And, as usual, I wandered off my list! LOL Miller's book is at our library but I never got around to it. And, when I looked in September, I couldn't find Cooper's book at my library or through interlibrary loan.
I did read Yesterday's Weather by Anne Enright but was disappointed. I had initially been excited by the structure of several short essays. With small kids, it's hard to follow a long story! LOL But, I've apparently been out of the loop with popular books too long and found her stories didn't really speak to me anymore.
Absorbant Mind took two tries through interlibrary loan and it is still sitting on my kitchen counter unread! LOL
Lynn Truss' book was an unexpected delight! I actually laughed out loud but had problems explaining the jokes and stories well enough to DaHubby for him to appreciate them! LOL All I can say is she spoke to the English teacher in me! LOL And, I would highly recommend it.
I'm halfway through Cranford and I'm having trouble finishing it after several weeks of trying.
I finished Friends for the Journey just in time to start tracking down a copy for my best for her birthday in October! A little choppy but very deep and WELL worth the read!
It's weigh-in day again with The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. I have been using the church scale since it's one of those doctor office sliding scale types with half-pounds and quarter-pound increments while I have a who-knows-how-old floor scale here at home.
Unfortunately, we missed church this weekend due to traveling for an early Christmas celebration with my family on the other side of the state.Last week, I *did* however try to make my home scale as close as possible to the readings I got at church on December 7th. So, while I missed weighing in on the 14th, I stood on my home scale this morning to find that it appears that I'm another 3.5 pounds lighter.
So why does this feel like cheating? I don't really want to celebrate just yet since it isn't an "official" reading from church but I'm hopeful that at least I am still down in numbers no matter what.
So, with that disclaimer and explanation, if the home scale is correct, I've lost 8 pounds in the last seventeen days! *big smile*
Two weeks from tomorrow on New Year's Eve we will be cracking open a little mini-time capsule from 2008. The last two Januarys, I went to our local Lowe's paint department and purchased a plain empty paint can with lid. During each month, we place the "memorabilia" of our recent activities in it. At the end of each month, I also glance through a month worth of photos and pick out a few, label them with a date, and add them in.
On December 31, 2007, we finished dinner, cleared the table and opened a year worth of memories! Pojke was a little small to remember all of it (given he turned one in January 2007 LOL) but Flicka remembered nearly everything!
And, the memory can is labeled with the appropriate year and stored (somewhat) more conveniently on a shelf in the basement.
Each year I've been trying to make it a tradition to spend December first through Christmas with one small extra Christmas and/or family-related activity for us to enjoy together. I wasn't blogging in 2005 but posted about this in 2006 and 2007.
And, we're about halfway through our 2008 attempt! LOL We've only missed 2 activities so far but no worries! We did something else that day together. Some folks have asked me to share my list again so here it is for this year:
1 paper snowflakes 2 candy garland (candy dots on paper) 3 see downtown snowmen (public art display) 4 MOMS Club craft 5 community tree lighting 6 library gingerbread house 1pm $1.50/each 7 put up Cmas tree 8 wreaths from paper plates 9 school donation? (donated batteries to favorite local science teacher) 10 night walk/drive to see lights 11 red/green RC treats 12 St. Lucia Day 13 Family party 14 go see Papa B and Granny T 15 HS orch/choir concert 7pm 16 PAT holiday party 17 red/green gumdrop craft 18 Fernwood (nature center lights display) 19 ice skating (11am-6pm) 20 kids museum family activity 21 church Cmas singspiration 22 MOMS Caroling and Craft @ nursing home 23 Cmas cookies 24 Jesus b-day party
Each year things get tweaked here and there. I also make sure I take advantage of everything I can find in our little local paper that's free or inexpensive. Finally, I balance the crafts and cooking-related type activities with the ones that take no preparation just to keep me sane! LOL
It doesn't have to be complicated and this is done in conjunction with our Jesse Tree devotions each night and, so far, it really works for us.
I had been eagerly anticipating starting a Jesse Tree type devotion with the Vikings this year. No one I've spoke with IRL was familiar with them. But, after seeing several of my bloggy friends talking about theirs, I did some research and came up with our own.
With the Vikings still being so hands-on and things-lost, I didn't want a tree at their level this year for an entire month. LOL If this is something I want to do year after year, I need the ornaments to be actually ON the tree after 20-some days of anticipation! LOL
So, I hung a garland over our couch. I also bought two bags of wood "craft shapes" and printed over the devoitions and clipart I found here. Clip art colored and glued on shapes + box of office clips + dollar store garland and VOILA!
We are about halfway through and the Vikings seem to be retaining many of the stories and lessons night to night. And, they DEFININTELY know that when that garland is all full, it'll be Christmas!
St. Lucia, the patron saint of Sweden, has her feast day on December 13. But, we will be traveling tomorrow and Papa will be working tomorrow so we took the liberty of celebrating a little early.
One of the traditions on St. Lucia Day, the beginning of the Christmas season for Scandinavians, is that the youngest girl in the house wearing a white dress, red sash, and a wreath upon her head lit with candles wakes her family on the morning of the 13th with all sorts of traditional Swedish goodies.
So, last year Grandma made Papa's favorite gingerbread cookies and Flicka passed them out at Da Grandparents favorite morning coffee spot.
And, this morning, we packed up the van at 7:15am to take treats to DaGrandparents at their newest breakfast spot.
Flicka picked out Junior Mints and Reese's mini-cups (Papa's favorites) along with some store-bought gingerbread cookies. And, I was so impressed and proud how brave, excited, and sweet she was this morning.
Now, first of all, I'm not bragging. Lately, I've been feeling like the good things the Vikings do is in spite of me instead of because of me. But, right now, I'm a big ball of momma goo on the floor.
Flicka just asked for me to make breakfast for them. As I finished what I was working on, I pulled her up on my lap.
"Baby, I have so much to do today. I don't know how where to start. What do you think I should do? How am I gonna get it all done?"
"I know, Mom! I'll make our breakfast all by myself!"
OK, honestly? I inwardly groaned. Especially when Pojke jumped in too. But, we just had the sweetest moment as Flicka put some mayo on bread and Pojke and I count out ham slices and cut up and counted apple slices.
No fighting. No whining. No complaining. And, most shockingly, no mess. LOL
It was probably 3 minutes at most. And, probably the best 3 minutes of my day. And, I smiled.
"Thank you for making breakfast, baby. I really appreciate it. You are getting to be such a great helper and an awesome big sister."
I fought the scale - and *I* won this week...despite some really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad PMS.
I've noticed that the first weeks of weight loss for me are usually pretty rewarding. Since I am immediately dropping all the bad food (ice cream, chips, creamy diary, cheeses, etc.), the first few pounds come off pretty easy.
But, it's gonna get harder so I'm digging in for the long haul - especially since I have no real exercise options working for me at this point in time. (So not a winter person - in another life, I must have been a bear. LOL) The plan is to fix the food issues first and, by the time I hit that eventual first plateau, it will be warm enough again to get back outside.
But, as of last Sunday, I've lost 4.5 pounds since the first of the month. That is an awesome start and I'm thrilled but I have a *really* long way to go so...one baby step at a time...one foot in front of the other...one day at a time.
We ran out of time last night due to Christmas light problems so I promised a first-thing-in-the-morning craft followed with a bath. So, at 7:15am this morning, this is what my kitchen table looked like (LOL):
It's not about the perfect gift. It's not about the food, goodies, or the travel. It's not about your crazy aunt whoever or your family history. It's not about the perfect tree. It's SO not about this (LOL): It IS about family, love, grace, and will-this-really-matter-in-20-years.
And, ultimately, t's about this:
O come, o come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here until theSon of God appear. Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuelshall come to thee, O Israel.
My home is a real stumbling block for me. I'm often self-conscious and worried when having people over. Whether family or other moms, when someone walks in the front door, I always seem to see what's wrong with my sweet little house. This is connected to a lifetime of feeling inferior, out of sync, and different but I'm looking at it now more as a contentment issue. In addition, it strikes me as a last hurdle in our "live like no one else" instruction through our Financial Peace training.
So, my TTT is set up for me to recognize the blessings I initially see as problems around my home.
The "leaky" kitchen windows? They give me a beautiful view while doing dishes.
The leaky spot on the roof? I have such a blessing to have a hubby that will climb up in the attic with all the varmint, the spiderwebs, insulation, etc and is able to fix it!
The leaky basement? It stores all the stuff we've collected as well as treasured memories (now stored in waterproof boxes LOL). It also is the home for a washing machine and dryer that work and don't require me to drive to a laundromat - Vikings in tow.
The icky, scuffed, ripped linoleum kitchen floor? A perfect, no-worries surface for all the Vikings' misadventures. Pojke's impromptu crayon drawing - no problem! The Matchbox car race scratches - no problem! Spilled food and drink - no problem! Muddy/wet/snow-covered feet/boots/shoes - no problem!
The old, rundown side-by-side fridge that drives DaHubby and I crazy with its inconvenience? It's filled to the brim with good food every Wednesday.
The half-planned half bath with some problems that came with the house? Hubby covered the tiny, stand-up shower stall with a Plexiglas-type cover and *ta da* instant sauna/steam room!
The mossy, constantly damp, mosquito-lovin', no-fun-to-play-in, not-fenced-in-backyard? Hosted three years of an awesome vegetable garden created by DaHubby and gave me the motivation to learn to preserve tomatoes, carrots, and green peppers.
The poison ivy growin', neighbor's lilac tree overgrowin' south exterior wall? Keeps my babies cool and shady in the summer.
My ever-present dust bunnies and gritty floors? We're so blessed to live near sandy Lake Michigan - a dream I've had since I can remember.
My kids' oddly shaped, seemingly small bedrooms? Constantly messy and overflowing with the blessings of family and friends who give us new and hand-me-down clothes and toys.
My crooked concrete sidewalk leading up to the house? Crooked because I have an AMAZING hubby that spent several days two summers ago building me an AMAZING deck/front porch!
So what little "irritations" are really a blessing for YOU this week? Check in with Pam today too.
The Vikings are not really up on their bloggy alter egos. While both know that they're Daddy's little "Svenska Pojke" and Svenska Flicka", that's about as far as their awareness goes. So, imagine my surprise to here them singing this Veggie Tales song while playing this morning:
We're Vikings, what do you know, the terrors of the sea We're Vikings, where ever we go, pillaging happily We're Vikings, let there be no ambiguity Cause who doesn't like a pile of loot? Some gold, some jewels, and a shiny suit? And a giant screen TV to boot? A Viking's life for me! Yo ho!
Flicka leads this duet and she's missing the "terrors" and "pillaging" but it's hysterical nonetheless!