Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Pictures

Ever since I can remember, whenever my family (now or then) gets together, there are always family pictures.

The earliest ones I can remember are when my sisters and I would go to Columbus, Ohio and visit my grandparents on my dad's side. This group always included my first cousins, the ones who had the Hawaiian party not too long ago. Well, Grandpa would get us on the steps, as you see in one of my pictures, or he would get us all behind a couch with the adults in sitting mode.

When we visited my mom and dad after I was in Michigan, my kids, their first cousins, and the whole group had to do "the family thing." My dad had a tripod so he could be in the picture too. That was pretty neat. We all stood there with silly grins on our faces and waited for him to run into the picture. Then, flash, it was done. We have these from Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Easters.

Well, the habit didn't stop with my dad. No, I got the picture taking gene. I took the color picture on this post of our group when my kids were teens and younger. Everyone was down in the basement to watch my daughter and I do a clogging routine which we thought was pretty good at the time.

I love to look at all of these group pictures and see how we have all changed over the years. Even though I think it may be a funny, quirky, family thing, these pics are some of my favorite. I love to think of the groans behind all the participants as yet another shot is needed.

I realize that not everyone wants their pictures taken. My husband will only agree on special occasions. If it's not special enough, he won't smile. (Ha, Ha.)

So how about you? Do you do the picture taking? Do you like having your picture taken? And lastly, do you have stacks of comical family pictures in your possession that are just too cool to part with?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Cookies

Hope you are still glowing over your Thanksgiving feast and family moments. I thought it would be fun to share a recipe idea with you. Now I'm hardly the domestic type, I don't even cook most of the time, but the birthday cakes and holiday treats have always been left to me.

When my children were young, I came across a cute turkey cookie cutter from Hallmark. It's the type where it has a back and the designs come out as indentations.

Here's what you do. Find your favorite sugar cookie recipe. In mine which is from a Betty Crocker's Cookbook, I just make a few changes. Instead of using part shortening, I use all butter. That smells fantastic when the cookies come out of the oven. Then for icing, use confectioners sugar. Get out three little bowls. After the cookies are cooked, mix about 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl with a food color, (yellow, red, and green.) Add water slowly and at the same time, add equal amounts of lemon juice until the mixture is the right consistency. (Extra lemon juice never hurts. In fact, this ingredient is the secret that makes the cookies so good.) Just play with it to taste. Alternate green and yellow on the tail feathers. Use red for the head and wattle.

My daughter and I made a double batch this year. We have made these almost non-stop through the years. Sorry I didn't get around to putting this on so you could do it for Thanksgiving this year, but this works for Christmas cookies, too. We always get lots of compliments. Hope you like this idea and that it works out for you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Reasons

I won't have time to blog till after Thanksgiving, so I will do my thoughts a bit early.

We met a man going grocery shopping today who used to be the principal of my children's school. He looked so happy and spoke with such enthusiasm about how much we have to be thankful for. He is right. My heart overflows with love when I think of all of my many blessings.:

First of all I remember the day I met Jesus Christ as a person and not just someone I knew things about. That was a great day and every day I am thankful for my salvation and His presence and all He is, all He is to me.

Second, I am full of gratitude for my family. My wonderful husband and I have had 37 wonderful married years together. When you get older, some thing get sweeter.

Third comes my children whom I love more than I can say. They have all chosen such kind, loving, and wonderfully suited mates who make three more children to love.

Fourth is my grandson who fills me with more joy and wonder every day.

Fifth is my country which I love so dearly and have such warm hopes for our future as a nation.

Along with that, is number 6, freedom of religion. I can pray, I can go to my own church, I can tell about my faith. That is a great blessing right there.

Next comes good health and all of the medical helpers we have at our convenience.

Number 8 is tasty, nutritious food, housing (my little "cottage"), and heat in the winter and air in the summer.

I am thankful for the arts and beauty. For music, painting, dancing, theater, nature, and the loveliness of other people.

Lastly, I am blessed with all the mental things to do, jobs and writing, creativity of every sort, God's plans for us and our responses to Him.

Of course this is just the beginning. I am thankful now for life and for this time I am in.

May you all have a truly blessed Thanksgiving Day. Love, Nancy

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trying To Keep The Horse Before the Cart

My daughter, Dawn, and I went shopping two weeks ago and I bought some of that pretty fabric ribbon for my Christmas packages. They always have good sales at this time. While out, I picked up a gift for Dawn which she said she wanted. My first gift of the season. Then a week later, she helped me order some things online. I have received two of them so far. Wow, that was fast!

I usually leave all shopping and even the lists until after Thanksgiving. It's just hard for me, a person of order, to put the cart before the horse. But when opportunity strikes, I have to take advantage of it.

Usually I finish up with all my gifts by about the middle of December or a bit later. I don't like cutting it too close in case we have a snowstorm and I can't get out.

I never go out shopping on Black Friday or the Saturday after either. There could be the greatest discounts ever and I would just have to say "Oh, well." I don't care for crowds and I would be disappointed if the items I wanted were already gone. Besides, those two days are great to relax. This year, I plan on putting up my tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I can't wait. Christmas music, decorating, and everything in order. Ah, that's the spirit.

Do any of you brave souls go out and shop directly after Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear your short accounts of those days. Love, Nancy

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Favorite Songs

I love music and I thought it would be fun to list my favorite songs. I have two groups, secular and Christian.

Secular: Probably my all time favorite in this category is Unchained Melody. My husband and I saw the Righteous Brothers at the beautiful Fisher Theater in Detroit. When the main singer of that song, I believe it was Bill Medley finished, he said, " (some other singer I have forgotten, )eat your heart out") It was fantastic. Next comes Percy Sledge singing, When A Man Loves A Woman. After that, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. I love the lyrics and the haunting harmonica in that one. Rod Stewart singing, Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye. Two others, Willie Nelson's You Were Always On My Mind, and As Time Goes By, from Casablanca.

I guess you can tell that I have a great love for the ballad.

Christian songs: A Mighty Fortress with words by Martin Luther, Faithful One, As The Deer, I Will Celebrate Your Love Forever Yahweh, Let It Rise, Arise.

I also love these hymns: Be Thou My Vision (ancient Irish tune,) Above The Hills (to the tune of Danny Boy,) This Is My Song (tune is Finlandia,) Song Of Joy (Beethoven,) and Holy, Holy, Holy.

I especially love two Thanksgiving songs: We Gather Together and Come Ye Thankful People Come. The extra verses have such great words and the tunes are so sweet. I love to think myself in a small church in the evening about this time - lights are low, and we sing out one of these songs. This takes me back to my childhood, and makes me think of God and history and good things.

I think other people have done favorite songs on their blogs, but I haven't had the chance to list mine. Are there any on my list that you just love? Which are your favorites? They can be totally different.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Children's Rooms

I can still see the imposing yellow building in downtown Mansfield, Ohio. I walk in the door and a huge room awaits me. To the right is the very young child's books. Here, on the bottom shelves is the tall book area where I used top get all of my Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books. There were comfy cushions to sit on. Above this seat was a blue and white round plaque of a baby in swaddling clothes. Turning 180 degrees, a clear glass case always held magnificent artifacts of one type and another. Going on to the further right, I progressed to the chapter books. These at the time weren't paperback, but something wonderful called library binding. They were often painted on the covers and were smooth and just felt wonderful. Then, to the far end and all around the rest of the room were the older child fiction and all of the non-fiction. I never made it to much of the non-fiction, except for a few of those orange biographies I needed for school work.

We could take out three books and they were due in two weeks. So every other week, we went downtown and got reloaded. It took me a long time to read books then. In the summer they had a reading program. You got a sticker for every book read and if you got so many, you got to choose a book. I dreamed of what book I would choose. My sticker sheet always had only three or four animals on it. I never did very well. My sister made it to all of the levels and got a book. My mom encouraged her to choose a poetry book. It was very nice. I guess she didn't think having a favorite story book around was very important. Once when I wanted a book because my cousin had one, she said, "you read it and them what do you do with it?" Oh, what indeed. I have to say in her defense that she got me some books for Christmas and I cherished them.

Now that I am in children's rooms at libraries again with my grandson, (Oh, I know, it's really for me,) I have noticed how beautiful they are. They have intriguing books displayed, have large counters full of things children love, and lots and lots of choices of wonderful, colorful books. And they have toys. We never had toys at my old library. But some of these do. Their goal is to get the children interested in books at a very young age, even if they just listen to the stories. My Ty is just finishing his first library time with other children. He loved it. They do songs, finger plays, and easy books. Plus, he gets to interact with other children and their nice mommies, daddies, and Nanas.

I think some of the sweetest people are children's librarians. They are always kind to me, even when I am just there by myself.
So, for a free experience where the only requirement is to be young at heart, go visit a children's room at the library. It's a very fun place to be.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Short Hair, Long Hair, New Hair, Old Hair

I decided to let my hair grow long again. I've had it short for a year now and I miss that nice hair at the back of my neck. Also, last spring, I couldn't wear my Tigers' baseball cap because it looked silly with my hair do. Next spring, I hope to have it long enough so I can do a ponytail and put it through the hole in the back of the cap. Love it.

I truly appreciate all of the kind comments about my short hair. I agree that it looked neat and cute most of the time. It was very easy. But I can never have short hair for very long. I'm sort of a Rapunzel kind of girl. I always wanted long hair when I was younger and my mom liked it in a shorter style, (except for my 4th grade ponytail year, one of the best years of my like but that's a different story.)

I'm thinking I may have a bit of a Samson complex, too. For some reason, I feel better, more myself with a little longer hair. Not stronger, just better. I realize that even though I can make the do nice on Sundays and special occasions with the curling iron, straightener, or both, most days, it won't look as good as it did a few months ago, before this growing out mess I have right now. I can live with that. When it is a bit longer, say just at shoulder length, and it looks nice, I feel great. I feel like I can lick the world. Silly, it's just hair. And one thing is certain, if, after I grow it out and I hate it, or it drags me down, I can always cut it the way it was this year and hope it looks cute again. It looks like a win-win situation.

I'm wondering, do you go around and around with the short hair, long hair thing? Or do you stick with one signature style?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting Out The Wools

One thing I do look forward to at this time of year is getting out all of the cold weather clothes. I have several nice wool jackets and a few plaid skirts.. These are my delight no matter whether plaid is in or out. I guess there's a little bit of "school girl uniform" in me even though I never went to a private school. I just love that look. I can still wear my favorite long red plaid kilt, a white blouse, black wool jacket, and some pin and feel as preppy as the next person.

I can also wear my blown cloche hat, my biased cut brown and maroon skirt, my maroon sweater with the cuffs, long beads, and be a flapper.

Another look I like is my leopard corduroy skirt and my black wool lady sweater. I always wear gold jewelry with that and feel so elegant - in an exciting way.

Then there is that cute plaid box pleat skirt I wear for Christmas with my red blouse and a Christmas pin. These things all fit me so well and that is part of the reason I love them . While I adore a crisp summer dress, it rarely fits so well.

Before I sign off, I'd like to sing the praises of wool material. I prefer wool coats since they make me look as skinny as possible while I'm staying toasty warm. I can't resist a pea coat. I never could. My dad was in the Navy after all. And there is just something about how a wool jacket or skirt hangs on you. It just makes me feel like quality, something I don't get to feel often on my budget. Since wool lasts forever, I can wear the pieces for years. I don't tire of them.

So there's my excitement for the next few months. I will be making up outfits out of these basics and having fun with that. I know, I need a life, but I have always enjoyed fashion. I think that is part of what keeps me young. Have a great weekend. Nancy

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Here It Comes

Yesterday, I heard the "S" word on the radio. In Michigan that can only mean one thing. Snow is on the way. Now I loved snow when I was a little girl. I couldn't wait to get on my snowsuit and gear, take my sled, and head out into the white vastness. I loved making snowballs and breaking off icicles and putting them on my sled. Even then, I was a collector.

As I got older and still didn't drive, I enjoyed the beauty of clean snow and hated the dirty mush. Once I started driving, I pretty much hated snow. I realize it isn't the stuff itself. No, what I dislike is the idea of slipping across lines on the road, sliding up to a traffic light, or something worse. I have been blessed and mostly I have just experienced the sliding effect. It frightens me and I do have concern for others. I drive slowly and carefully. But some surfaces are just slick.

Once the first snowfall has landed and been cleared up, I feel better. Now we are in it and I just have to realize that is the norm for my state. At times, I can even watch those porcupine quill-like flakes hit my windshield and sigh at the beauty and excitement. But not most of the time.

Proverbs 31:21 says: "She is not afraid of snow for her household..." That's in the section on the model wife/mother. I realize it is wrong to worry or be afraid. The Lord has been with me all of these years and He promises He will never leave me. That's a comfort.

Right now I guess I better put out those snowflake napkins I bought and get out my little silver snowflake earrings. It's coming whether I want it or not. And haven't we in Michigan had an exceptionally lovely fall so far? I am very thankful.