Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

An odd little post ... but it may help you out!

Today I'm blogging about the magic of a piece of bread.
How much good can a piece of bread do, you may ask? LOTS.
Par exemple ... I've been doing a lot of holiday baking lately ... ginger snaps, frosted sugar cookies etc. I've always been frustrated that my cookies come out so nice, only to get rock hard within 15 hours of going into the cookie tin. So I went online, as so many of us do nowadays, to consult the Google gods.
Turns out, you can put a fresh piece of bread on top of your cookies, in the container, before you put the lid on. I tried it. And WOW! My cookies are staying soft until they're all gone! (Which admittedly, isn't long in our house). Seriously! My cookie problems are forever solved! I guess the cookies suck the moisture right out of the bread ... it's weird, because in just an hour or so, the bread becomes sort of rigid and crispy, like you toasted it! If it gets too hard, you just swap it out for another piece!
So while this may seem like an odd thing to blog about, I thought I'd throw it out there in case any of my cyber friends are doing any baking this week! In the meantime, my Christmas cards are in the mail folks....FINALLY ... and I'm resisting the urge to blog all the cute photos from this year's photo shoot of the kids, until the cards get to their destinations. I would hate to ruin the surprise! But check back soon, I will be blogging about them eventually.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"The Stockings Were Hung..."

One of the moments in our new house that we were looking forward to the most this holiday season was decorating our fireplace mantle. Over the course of a week or so, we finally managed to secure the necessary decorations to make it happen! Tonight, Nate actually went outside and hacked off one branch off the evergreen out front and wove an evergreen swag for our mantle piece. How many men can do that!!! It looked phenomenal, especially once it was wrapped with some fun gold ivy I found at Michaels, as well as some white lights. The vintage wooden cross-country skis to the left of the fireplace are courtesy of the Harrmann attic. The wreath hanging above the fireplace is made out of blueberry bush branches -- we got it at the tree farm this year, and decorated it with bunches of live holly (with berries!) from our bush out front.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

We bought our Christmas tree this past weekend from possibly the quaintest little tree farm on the planet... complete with perfect farmhouse, barn, Bing Crosby music and snowflakes the size of quarters. What a blast! Nathan got some awesome pictures using his new camera, while we chopped down our Blue Spruce.

The Harrmanns at the tree farm!

Ash pushes the tree cart out to the field.

The boys play/wrestle by an outbuilding.

My boys by our tree!

Asher eats some snow.

My kiddos.

What can I say, Mr. Asher was being very photogenic ... which isn't always the case with him... so we have lots of Ash photos from this trip.

This shot was taken just today. Rhy LOVES our Christmas tree, and likes to sit on her heels and talk to it, using cute little gurgles and inquisitive noises. It's quite adorable.

FYI: I read in a magazine last year, that if you want to remember your tree every year, cut off a portion of the trunk, just about 1 inch thick. Then drill a hole through the top of it, loop a piece of yarn or twine through it and Wallah ... an ornament. I did this last year, and also used a sharpie marker to write on it, "Douglas Fir - 2007." When I pulled it out this year to hang on the tree, it really made me smile. A great idea! We plan to do it again this year before tossing the tree!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thanksgiving Highlights

Enjoy this video I made of our family Thanksgiving in St. Louis. Those of you who aren't family might find it a little dull ... but hang in there ... you get to hear me getting hit in the face with a football...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The pebble I thought was a boulder

Here's thanking God for the unexpected blessings in life that often seem like curses. I'm reminded of a cartoon I once saw with a man standing there, when a small rock hits him in the head. He curses, swears, goes bananas, shouting out "Why me! What the heck else can go wrong? All the bad stuff always happens to me!!" Fuming, he turns around to see God standing there, holding an avalanche from falling on him. Concerned, God turns his head as he strains against the massive pileup of boulders on his back and asks the man "You alright? I think one might have got through." The man, understandably, looks chagrined and ashamed of his behavior.
Okay, so that man was me about seven months or so ago now, when I got laid off at the newspaper I worked at in Wisconsin. I was, at least I think, a pretty darn good writer and copy editor. And out of the middle of nowhere, I got the "call". With three kids and a mortgage, I suddenly had no job. I was MAD as hell. I didn't really blame God too much, since Nate had gotten a job offer to Michigan only days earlier -- but it still seemed a bit unfair.
But our house sold fast and soon we were moving to Michigan and got a screamin' deal on a new home. We settled in nicely and have more time together now than ever before.
Today, I read the headlines ... that as of today, Gannett Corp. is now in full swing with perhaps the largest newspaper layoffs in the history of newspapers. WOW. Upwards of 600 to possibly over a thousand people will be losing their jobs in the coming days ... just before Christmas ... with the economy in the proverbial crapper.
So now I realize I'm pretty blessed. Very blessed actually. To have gotten out in the Spring, before things got REALLY bad. With good people losing their jobs right and left ... at least it happened for me at a time when we could handle it as a family.
So here's to blessings in disguise... and a patient God who often has to wait out our belated gratitude.