Sunday, November 30, 2008

With the Last Red Berries



November comes

And November goes,

With the last red berries

And the first white snows.


With night coming early,

And dawn coming late,

And ice in the bucket

And frost by the gate.


The fires burn

And the kettles sing,

And earth sinks to rest

Until next spring.


~ Clyde Watson

Friday, November 28, 2008

Green Friday

My sister and I are starting a new tradition. Green Friday. A nature hike. Fresh air. Gathering treasures. For eating. For creating a festive home.

We each started out with a bucket or basket. Some gathered. Some played.
This hike is dotted with mossy foundations...all that remain of an old military camp. To Levi, they were castle ruins. He was a knight, Ilex a princess. He secured the strongholds and jousted with his lance/large stick.

I gathered.
The apples were in abundance and so colorful against the autumn backdrop.



Holly did her fair share of gathering, as well.

We ended up back at my sister's home to gather cedar and rose hips...
...While the boys continued to play.
I'm already looking forward to next year...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Beautiful, Beautiful Day

I am blessed to live in the country with my little family. Blessed to have wonderful parents. Blessed to live so close.
I am blessed with two sisters. Two best friends.
I am blessed with three silly little boys.
I am blessed to have a wonderful and beautiful mother who is an excellent cook.
I am blessed with an incredible extended family. Dad, Mom, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephew, and grandparents (who traveled up from California to be with us).
I am blessed with plenty. Food. Conversation. Laughter. Much love.


I am blessed with health for walking and enjoying the fresh air.

I am blessed with family who love nature...
...And being silly...
...And caring for each other.


I am blessed with a husband who is everything to me. And whom our boys adore.I am blessed with grandparents who love to get in on the fun.

I am blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Gift of Bread

If I wanted to choose a scent that was the most pleasant, nostalgic scent in my life, it would have to be the making of Swedish Limpa bread. Molasses, orange, fennel, yeast... It is a tradition. And it is delicious. The ultimate comfort food.
Some of you will be appropriately appalled at the holey-kneed jeans resting on the counter, covered in flour. Yes, I will spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning up the kitchen. No, I wouldn't change a thing.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?...If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you...
Matthew 7:7-12 (excerpts)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Favorite Christmas Reads

I've had a couple requests for my Christmas book recommendations, and I know everyone is gearing up for the holiday season. For those of you who might need a little time to purchase or locate Christmas books, I thought I'd get this post up as soon as possible.

Check out my Amazon store for a complete list and links for my favorite Christmas books. Be sure to click on the subcatagories (in the top right column) for additional books and music!

You can find a few reviews in the midst of last year's Christmas posts. I will be reviewing the new Christmas books I've added to our treasures as we get to them during the season. I can't wait to get started!

One of my favorite Christmas stories isn't in a holiday collection, so I thought I'd mention it here. James Herriot's Treasury for Children is in my top 10 picture books for children. The Christmas Day Kitten makes me cry every time. Do not miss this excellent treasury of stories!
Happy Christmas reading!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Little Perspective

I know many of you have seen this video on other blogs, but it is too powerful to be missed. Please take the time to watch if you haven't already!

I'm spending some time this week looking through the World Vision Gift Catalog with the boys. Especially when involving young children, it is great to have such a visual concept of the gift and receiver.

With a wide range of gifts available, including basic farm animals, fish and fishing kits, seeds and farming tools/training, fruit trees, water wells, soccer balls, musical instruments or art supplies, medical care, and even job training or microbusiness loans for women, there is certainly something for everyone. Gifts go all over the world or stay right here in the United States. Prices for the gifts are as low as $16, and shares are available for the big ticket items (wells, orphan care centers, medical facilities, homes, animals...).

I'm looking forward to working with the boys in the coming years, raising or earning money to buy larger items, but this year we'll be happy to purchase ducks, chickens, or maybe even a bicycle or a llama.

Even with a limited budget, there are so many opportunities available for giving or volunteering time during the Christmas season (and all year long). Give your kids the chance to be involved, even better if they come up with ideas on their own!

And the Lucky Winners Are....

I decided to let Random.org pick winners for my



Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:

25
33
27
2

Timestamp: 2008-11-23 17:05:19 UTC



So, without further ado, the 3 winners of The Little French Girl:



#25 Sierra:
To choose just a few favorites is harder than it sounds:
1. Redeeming Love -- Francine Rivers
2. Count of Monte Cristo -- Dumas
3. The Giver -- Lois Lowry
That's what I get off the top of my head.


#33 Kathryn:
Hmmmm, let's see. In no particular order:
Candide
Ulysses
Crime and Punishment
In Praise of the Stepmother
I Sailed with Magellan

#27 Breezy Tulip:
Oh! We love old books! I'd like to enter. :)
Favorite books:
- Till We have Faces
- Jane Eyre
- Wide Wide World
- House of Love
- A Tale of Two Cities
- My Antonia
Of course my lists could go on and on, but those are my top few right now. Thanks!


And the Grand Prize Winner:


#2 Jennifer:
Ooo... I'm in! Jennifer

Congratulations, ladies!!

I'll be contacting you so that I can get your books sent out as soon as possible.



Thanks for participating, everyone. I've gotten so many great ideas for my (insanely long) reading list.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Artist?

ISFP - The Artists
The gentle and compassionate type. They are especially attuned their inner values and what other people need. They are not friends of many words and tend to take the worries of the world on their shoulders. They tend to follow the path of least resistance and have to look out not to be taken advantage of.

They often prefer working quietly, behind the scene as a part of a team. They tend to value their friends and family above what they do for a living.

The above is my blog personality type according to Typealizer.com.

Very, very interesting. I've talked about personality types before. I can't get enough of personality type talk. In real life (as opposed to blog life, I suppose), I am an ISFJ. I can't say I am at all surprised that my blog came up as an Artist personality, which is only one letter off. The 'J' in my life (the getting things accomplished part) has been in hiding lately. (For instance, I am practicing creative procrastination at this very moment.)

Here is a link to a free online personality test if you haven't found out your personality type and are interested in doing so. Here is my favorite site with explanations of the 16 personality types.


(HT: My friend, Trish, over at What Came Down Today)

More Portraits....

Ilex
Drake
Ivy

I had to share these pictures of my nieces and nephew with you! Maybe I'll get some of the others posted later on. (ETA: I posted more pictures on my photography blog for those of you interested in seeing a few more...)

Are you tired of seeing people pictures yet? I have so many other things to share this week. A book give-away winner, more decorating essentials, favorite Christmas books, homeschooling stuff. Just you wait and see. Grin.