Monday, December 31, 2012

Fun (Winter Wonderland Take Two)

It's the 31st! That means today is the last day of 2012--and the last day of the photo challenge. 

It's been a pretty mellow New Year's Eve. Today we had our first real snow of the winter. It didn't stick but it was quite pretty and enjoyable (fun?) to watch.  I wasn't sure how to title this post. The snow was fun to see, but somehow that title "fun" makes me think of a New Year's Party, sparklers, something like that. I don't have any shots like that so share, though, so here's some pictures of our little backyard winter wonderland.

We also enjoyed watching the birds in our backyard. 



Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sky Views

Today is such a beautiful, clear day--rare for winter in the Northwest. This morning when I was getting breakfast, I saw the moon setting out the back windows. It looked beautiful. Then as I got my camera ready to take the shot, some geese flew past the moon--it would have been perfect, but I wasn't ready! So instead I'll show you two pictures: the geese a few moments after they flew past the moon, and the moon itself.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

[Night Time] + [Words]

It appears that my new photo challenge technique is combining topics. :-) I really like to read, and I do most of my reading at night. I recently became the owner of a Kindle, so now I have a new method for reading my words. Now there's a whole range of opinions on the legitimacy of reading on an electronic device. I've known people on both sides of the line. Are e-readers the wave of the future, or unwelcome impostors? That's depends on your view, but I guess I've settled for a compromise. I still love my real, paper books and I hope I always will. You can't really replace the feeling of a book between your hands. At the same time, I've realized that an e-reader will enable me to access books more easily and save space on my shelves (plus it should be a lot easier to travel with!). So I intend to keep using both.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

[Peace] + [Winter Wonderland]

Today was a different kind of Christmas for us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we really did Christmas earlier this month. Christina is away having her own adventure right now, so Mom, Dad, and I did some low-key things. In the afternoon we took a little drive into the Gorge and up Wind River Road. As we drove, the snow increased, until we were inside the National Forest and it really was a winter wonderland!

We came to a dead end at Government Mineral Springs, where we found a plow truck working to keep the road clear.

We got out to look around a little bit. Once the plow truck was gone, it was almost entirely silent. You know that stillness that sets in after a good snow? I hadn't experienced that in a long time. Total quiet...peace.

We didn't stay long (we weren't really prepared to!). On our way home, the snow was beginning to fall thickly.

The view across into Oregon from the Bridge of the Gods.

Merry Christmas!

[Christmas Eve] + [Tradition]

Pretty much every Christmas Eve, we drink eggnog out of these special Christmas glasses. Like the angel, they predate me and they have been a traditional part of our family Christmas for many years.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tree Topper

We've had this angel tree topper as long as I've been alive. As I was preparing this post, I realized that I really knew next to nothing about its origins. So I asked Mom. She bought it in Eureka Springs, Arkansas from the gift section of an ice cream shop. This angel has survived many moves and topped every tree that I remember having--that makes it pretty special.

Candy Cane (Cookies)

In general I'm not crazy about candy canes. However, there is an exception...I love these chocolate peppermint cookies we've been making the last couple years, and candy canes are an essential ingredient for them. They're actually copy-cat cookies based on Lands' End cookies we got once. As tasty as those L.E. cookies were, we wondered if there was a way to make them ourselves and save some money. It turns out they're a really easy cookie to make. Our "recipe" doesn't even require baking...all you need is some simple chocolate wafer cookies, some white "melties," a few drops of peppermint oil and crushed candy canes. Dip those wafers in the white peppermint coating, sprinkle with the candy canes, and let them set. Voila! the easiest Christmas cookie you could ask for.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Outside Christmas Lights

Hem...if this photo challenge were an assignment receiving a grade, I would probably not be doing very well. But the purpose is to have fun, right? So, despite being behind and having some gaps in my list, I'll press on with the next topic that presented itself. 
Last week I came home to find one of those lighted reindeer in the yard. In past years I've made it clear that I like these things, and my parents decided to buy one for me. It was very sweet of them! We've had a running discussion about whether it's tacky or tasteful, but regardless I've enjoyed seeing it out there.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Tree and Presents

 This is how our tree looked last weekend, before we had an early Christmas celebration. We normally celebrate on the 25th like everyone else, but due to some unusual events coming up this year, we chose to have Christmas early. I know, that's very non-traditional, but Christmas isn't so much about when you celebrate as how you celebrate!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Beautiful Sight

Look at that wonderful sunbeam streaming in the front door! For those of us living in the Northwest, sunshine is indeed a beautiful sight. What beautiful sights have you enjoyed this December?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Last weekend, Mom and I took a wreath and centerpiece-making class at Shorty's Garden Center. We had a great time together making our very own wreath and centerpiece. Here are the results.

Wrapping Paper

This isn't a particularly exciting photo, but I do like wrapping paper. It's so fun to transform an ugly cardboard box into something beautiful. 

Something I'm Reading

I had trouble deciding what to post for this one, not because I'm not reading, but because I wasn't sure which book I wanted to tell you about. This book has become a nightstand feature for the last couple months. It's a very meticulous, but in some ways non-traditional translation, and I've found it quite interesting. Motyer is very careful to explain the words he's chosen and what the meanings of the various Hebrew words are. It's clear that he loves the Bible and the book of Isaiah and knows a great deal about them.
Here's his translation of a famous Christmas passage:
"Therefore the Sovereign himself will give you a sign:
The virgin is pregnant,
and going to give birth to a son.
And she will call his name Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:14

Monday, December 10, 2012


 Most of the ornaments in our collection are from our years in Germany. The Germans do Christmas very well! They have special Christmas markets, and stores that specialize in lovely ornaments. Our German ornaments bring back good memories, and here are a few of my favorites.


My new, Christmas-y scarf. I guess it's not really bright, but it's sparkly.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Holiday Movie

I skipped this one earlier, because I think this picture sums up my favorite holiday movie for this year, and I didn't have the tickets until Friday. My true favorite holiday movie is probably the Nativity Story, but this year, the Hobbit is coming out in December! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Shopping...that's rather a touchy subject in December. One can't get too specific where gifts are concerned. All I'll say is, we've done our share.

Today's Temperature

Today's temperature--a comfortable 50 degrees--is warm enough that our winter crop of broccoli continues to do pretty well, and the grass is staying nice and green. I wouldn't mind some colder temperatures (accompanied by snow, of course!), but I have to say that I have gotten used to the mild winters we have here in the Northwest. 

As a side note, I've mentioned before that we are kind of novice gardeners. I had never really thought about growing vegetables in the winter until I read an article about it in the paper. We have yet to see if it will be a success, but it's been interesting at least to give it a try. 


For this one I'm taking some inspiration from what Missy said in her post. I agree with her that music is one of the really joyful things about Christmas. I think it's one of the things that gets us closest to the "true meaning of Christmas"--celebrating Christ's birth.

One special way that Christina and I get to enjoy Christmas music is by playing it together on violin and piano. We haven't played together yet this season, but I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Our tree had a stray branch that needed to be cut off. I decided not to throw it away though. We put it in a vase, but it still needed something...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Photo Challenge: Day 1

A dear friend of mine, Missy, invited me to join her in a December photo challenge. First, let me just introduce Missy. I met her and her family when I was nine, while we were living in Germany where our dads were both stationed, so we go way back. And while we've lived far apart for many years, Missy, her parents, and her sisters are basically family to us.

As I was saying, Missy, who blogs at Babbling Baker, invited me to do this photo challenge with her. The actual challenge is from A Content Housewife. Feel free to join in! Let me know if you do so I can follow your photos, too. Here's the list of photo themes:


I'm a day late, but I'll start with Day 1, which is "Your View Today". Saturday was a busy day and my view kept changing, but here's the part of the day I'm going to share with you. There's actually two photos, and perhaps that will make up for the fact that I'm deliberately skipping a post for Day 2. For now.

In the Northwest, you have three options when it comes to getting a Christmas tree--buy it pre-cut in a tree lot, cut it yourself out in the forest on state land, or do u-cut at one of our many local Christmas tree farms. We take the last option, and we always go to Thornton's Treeland. They have a "small tree" section that generally works pretty well for us.

So there you have it--my view.