Thursday, December 28, 2006

Advent Calendar

Throughout the Christmas season, many of you have shared your Advent Calendars. I decided to wait until ours had all of the bears on it. I made this about 15 years ago and it is a much loved tradition in our house. Now our youngest places a bear on the tree every day in December, leading up to Christmas. The tree is needlepoint on plastic canvas and the bears are counted cross stitch on perforated paper. I did a lot of counted cross stitch...a long time ago!

Our Christmas was wonderful, although quite different for us! Our son worked on Christmas Eve until 8:30pm, arriving home from school about 10:00. We went to Midnight Mass at 11. The service was beautiful, and my favorite part is always when we all light candles, the lights are dimmed and we sing Silent Night. It truly brings home the spirit of the season.

We arrived home from church at about 12:30 and we decided to open presents. I popped some cinnamon rolls in the oven and we opened gifts while they baked. The kids all seemed pleased with their gifts, my husband was delighted with the Sizzlers Race Track and GameBoy that I gave him and I loved all of my gifts. Nothing quilty to share, but I did receive a beautiful leather bound (Large Print!) Bible, some gift cards, including one to Sur La Table and a beautiful silver chain for the cross I wear every day.

The best gift of the evening was the one my son gave to my husband. When he was little and we lived on Long Island, we were New York Islanders fans. Every season my DH would take Andrew to a few games. They were the source of many fond memories. Andrew texted me a few days before Christmas and told me he was getting his father tickets to an Islanders game, only this time, he would drive up to NY (about 2.5-3 hours from here) and he would pay for everything so he could give his father what his father gave him all those years. He said he didn't know who this gift would be more meaningful for...him or his dad. Well, from the expression on my DH's face, I know it will be very meaningful for his dad! He wrapped the tickets in a note that said, "Just like old times". It had to be the most thoughtful gift he could have given. The kid did good! :o)

While the kids slept in on Christmas morning, DH and I headed to 9am mass (after going to bed at 2:30am!). My parents, sister and nephew stopped by in the afternoon, then we all headed to my brother's for a little while. We came home, as is our tradition, and had a big Italian meal...2 kinds of lasagna, chicken parmagiana, Caesar Salad, bread and an ice cream cake for dessert. After dinner DH and the two older children headed to the movies to see "Eragon". The younger one didn't want to see it, so I stayed home with her.

I enjoyed Christmas so much this year...even with the changes to our traditions! This was the first year we haven't had a "believer" in the house, so it was different, but very nice. I've started taking down the decorations and getting the house back together. And now I'm off to take my daughter and her friend to Blockbuster so they can rent movies for the sleepover they're having tonight!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a joyous Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tree Topper

On the first day of school in my second year of teaching, a little third grader came into my classroom and promptly made a beeline for the space under my desk. Once there he sniffled and cried for most of the morning. I let him be...I figured when he was ready to come out, he would. Richie did come out eventually and he and I became fast friends.

When Christmas came, Richie gave me a special gift...a Christmas mug (which I still have) and an adorable little teddy bear. Right before Christmas that year, I met my husband to be. As we were decorating our first Christmas tree, we were looking for something to put on top of the tree. It was late and we didn't want to go out shopping for a star or an angel. As a temporary solution, we took Richie's little bear and tied him on top of the tree. We never did find another tree topper that year, and in the years that followed we couldn't bring ourselves to put anything else up on the tree. So, here it is, 22 Christmases later and Richie's bear is still on the top of the tree!

I wish I knew what happened to Richie!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Trimming the tree

Our tree has sat without ornaments for 2 weeks. Saturday night we finally decorated the tree. Sorry the picture is blurry! The tree stands out much better this year because I painted the paneling a lighter color over the summer and it doesn't blend into the wall anymore!

I've been sick for the last week and haven't done much at all. I called in sick today because I just didn't think I'd make it through the morning...and I didn't want to share what I have with the kindergarteners! So, I thought I'd share something with you...a few of my favorite ornaments.

First I have my little tree. There are just a few smaller ornaments on it, but this is the first year we've decorated it, usually it just has lights on it.

This is the first Christmas ornament we bought. We got it on our honeymoon. Since we were buying a house, we cancelled our trip to Bermuda and drove up through New England. We found this in a little shop in Newport, RI.

When my children were little, before I got lazy, I made ornaments for each of us every year. Often they were done in counted cross stitch. This was the year of the gingerbread ornaments. They were stitched on brown Aida cloth...wish I could find more of this because I would love to make one of these for my youngest, who wasn't born when I made these!

And this little glass snowman was one that I bought 2 years ago for Christmas. I find that I'm accumulating more of these antique looking glass ornaments in recent years...they are so pretty, but fragile!

Yesterday we had our Christmas pageant at church. The children did a wonderful job. They told the story of the nativity with a was a takeoff of "Charlie's Angels" and was very cute. My daughter was one of the 3 angels and did great.

Today will be spent finishing a customer quilt (the last before Christmas!) and taking naps on the sofa. A rough day...I know. :o)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Naked Lemons

What to do? I have 10 naked lemons, stripped of their zest, waiting for something delicious to be made from them. Aside from lemonade, do you have any family favorites that I could make? Let me know!

Why do I have naked lemons? Well, last summer another blogger was making limoncello and I thought, "I'd like to try that!" But, my parents were heading to Italy in late August and they said they'd bring some back for me, so I didn't bother. Long story short, when they tried to buy it, they were told that the sellers couldn't guarantee that it would make it back to them in the states, so they didn't bother getting it. Fast forward to last night when my DH and I enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal at a new little restaurant near us. At the end of our meal, they served us some of their limoncello and it was wonderful! So, I decided to try it. I found a recipe on the internet for limoncello that would be ready in a week instead of about 40-60 days, so I'm trying that first. If it's not all the great, I'll try the longer recipe. I just know that I need to give it a try! I'll let you know how it goes...

And please send me some recipes! Thanks!

One last note...blogger told me again that I could upgrade and I seemed pretty painless, I made sure to check and see if my email address shows in my profile and this is my first goes....

Friday, December 08, 2006


Every time I log in to post, blogger asks if I want to update to the new blogger. So today, I had a little time and thought I'd finally give it a go. I sign in to my account and it takes me right to my dashboard. Not a word about updating to the new blogger! I look around, can't find anything asking me to click here in order to update. So, I logged out, figuring I'd do it later. Later comes and still, no Blogger Beta! Think they don't want me to switch anymore? Maybe they've realized how inept I am when it comes to the computer and are just too afraid that I'll mess up their system too!

If that's the case, they are very smart people!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Color Ranges...

As promised, here is a picture of the purple and orange log cabin quilt. I absolutely love this quilt, yet it is so far out of my color range that I never would have thought to make it! I tend to stick with my, burgundy, tan and navy. I do venture out into pastels, brights with black...but never in my wildest imagination would I have come up with this...and it is so stunning! I quilted for it a customer who is making it for her own customer. It will be turned into a duvet cover.

Once I finished quilting the log cabin, I started wrapping Christmas presents. I have a good start on that now...I know in another 2 weeks I'll be rushing to finish the rest. Now I'm ready to cast on another pair of socks so I can work on those while we watch the Rutgers/West Virginia game tonight. My son drove down to WV yesterday to watch his best friend play for Rutgers. It should be a good game...and hopefully another win for Rutgers!