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Monday, December 28, 2015

The In between Days...

It's definitely winter here in the Inland Northwest.  I took this picture on Christmas Eve and Dennis was out "playing" with the snowblower.  We had just finished clearing the walks and driveway when the snowplow came by, leaving a 2 1/2 to 3 foot ice berm at the end of the driveway.  This is only the second or third time the plow has come by in the 13 years we've lived here even when there has been more snow than this on the ground.  Usually we just drive over the snow and pack it down that way.  I almost prefer that because of the nasty ice berms the plows leave behind.  It took Dennis and I almost an hour to clear it away on Thursday,  After finishing our driveway we went across the street and cleared the three neighbors driveways there.  We always do the sidewalk from one end of the block to the other on our side and the triple car driveway of our neighbor to the south.  She's single with no snow-blower so we like to help her out.
It is pretty though isn't it?  We've gotten about a foot more snow since I took the above picture on Christmas Eve.  Today was my turn to use the snowblower because Dennis had to go back to work.  I cleared away another five inches of the nasty white stuff this morning.  It kept snowing off and on the rest of the day too.
This afternoon I ran a couple of short errands and about a mile from home I stopped to snap a few pictures for those of you that are snowless.
Cold, but so beautiful
This was about two blocks from home.  Three o'clock in the afternoon and you can see my headlights reflecting on the snow.  It's dark by 3:30 and the sun comes up a little before 8 a.m.  The days are getting longer now though.
Miss Piper in her Christmas dress.  Right after this picture both her and Mandy got very sick with horrible colds and fevers.  They still don't feel well.  I feel so sorry for them having such a miserable weekend.
I received an envelope in the mail with thank you cards from the teacher and students that I took the first batch of mittens to.  Each card had a picture of the child wearing a pair of mittens and a handwritten thank you.  The teacher also wrote a very nice note.  This was a very nice surprise.
I spent a quiet day at home today.  Snow blowing, vacuuming, laundry.  We got a rock chip in the windshield on Christmas Day from the gravel the plows put on the roads.  I called the insurance company about 11:00 this morning and at 1:15 Safe Light Repair was at our house repairing it!  That is what I call amazing service.  And we didn't have to pay a penny.  Glass repair is covered under our policy with no deductible!  A nice surprise.  I also called to let the oven repair place know that the cheap part fix didn't work and now they're ordering the $300 part.  I sure hope that is the problem because I could almost buy a new stove for what this repair is costing.  The doctors office called to let me know that they are going to do a MRI on my back as soon as they can make certain I can have one with my pacemaker.  

Lots of little things got done around here today and I even got two pair of mittens knitted!  I hope you're all having a great time of rest after the business of the holidays.  We plan for a quiet New Years Eve.  Dennis has to work and then our friends Neal and Jenny are coming over for dinner and to play dominoes.  I'm going to make my homemade chicken and noodles and Neal will make his prize winning biscuits.  Along with cranberries and green beans from my summer garden I think it will be a good meal.  We don't party much and will be in bed long before midnight, especially since Dennis will have worked all day.  

New Years Day we plan to try to recreate our summer Friday's at the lake and we're getting pizza and meeting Larry, Nita, Paul and Lori for dinner.  The days are getting longer and we'll be back at the lake before long.  I have to tell myself that in order to survive the snow.  I detest snow.  And it just keeps falling!

Have a lovely day my friends and a most blessed New Year!

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Isaiah 1:18

Blessings,
Betsy


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

From our home to yours....

Merry Christmas!!!!   Yes, we have even more snow!  Six inches more yesterday !  
About 20 inches on the ground.
Do think there is enough snow for Santa to land his sleigh?  It IS pretty.  More snow is predicted for today and Christmas Day!
We will definitely have a white Christmas!
I am so thankful for each one of you.  I hope you all have a lovely holiday and cherish the time you spend with family and friends.

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the Heavenly host appeared with the Angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest Heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom His favor rests."
Luke 2:8-14

Merry CHRISTmas!

Blessings,
Betsy

Monday, December 21, 2015

Have I already said, "Let it Snow?

Happy Monday morning everyone!  it's the week of Christmas and everyone I talk to seems to be in a frenzy of last minute Christmas preparations.  Not me.  I'm pretty much snowed in today...again.  This is the second time in four days that we've been put under a winter storm warning.  Last year no snow at all to speak of.  This year so far at our house we've had about 10 inches in the last 5 days with 5-8 more predicted today.  And snow every day for the next 6 days.  Yuck!  We're in a snow belt here at our house that seems to run down the middle of the city.  You can drive just one mile south of our home and there is literally half the amount of snow on the ground.

It has given me the opportunity to use our new snowblower a few times already and I'll be firing it up again this afternoon.  I just took this picture out of the back door.  You can't really get an idea of how deep it is here because of the way it's blown and drifted, but can you see the fine flakes falling?  It's definitely going to be a white Christmas in Spokane.
I have been knitting away on mittens and this is what I've finished so far.  Would you believe I got all the way to the end decreases at the top of the last green mitten and I ran out of yarn?  I had to go buy more just to knit the last 4 rows!  Oh well, I'll just make more green ones!  Notice there are four pair of dark pink mittens.  That was from one skein with a little ball left over.  The green I ran out of and the lighter pink I didn't even start the fourth pair because it was obvious that I wasn't going to get another pair out of the leftovers.  These are all supposed to be the same yardage skeins.  A bit frustrating.  I m still enjoying making these though.  More to come!!!
There is a nursery just a few miles from Brad and Mandy's that we visited while back east.  I have never seen anything like it.  Mandy said that they decorate it, over the top decorate it, for each holiday.

This is as you drive up.  Blocks and blocks of white lights and decorated trees as you drive up the highway.
So pretty.
Inside they have individual trees decorated with different themes.  Surrounding each tree are other decorations that go along with each theme.  This place is beautiful and huge.
Part of the winter woods theme.  It makes me homesick for the lake and my camper.  :-)
This one was gorgeous.  Tree are so many trees decorated so beautifully.  I wish I could show you the  details of all of them but there were just too many.
What could make this place even better?  Trains.  Piper loves trains and she and Papa loved looking at all of them.  
Villages set up throughout the train display.
The Hershey car.  The train was moving and was hard to get a good picture of it.
Most of the year this is a big Thomas the Train display.  Piper loves Thomas!
One more display by the Christmas trees.  I showed great restraint and only bought an angel for our Christmas tree out of the myriad of choices.
And finally.  Mandy sent this picture to us Saturday.  She looks 3 going on 16 doesn't she?  Very rarely does she wear her hair down.  She always wants a ponytail, or when Grandma is there, a French braid.  (We braid our hair into matching braids...she loves that!).   Papa couldn't stop smiling when he saw this. Goodness, we miss this little girl.  It's like we left part of our hearts on the east coast.
I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and lots of love and laughter throughout the holiday.  I also would ask that you would stop and ponder the reason we celebrate this holiday season.  His name is Jesus.

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins."  Matthew 1:21
(The angel was talking to Joseph in this verse.)

Blessings,
Betsy

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Let it Snow!

Good morning!  This is the season for giving and I want to share some gifts received recently.   I thought I would start out by sharing a little gift that I received from Sherri at Sherri's Needlecrafts on my sidebar.  Isn't this little crochet angel the sweetest?  She has a sparkly yoke, or as Piper would say, "Farkley"!  I collect angels and think this little one is darling.  Thank you so much Sherri.
For the holidays she is living with this wreath and plaque.
I told you in my last post that Dayle and Teresa Kasner sent me a check for yarn to make mittens for the children.  This is what I was able to buy with their gift.  Each skein will make 3-4 pair of mittens.  Thank you so much Dayle and Teresa.  Your gift will help warm LOTS of little hands. Each skein is a different color so the children will have lots of choices.
Mandy and Brad have a sweet neighbor named Kat.  She and her husband gave Piper these stuffed stand up figures while they were it taking a walk with Grandpa last week.  The are called "nissers"...I think I spelled that right.  The little girl has "Piper" embroidered on her foot and the little boy is "Evan".  They thought it was appropriate to give them to Piper as they were downsizing their decorations.  Wasn't that thoughtful?  They are so cute and have lots of jingle bells on them.
Now, a study in contrasts.  These geraniums are still blooming on Mandy's porch.  I took this picture on Saturday.
This is our backyard today!  We received 4 inches of snow yesterday, with another 4-8 predicted for this afternoon through tomorrow morning.  It beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Mt. Spokane yesterday afternoon.  Blurry because of the distance with my IPhone, but still pretty.
We have an artificial Christmas tree that we usually put in the living room.  We very rarely spend time in the living room unless we have company and I didn't want to put the tree where we couldn't enjoy it.  Most of our time is spent in the basement den where our books, television and fireplace are.  Our tree was way too big for this area.  Monday night we were shopping and saw this little tree for $39.  It's 6 1/2 feet tall and perfect for this space.  My chair is right next to the little bookcase you see on the left.  The bookcase holds some of my patterns and current projects.  Chloe's bed is on the right, in front of the fireplace.  Last night I turned off the lights and just sat and enjoyed the tree.  I think I'm going to like having a tree down here.  We'll keep the bigger tree for the years that our kids come home.  Do you like my granny square tree skirt?  It was a lot of fun to make with graduated, pie-shaped granny's.
The star on top of the tree is the one that was on top of Dennis' parents tree from the year he was born.  When we married, his Mom gave it to us and it's on top every year.  It's a bit battered but we love it and it holds a lot of memories.  The little nativity you see underneath it was given to me by my kindergarten Sunday school teacher 50 years ago!  It holds a place of honor every year on our tree.
We thought we were going to be alone for Christmas like we were for Thanksgiving, but our best friends, Neal and Jenny are alone this year too.  All three of their children will be elsewhere for the holidays too, so we're going to share our Christmas dinner together.  Afterwards I'm sure we'll have a rousing game of dominoes!  We are some wild and crazy people.  :-). 

Yesterday I baked more sugar cookies with the same recipe I used with Piper last week.  We face-timed while I frosted them.  I sure missed her help while rolling and cutting out the cookies.  There will be a plateful tonight for Bible study.  I hope everyone enjoys them.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend my friends.

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinnthians 13:6-7

Blessings, 
Betsy

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Home Again

Happy Tuesday!  We're home!  Gosh, it was a VERY long day on Sunday.  After getting up at 3:30 a.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, we finally fell into bed about 1:00 a.m. Monday morning.  Then, after about 4 hours of sleep we were both up at 5:00 for Dennis to go to work and my body thought it was 8:00 like on the East Coast so I was awake too!  Needless to say we were exhausted last night and were asleep by 8:30!  After a good night of sleep, hopefully we're back on track.  It' not yet 9:00 and I've already done a load of laundry, vacuumed and gone to buy dog food.  Walmart is much easier for me to deal with in the early hours before it gets busy.  :-)

Yesterday I was busy all day long just catching up with things.  It's amazing how much there is to do when you've been gone two weeks.  Laundry, housework, mail.  Oh  my goodness, the MAIL!  So much junk mail but there were also some gems included that I'll tell you about later.

Saturday night we drove to the Washington Mall and took in the sights.  It was 71 degrees outside!  I couldn't believe we were walking around coatless in December!

All of my photos are taken with my Iphone 6 and I apologize for the blurriness of some.  The distance isn't helpful at all.

The White House was gorgeous with the Christmas decorations up in all of the windows and the outside.  Each of those windows on the bottom had a Christmas tree in front of it.  Absolutely stunning.


Another view.  You can tell that there was no wind at all because the flag on the top was hanging still.  I wish we could have gone inside but this was wonderful  There was a huge tree and a live concert going on right behind me in this photo.  So many people though, I couldn't get a good picture.

The Washington Monument.  Awesome and beautiful in it's splendor.

Here we are sitting at the base of the Washington Monument.  We were way overdressed.  We thought it would get chilly when the sunset.  We were wrong.

Brad, Mandy and Piper at the monument.  Aren't they a beautiful family?

We also visited the Smithsonian Museum of Aerospace.  This is a command capsule from one of the space shuttles.

The Spirit of St. Louis.  The men were having a wonderful time in this museum.  Since Brad is a pilot, all flight interests him. 

Our Princess.  Isn't she the sweetest thing you have ever seen in her Santa hat and princess nightgown?

We opened our gifts to each other before we left Sunday morning.  She loved everything.  Mandy and Brad got me the new Pioneer Woman cook book, Debbie Macombers new book, "Dashing Through the Snow", a pump to make a mason jar into a dispenser and a Target gift card.  So many nice things and very much appreciated.

There is a story behind the cookbook.  The nearest Costco where Mandy planned to buy the book is in Baltimore, very close to the airport.  Her plan was to buy the cookbook when she picked Dennis up at the airport a week ago, leaving Piper and me at home for her nap.  Well, Piper woke up before Mandy left and was insistent on going to get Papa at the airport, so we all went along.  She bought the cookbook, I thought for herself.  I proceeded to read it over the next few days and repeatedly announce that I loved it and was going to get one for myself when I got home.  Apparently I missed all of the looks she exchanged with her Dad regarding me being so dense.  When I opened it Sunday morning I was so excited!  I really think this is her best cookbook yet.  And now Mandy has to get another one for herself!  Ha! Ha!

Piper and I baked cookies last week too.  We were so busy baking I forgot to take pictures of the actual process but here are the finished cookies.  Not fancy but oh, so delicious and we had a blast together.  Notice the airplanes and angels!  We bought cookie cutters at the Oregon coast in October and brought them out here with us for Mandy.  We brought 6...an angel, airplane, seagull, sea lion,starfish and a cat because they have 2 cats.  Piper picked out four to use, the airplane and angel and a Christmas tree and candy cane that Mandy already had.    Such fun!!!!  These are the moments I miss with having no grandchildren living close by.


When we got ready to leave on Sunday, Piper was REALLY upset.  She kept saying, "No, Papa and Grandma live here now.  They can't leave."  Oh my, that broke my heart.  I think she truly thought we were staying there forever.  Goodness, I love that girl.


This little cutie is one of the surprises waiting for me in the mail when we got home.  Isn't she precious?  I've named her Lilly.  The giver wants to remain anonymous on the blog, but I wanted you all to see her.  Isn't she precious?  And my very favorite color.

Here she is introducing herself to the snowman family.

And this is the cute tissue paper she was wrapped in. I want to keep the paper too, it's almost as cute as Lily.  :-)
I had another sweet gift too from another blogger who wants to remain anonymous.  Honestly, I feel so blessed to know you ladies.  All of you.  I am so grateful for the people blogging has brought into my life.

If that wasn't all enough, in the huge stack of mail there was another blessing.  A check from Dayle and Teresa Kasner to help buy yarn for the mittens I'm making.  My heart runneth over from the kindness of their hearts.  When I buy the yarn, I will take a picture and show you what I get with it. Thank you, thank you Dayle and Teresa.  I need to get busy knitting.  It's 14 degrees on my deck this morning and those children need mittens!

And now I need to get busy.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and remember the reason we're celebrating this beautiful season.  A child was born.  But He didn't stay a baby.  He grew into a man, died and rose again for us.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."  Luke 2:10-11

Blessings,
Betsy

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A morning in Annapolis...

Good morning my friends!  We're having a great time with Mandy and Piper. Brad works all of the time and we rarely see him as he works all night and sleeps during the day for the two weeks we're here. We're missing him but still enjoying time with the girls.

This morning Papa and I took Piper to her story time at the library while Mommy got Christmas errands  done without a curious 3 year old along.  The librarian is a great storyteller.  This is the fourth time I've gone with them on my visits and always enjoy it.  Miss Michelle is a wonderful storyteller. That's Piper in the pink polka dot shirt behind the girl in green.
Afterwards we drove to historic Londontowne and gardens.  They have interpretive guides dressed in historical costumes...
and amazing buildings.  I like the fences.  :-)
Yesterday we spent the morning in downtown Annapolis.  Here we are on the waterfront by the Naval Academy.
There was a Menorrah at the waterfront.
This is where free concerts are held every weekend in the summer.
We had so much fun! Look at those smiles.
There are shops everywhere in these several hundred year old buildings. I did some Christmas shopping here.  :-)
Love to look at them.  There are blocks and blocks of these buildings.
Christmas tree in the square.
Lovely buildings.
Christmas decorations abound!
The Maryland State capital in the photo below.  It's the oldest state capital still in use and the only statehouse used as the nations capital. The Treaty of Paris was ratified here marking the end of the revolutionary war.
Most of the roads are VERY narrow like this in downtown Annapolis.
I hope you're having as great a December as we are.  Back soon with more pictures!

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."  1 Chronicles 29:13

Blessings,
Betsy