

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Quote

And in came little Bob, the father, with at least three feet of comforter exclusive of the fringe, hanging down before him; and his threadbare clothes darned up and brushed, to look seasonable; and Tiny Tim upon his shoulder.
--A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Friday, December 16, 2011

Photo Friday: Puss

Kati’s Little Corner of the World

Linking up to Ana's Earth Wonders photo challenge. The theme: Fur and Feathers

EARTH WONDERS by anaeugenio

*This week is now closed. Come back next week and join up then.*
Want to join in the fun?
1. Take a picture.
2. Put it and the Photo Friday button in a post.
3. Come back here and link up your post.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Cookie Countdown--Scotch Shortbread Cookies

I am acting as co-host today for the Christmas Cookie Countdown along with Branson over at My Reflection of Something.

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These shortbread cookies are super easy to make, require only three ingredients, and are perfect to make with kids.

We always make these to eat as we put up the Christmas tree while listening to Bing Crosby's White Christmas album. We always babysit for Kristin and Brian that afternoon before putting up the tree that night. I started a tradition a few years ago to get just one kid to help me make them. We don't have that much counter space so it's hard to have five pairs of helping hands. Last year I chose Owen, who says he wants to be a baker when he grows up. This year I chose Gavin because he didn't have anything to do and was feeling left out. All the kids asked to be picked as The One to help next year.

On cookie baking day we usually make these, too. That day all the kids help since the kitchen table is cleared and available as another surface at Cookie Baking Central. They are all given the chance to decorate cookies.

Scotch Shortbread Cookies
***Original recipe found in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
      1 cup butter
      1/2 cup sugar
      2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 300º.
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour.
3. Roll out onto a floured surface.Cut out Christmas shapes with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets.
4. Decorate your cookies with sprinkles.
5. Bake for 15 minutes.

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Do you have a cookie recipe to share? Follow the directions below and add your link below.

Christmas Cookie Countdown

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baking Day!!!

Every Christmas, Kristin, Mom, and I get together and make Christmas cookies to serve during the holidays. Each year we make four different kinds of cookies, usually the same ones: shortbread (look for the recipe tomorrow), chocolate chip, chocolate sugar cookies, and raspberry thumbprints. Yesterday was the day.

Let the cookie baking begin!

While the three of us were scurrying around rolling out cookies, putting cookies in the oven, getting out the oats and the extra bags of flour and sugar, and putting the little ones down for naps, the older kids put chairs in front of the computer and watched a new episode of Winter Wipeout.

Then the girls decided to watch Tangled while the boys played Wii.

Since it was cookie day, and since there are always reject cookies that don't make the serving cut, there was a little "taste-testing."

Though when the sample cookies were all gone, it was hard to understand that the cookies on the table waiting for their tins couldn't be eaten, too.

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Chocolate Sugar Cookies

   1 1/2 cups flour
   1/2 cup cocoa powder
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon salt
   1 stick butter, softened
   1 1/2 cups sugar
   1 stick butter, melted and cooled
   1 large egg
   1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2.. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
3. Cream softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in melted butter. Add egg and vanilla; mix until creamy. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined.
4. Spoon out by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool a few minutes on the pans before removing them.

Linking up...

Christmas Cookie Countdown

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Treat Equations

Red cupcake stand + Martha Stewart Christmas cupcake stencils = Pretty Christmas Cupcakes

Chocolate + marshmallows + cream + sugar = chocolate fudge

Here is the recipe.

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Linking up to the Foodography Photo Contest found here.


Monday, December 12, 2011

YULEtide Decorations

Y - Yo-yo tree

Blogged about it here

U- Under the tree

My Christmas tree has a new look this year with yo-yo garland and a flower pot that my friend Kate gave to me. This year I used red ribbon with my aqua snowflake paper.

L - Light

I got these candles from my friend Britni last year for Christmas.

A spruce candle on top of my copies of A Christmas Carol. The cardinal adds a pop of color to the top of my dresser.

Candle holder from Gam. This is actually Mom's but she let me borrow it for this year.

E - Enchanting

Village scene

Candy canes in my pencil holder.

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I'm linking up with these Christmas house tours...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
words by Nahum Tate

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.

“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign,
And this shall be the sign.

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid,
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:

“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease!”

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There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. --Luke 2:8-9

Friday, December 9, 2011

Photo Friday: The "Supervisor"

Pinky decides to "supervise" the whole gift wrapping process while sitting on top of a box on my bed.
Kati’s Little Corner of the World

Want to join in the fun?

1. Take a picture.
2. Put it and the Photo Friday button in a post.
3. Come back here and link up your post.