Quote of the Day


New Year's Resolutions

1. Stay out of the hospital.
2. Wear fragrance and nail polish more often.
3. Make and adhere to weekly menu plans.
4. Go for more walks.
5. Go to the gym 1-2 times a week.
6. De-clutter the house, basement, and barn.
7. Buy myself a miniature Australian Labradoodle.


When will my heart arise?

I haven't been able to find the author of this beautiful piece which I first heard on Sissel's album Northern Lights. It is listed on her album as a 'traditional' piece.

If you haven't yet heard Sissel sing, you need to click on the link to her website, after you read the poem.
On this glad Christmas morning
When will my heart arise?
The dew will rise the dawning
The sun rise to the skies

Oh Jesu, while you're sleeping
The whole world sings its joys
But I am filled with weeping
When will my heart arise?

I am the thorns that crowned you
I am the whips that scourge
I am the chains that bound you
Who all my sins did purge

I am the cross you shoulder
A cross that crucified
Against your tongue the boulder
When will my heart arise?

I heed here by your manger
Oh blessed winter child
Great, do not have me stranger
Into the winter wild

I kneel here for forgiveness
And all my sins despise
Forgive me gentle baby
Then will my heart arise

Sissel's website.


In the bleak midwinter,

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.



The Barn

The Barn

"I am tired of this barn!" said the colt
"And every day it snows.
Outside there's no grass any more
and icicles grow on my nose.
I am tired of hearing the cows
breathing and talking together.
I am sick of these clucking hens.
I HATE stables and winter weather!"

"Hush, little colt" said the mare,
"And a story I will tell
of a barn like this one of ours
and the wonders that there befell.
It was weather much like this
and the beasts stood as we stand now
in the warm good dark of the barn,
a horse and an ass and a cow."

"And sheep?" asked the colt. "Yes, sheep
and a pig and a goat and a hen.
All the beasts of the barnyard
the usual servants of men.
And into their midst came a lady
and she was as cold as death,
but the animals leaned above her
and made her warm with their breath.

"There was her baby born
and laid to sleep in the hay
while music flooded the rafters
and the barn was as light as day,
and angels and kings and shepherds
came to worship the babe from afar,
but we looked at Him first of all creatures
by the bright strange light of a star!

~ Elizabeth Coatsworth


Almond Pastries

Almond Pastries

Filling: Mix together:
2 C sugar
6 T flour
1/2 t salt
2 T almond extract
4 egg yolks (save the whites)
1 C chopped walnuts
4-6 T milk - add until mixture looks like a thick pudding

Crust: In a separate bowl cut together:
1 C butter
2 2/3 C flour
1 t salt
9 T cold milk

It's crumbly and messy. 

Divide into three equal parts. Roll one out into about a 14 by 9 inch sheet.

Spread 1/3 of the filling onto the dough, leaving 1/2 inch margins.

Fold the short ends in just 1/2 inch (you don't want filling oozing out the ends.

Then fold the long sides in to about one inch per fold. That is, fold the top one inch and the bottom one inch.
 There is still probably some exposed filling, so fold the top and the bottom again until they meet.
Set into a greased and floured glass 9 x 13 baking dish.

Repeat with the other dough portions.
  Brush the tops with egg whites and sprinkle with white sugar.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until everything is golden. Let cool for no more than 5 minutes and then loosen the edges of each roll. Take out of pan and let cool again for no more than 5 minutes. Cut at a slant into 1 inch strips. Eat the stubby little ends yourself.

recipe shared with my by former classmate M. Symes.

reposted with pics

Christmas Cards . . . not this year

Don't feel sad if you know us in Real Life and we don't send you a card this year.  No one else got one either.  Maybe next year.


THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918.


Dancing for Joy: We Danced our Best for Him

Our children performed in tonight's Dancing for Joy production of "We Danced Our Best for Him".  They were terrific and the show altogether was outstanding.  I love the musical selections so much that I came home and bought them.  Here is the link to the We Danced Our Best for Him playlist in case you were there and also want the music.


Mary's Song

Mary's Song

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest ...
you who have had so far
to come.) Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigour hurled
a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world.
Charmed by dove's voices, the whisper of straw,
he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed
who overflowed all skies,
all years.
Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught that I might be free,
blind in my womb to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth
for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

-- Luci Shaw Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation 


Danish Puff

We've been making this every Christmas for years.  The recipe I am copying this from is stained, bunny-nibbled, and has the high-school version of my name on top.

Cut together:
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 C flour.
  • 2 T water.
Round into two balls; pat each into long narrow strips on a cookie sheet.

In a saucepan, melt together and bring to a boil:
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 C water
Remove from heat, then add:
  • 1 t almond
  • 1 C flour, added all at once. 

Add and beat in
  • 1 egg
Add and beat in
  • 1 egg
Add and beat in
  • 1 egg

When smooth, spread on top of the pastry.

Bake at 350 for 60 minutes.  Let cool, or freeze.  Frost with almond butter-cream frosting and top with sliced almonds.
 This is an essential part of our Christmas morning breakfast.

Unit Studies

Unit Studies: I need a clue.

I have on hand two of the Stewart Unit Studies: Lewis & Clark and Birds -- these are both short -- and two of the longer ones: The Prairie Primer (Laura Ingalls Wilder books) and Further In and Further Up (The Chronicles of Narnia). 

What they have listed for a day's work would take us a week.  Do you use Unit Studies?  Can you fill me in?


four years . . .

 . . . ago, today, I said to my Mom, "Mom, if he didn't come in for dinner, he is out on the land somewhere hurt." He was.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Some ideas, for your stuffing pleasure

:: reusable shopping tote
:: earbuds 

:: battery charger
:: batteries
Rainbow Mice - Bag of 12 - Cat Toy:: bath poofs
:: silly banz
:: tea 
:: stationary
:: octopus clips
:: scarves
:: toy mice for humans owned by cats
:: chewies and tennis balls for humans owned by dogs
:: postage stamps for anyone off at college
:: good cheeses
:: nuts
:: Christmas ornaments for young adults
:: pocket flashlights for the cars
:: chapsticks
:: Atlas garden gloves
:: hand-warmer packets for those in cold climates

ITunes Gift Card:: tulip or daffodil bulbs
:: long matches
:: smoked oysters
:: SmartWool socks
:: Starbuck's cards
:: Trader Joe's cards
:: iTunes cards
:: pencils and erasers for school kids - especially home-schooling families
:: chocolate oranges
:: bottle of favorite fragrance
:: paint brushes and  other artsy supplies (hat tip to Audrey)
:: LUSH bubble bars

:: drill bits
:: hairclippies and rubber bands for little girls
:: sparkly glue

What did I miss ?

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