Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Christmas in Pictures


  Hello, dear readers!

    I hope you all had a very merry Christmas with your families and friends! I had a wonderful Christmas at home with my family, and received many pretty things from my dear parents and sisters.
    Today I thought I would write a nice long post with lots of pictures from Christmas and the days preceding (because, um, I kind of took a lot of them,) so this will kind of be a review in pictures of my Christmas.
  
  
These are some of the Christmas cards that we received from family and friends, and below is a picture I took of our tree when it was getting dark, so you can see how pretty the lights look. :-)





These are the blackberry jam stripe cookies that Sadie made, one of my favorites! : )
   Christmas Eve was mostly spend baking and cleaning and wrapping presents. I basically spent the day running around the house singing Christmas songs and cleaning here and there and torturing playing with Oliver, but I also tried to be somewhat useful in preparations. :-) Sadie and I also dressed up the dolls in their finest attire for Christmas, and Sadie did their hair very nicely too.




   This picture shows a little better the style Sadie did on Millie's hair, which was very pretty. She also put some baby's breath in it from one of my Nutcracker bouquets. : P



   Also, my copy of The Dancing Master arrived on Christmas Eve! I had ordered it back in October and they said it wouldn't ship until January, so when the box came I thought it was a Christmas present and I wasn't supposed to open it. Then when my mom came home she said it was probably my book, and I'm afraid I went quite wild--you see, I've been waiting for this book for quite some time. It was such a wonderful surprise! And just in time for Christmas! I just finished the last book I was reading the day after Christmas so I've just started it and am not very far yet, but I hope it shall be as good as Julie Klassen's other books that I've read.



From the Dr. Quinn episode "Mike's Dream...A Christmas Tale".


   On Christmas Eve we had a quiet dinner at home, and then we watched a Waltons Christmas episode followed by a Dr. Quinn Christmas episode before going to a late Christmas service at a church in town (since our own church doesn't have a Christmas Eve service, which I think is a crying shame.) :( But anyway, the service was very nice, but I was very tired when we got home at around 12:30 and went straight to bed in anticipation of the day to come. :-)

   On Christmas day we got up early to a beautiful snow-covered morning and opened presents. Here are some of the things I got:



    From my parents:  In my stocking I found a lovely set of flowered stationary, a new pen, a beautiful jewelled hairclip, a pair of striped socks that promise to be darn tough (and have an unconditional lifetime guarantee : )), a set of bayberry taper candles, a little flowered flashlight and some maple sugar candies. I also received a new piano music book that has lots of popular classical songs and a beautiful new pink nightgown!



  From my sister Sadie:  I was very much looking forward to opening Sadie's gift because she had put it under the tree several days before Christmas (she always does), and I could tell by the shape that it was a book and CD, so for a while I had been speculating on what it could be! When I opened her package I found a beautiful copy Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and the gorgeous Out of Africa soundtrack! :-)



   From my sister Molly: Molly gave me a very nice large box with maps and postal marks from France all over it. It has clasps and a handle so it can also be carried like a suitcase.


    The box is just the right size to store all my old letters from pen pals and stationary, so that's what I decided to use it for. Here's a picture of all of my letters and cards in it.


Me with my new hairclip


  My friend and former babysitter gave me this lovely white infinity scarf, which is very cozy and warm and I have been wearing it around the house, it's so comfortable! These are all the rage with the girls I was in the Nutcracker with, so now it's kind of nice to have one of my own to wear. Makes me feel a bit frou-frou. :-P


Oliver was tuckered out from all the excitement and decided to take a nap under the Christmas tree. :-P




    From my parents, Sadie received a DVD of the gospel-musician family, the Collinsgworths. Some of our relatives introduced us to their music a few years ago and gave us one of their DVDs, and even though gospel music isn't usually my favorite, I really enjoy their music. We watched the DVD after breakfast and then we watched parts of it again later when my grandparents came over for dinner. Their DVDs are a lot of fun to watch and I especially enjoyed their music on this one!


   The Collingsworths have actually come to my aunt's church a few times in the past, and just the other day we heard from her that they're coming again this November! My mom said of course we'll go see them, and we might even be able to meet them since my aunt works at her church and has "connections". How exciting!

Oliver, looking rather panicked after just having a piece of wrapping paper tossed onto him. : P In this picture you can also see my "darn tough" socks.

   My grandparents came over in the afternoon for dinner and we gave them their presents and my sisters and I played some of our new music. Then in the evening we watched Home Alone, which my mom bought last year but I had never seen before. I wasn't expecting to like it very much, but it was actually hysterical and I liked it more than I thought I would. But the poor kid! Being left home alone while his family went to France?!? That would definitely be scary. Also I didn't expect to like the kid as much as I did, but I kept finding myself thinking, wow, he's really smart! And the robbers, though perfectly horrid, were absolutely hilarious too. I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed it!

  Tomorrow we are doing music at our church and then in the afternoon we have a Christmas party that my mom organized for her side of the family. There's going to be a gift exchange and I still haven't gotten a gift for it yet! Yikes! I'd better find something quick! Also, my Grandma has commissioned me to sing the old Irish song Galway Bay, because my Grandpa and his relatives are Irish. Here's a video of Chloe Agnew from Celtic Woman singing it.

                                             
    Isn't it gorgeous? Grandma gave me a recording of Bing Crosby singing it so I could learn the words, but even as much as I adore Bing Crosby, I think this version is probably my favorite.

   So! There's been a lot going on in the past weeks! There are also a few things coming up in the remainder of December and January of the new year that I'm looking forward to, including a New Years' Ball that my family has been invited to, my annual works-in-progress dance recital (at which I am performing the dance of the Sugar Plum fairy from the Nutcracker-- I can't wait! : )), and my sister's birthdays (and mine, come February). Also, there is a production of Wicked coming to a city not too far from where I live, so there is a chance, albeit a veeeery tiny one , that I may be able to go to see it! Now THAT would be exciting! : ) I've never seen the musical before but I've heard lots of good things about it (and plus it's a musical, so the odds are I'm going to like it), and I would really love to go see it live.

  I hope you are all having a blessed and joyful Christmas season! Have a happy New Years' and may the Lord bless you in 2014! : )


 What did you do on Christmas?
 Do you have any special plans for New Years'?


  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Carol Lyrics Game~ Answers!


    I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! :-) I had a wonderful (and snowy!) Christmas at home with my family. Hopefully there will be a long post about that with lots of pictures coming soon!
  Here are the answers to the Christmas carol lyrics game I posted last week. Many thanks to all you who played! : P


Carol #1

   For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
   While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond'ring love.

Answer: O Little Town of Bethlehem

Carol #2

  Born to raise the sons of earth
  Born to give them second birth
 Life and life to all He brings
 Ris'n with healing in His wings

Answer: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Carol #3

  Now when they came to Bethlehem,
   Where our sweet Savior lay,
   They found Him in a manger,
   Where oxen feed on hay.

Answer: God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen

Carol #4

  Come to Bethlehem and see,
   Him Whose birth the angels sing
   Come adore on bended knee
   Christ the Lord, our newborn King.

Answer: Angels We Have Heard On High

Carol #5

   The star drew nigh over the northwest
   Over Bethlehem it took its rest,
   And there it did both stop and stay,
   Righ over the stable where Jesus lay.

Answer: The First Noel

Carol #6

  The rising of the sun,
  The running of the deer,
  The playing of the merry organ,
  The singing in the choir.

Answer: The Holly and the Ivy

Carol #7

  Sing, choirs of angels,
   Sing in exultation,
  O sing, all ye citizens of Heav'n above:
 "Glory to God, glory in the highest."

Answer: O Come, All Ye Faithful

Carol #8

   Dream, dream, dream,
   Of the joyous day to come.
   While guardian angels withour number,
   Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
   Dream, dream, dream,
   Of the joyous day to come.

Answer: Still, Still, Still

Carol #9

   I thought how, as the day had come,
  The belfries of all Christendom
  Had rolled along the unbroken song
  Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Answer: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
 
Carol #10

   From the distant mountains
   Hear the trumpet sound
   With angelic blessings
   On the silent town.

Answer: Sing We Now of Christmas

                   
                                                       Players' Scores
                                                 Miss Laurie-- 40 points
                                                          Sadie-- 15 points
                                                          Hamlette-- 15 points


    I actually forgot to say in the game how the scoring went, so just so ya know, I've given five points for each correctly guessed Christmas carol. Thanks for playing ladies! : )



 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

   It's Christmas Eve!


     It's a winter wonderland outside! I was afraid we wouldn't have snow for Christmas because last week it was warm and it all melted away, but last night it began to snow again and this morning when I awoke everything was white! It was very fitting, especially considering how we just finished watching "White Christmas" last night. It looks as though we'll have a white Christmas after all! :-)
   


   Today has been a day for baking, gift-wrapping, cleaning, and a host of other things. : P Last evening Sadie baked gingerbread cookies and today Molly is planning on making apple bread. Tonight we're spending Christmas Eve quietly at home and then later we're going to a Christmas Eve service. I've been flitting around the house all day, singing songs and tidying here and there and doing last-minute decorating. Good thing I've got all my presents wrapped and ready for tomorrow! I'm so excited! :-)

                                                                           ~~~~

    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  ~ Luke 2:11



     I hope you all have a blessed Christmas with friends and family celebrating our Savior's birth!

    Here is a clip from one of my favorite movies of all time, Meet Me In St. Louis, of Judy Garland singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. This is one of my very favorite Christmas songs and this scene in the movie always brings tears to my eyes!

     

      Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Carol Lyrics Game


  Since Christmas is only five days away (FIVE DAYS, people!) I thought, why not do a Christmas carol lyrics game? I love most all Christmas carols and to me they are a very special part of the season. Below are verses from ten different traditional Christmas carols. Try to guess which carol the verse comes from; most of them are later verses from very well-known carols and I tried not to make it too tricky, so I hope it isn't! : P Leave your guesses in a comment, and answers will be posted next week! Have fun! :-)

Carol #1

    For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
    While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wond'ring love.

Carol #2

    Born to raise the sons of earth
    Born to give them second birth.
    Light and life to all He brings,
    Ris'n with healing in His wings.

Carol #3

  Now when they came to Bethlehem,
   Where our sweet Savior lay,
   They found Him in a manger,
   Where oxen feed on hay.

Carol #4

   Come to Bethlehem and see
   Him Whose birth the angels sing
   Come adore on bended knee
   Christ the Lord, our newborn King.

Carol #5

    The star drew nigh to the northwest.
    Over Bethlehem it took its rest,
   And there it did both stop and stay
   Right over the stable where Jesus lay.

Carol #6

    The rising of the sun,
    The running of the deer,
    The playing of the merry organ,
    The singing in the choir.

Carol #7

     Sing, choirs of angels,
     Sing in exultation,
     O sing, all ye citizens of Heav'n above:
    "Glory to God, glory in the highest."

Carol #8

     Dream, dream, dream,
     Of the joyous day to come.
    While guardian angels without number,
    Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
    Dream, dream, dream,
    Of the joyous day to come.

Carol #9

   I thought how, as the day had come,
   The belfries of all Christendom
   Had rolled along the unbroken song
  Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Carol #10

   From the distant mountains
   Hear the trumpet sound
  With angelic blessings
  On the silent town.

  


 What are some of your favorite Christmas carols?


Thursday, December 19, 2013

December Letters

    Dear Readers,
      Christmas is coming! :-) I've had a lot of ideas for special Christmasy posts this year, and this is something I've seen on several different blogs and have been wanting to give a try.  Here is a collection of little letters to people and things and experiences that I've been thinking about and doing and so forth, most of which are directly related to Christmas but some of which are just completey random things that I've been thinking about. So here goes! :-)


 
Dear Snow,

     I knew you'd come back! :-) I was rather sad when you melted away after Thanksgiving, but I was so happy when you returned last week and it looks as though this Christmas is going to be very snowy indeed. Nothing makes it feel like Christmas so much as snow! Unfortunately I haven't had the time to do much sledding yet, but there will be plenty of time for that after Christmas. You are so beautiful and Christmas just wouldn't be the same without you! :-)

 

   Dear Gingerbread House Postage Stamps,

      You are so adorable! Thank you for making my letters look pretty and Christmas-y.


  
  Dear Oliver,

      My sweet, darling Oliver-- you can be extremely annoying at times and sometimes you vex me to no end-- like when you nibble on my beautiful roses that I received last weekend-- but you are so very superior to every other cat and I love you in spite of all your little annoying habits. Please don't track any more pine needles in the house (we have enough of those already), and please don't eat any more of my roses (although I doubt you'll be able to get at them now that I've put them on top of the china cabinet. Mwahahaha). Mind your manners, and try to stay off my bed. I love you. *Blows kisses*



   Dear Christmas Tree,

      I'm so pleased with the way you look in our living room this year! I had fun bringing you into the house and decorating you with Molly and Sadie. Bringing ornaments out of the Christmas boxes year after year is like seeing old friends again! It's so nice to wake up early and have the tree lights on while I'm eating breakfast, and I'm sure I shall enjoy looking at you all throughout the season.



 Dear The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982),

    Oh my goodness gracious. Wow. I really enjoyed watching you again! You were even better the second time around than the first, and I daresay, even better the third time than the second! You are completely epic and romantic and definitely one of my favorite movies. (One of these days I really must read the book!)



 Dear Nutcracker 2013,

    You were so much fun this year! It was so wonderful to actually be on pointe this year (even though my pointe shoes are now filthy from the floors at the theatre), and I am so glad I was in the snow and flower corps as well as the merlaton corps. It was great to get to know the girls in my dressing room better, and I received so many flowers and little gifts from dear friends. Being in the snow and flower corps made me actually feel like an important part of the production, and the experience was very rewarding. (And one of the best parts was talking and laughing in the dressing room and playing with the party mom fans. : P) This year was the most enjoyable performance yet, and I shall always remember it.




  Dear Couscous,

     You are absolutely the best thing ever. There is nothing like a bowl of couscous with butter on these cold winter days to cheer a person! Thank you for being so wonderful, and thank you for not making me sneeze even though you are high in gluten (which makes absolutely no sense at all, but if it doesn't make me sick, I'm going to eat it). I love you!


  Dear Becky's Christmas,

     


   Talk about nostalgia! You are simply the most adorable Christmas story! I've read you so many times I know you by heart, but still you're as enchanting as ever. So many memories are contained in these pages and I practically feel like the characters are my dear old friends (because they are, you know.) : P I love, love, love you.
   
   Dear The Dolls' Christmas,


     Another dear old Christmas book! You are so adorable and quaint and you gave me so many wonderful ideas for my own dolls' Christmas. I've probably read you about a zillion times or so, but I still love you as much as ever and you will always be special as the first Tasha Tudor book I ever read. *Sentimental sniff*


  Dear Tasha Tudor books in general,
  
 Y'all are adorable and I love you. *Blows kisses*


 Dear Tasha Tudor,

   Wow. You were such an amazing woman and such a wonderful inspiration to me. I've loved your books since childhood and still read them over and over again, and they never lose their charm! If it weren't for you, I might have never wanted to write children's books, and I probably wouldn't have been so interested in dolls and miniature things. And I probably wouldn't be so sentimental either. :-) You are such a kindred spirit and I know we would have been such great friends!


 Dear Celtic Woman Home For Christmas,


   I've really loved listening to you this month and I'm so glad Mama bought you! I absolutely love your versions of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Auld Lang Syne.




  Dear Straight No Chaser Christmas Spirits album,

    I don't like you, sorry. :-P



 Dear Sadie,

    You make everything so much more fun! I'm so excited about giving you your Christmas present! (By the way, we still haven't laughed for fifteen minutes yet to burn the equivalent of calories in an ice cream cone. We have to remember to do that sometime that's not after 10 PM, okay?) : P


Dear Christian Romance Authors,

    I really do like you guys and some of you write really amazing books, but there is one quibble I have with you as a group-- you're kind of redundant. You write the same sort of story over and over again. Those Brides collections are my number one example of this. You know what I mean: the girl is hiding her past, the guy is bitter about something, they are attracted to each other from the start but believe they can never be together....sound familiar? All else aside, though, I  really do love a lot of your books and I appreciate you greatly.

  Dear Christmas Shopping,

    I must be honest, you really aren't my favorite thing to do. Especially when I have such limited funds as I do right now....: P


  Dear White Christmas (1954),


     I knew I would love you. I just knew it. Even though we're not even half-way through you yet, you're definitely one of my new favorite Christmas movies. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are just so cute and you're so charming and nostalgic...*sigh*

 Dear Civil War Songs Book,

   How I wish I could keep you forever and never have to take you back to the library! But, alas, that wouldn't be right, and we have had you since October (yikes!) so I suppose it really is time we take you back. *Sniffle*

 Dear Dr. Quinn,


        What can I say? How can I express just how much you mean to me? I've loved watching you ever since I was little and even now there are few things I love more. The characters are like members of my family, the townspeople my old friends, and Colorado Springs is my second home. Whenever I'm feeling stressed or sad, I can watch Dr. Quinn and feel like I've come home. I love you so much! :-)

 Dear SIX DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS,

   Wow! This month has really gone by fast! It's almost hard to believe that Christmas is less than a week away (and I still don't have all my gifts! Yikes!)  I'm so excited for Christmas to come, and yet, I wish we had just a little more time. Oh well.


 Dear God,

    You are so loving and so good. Things can get really crazy sometimes and not always go the way we've planned, but You are always in control, even when it seems like everything's going wrong. Thank You for loving me so much that you sent Your Son to earth for me, and thank You for all the blessings you've given me and my family. You truly are amazing.


 Dear Lovely Peope Who Read This Blog,

   I am so grateful for you all! It makes me so happy that there are people out there who are actually interested in reading the rather random and often silly things I write. I'm so blessed to have gotten to know some of you and I look forward to getting better acquainted with others. Thank you all so much! I hope you all have a very merry Christmas season! : )


         So what are your plans for Christmas? Do you have all your shopping done?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday to Jane Austen!

                      Today is Jane Austen's 238th birthday!
  
   Jane Austen is the greatest and most beloved English authoress of the nineteenth century-- and, arguably, of all time-- whose romantic regency novels are some of the best-loved books in the world. Over the centuries she has been admired, quoted, mimicked and even copied (which is not usually a very good thing...) but I don't believe anyone will ever capture regency society quite so eloquently or accurately as she has in her six novels and other short works.
   Jane Austen is not really my favorite author (and in truth, I have never actually finished one of her novels-- yet, that is), but I very much enjoy her stories and greatly admire her as an authoress and prominent historical figure. Her characters are some of my favorites from classic literature (especially the Dashwoods : )), her clever descriptions of human nature always make me laugh, and if I had been born two-hundred and thirty-eight years ago in Hampshire, England, I do believe we would have got on very well. : )

  Some wit and wisdom from Miss Austen....






This one I found to be most amusing. :-)






  A very happy birthday to Jane Austen!





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