Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Sweet Father-in-law

I've always loved my father-in-law (fil) from the first time I met him. He's gently and sweet, charming and funny and oh so intelligent! Oh, and he always smells so good! Just the right combination. Over the years I've been married to his son, he's been through so much-(the death of his first wife, his mother and his second wife). Through it all he's praised God and never doubted God's plan. He's such a wonderful example for us. He's honestly more of a father to me than just a father-in-law. He's the type man you want to go to with your problems, to curl up in his lap and be consoled. He accepted me into his family with all my problems-with all my flaws- and he's loved me unconditionally.
(my father-in-law and my husband:my 2 favorite men)

Now, he's not perfect! LOL! For example, he's very independent. He won't let us help him at all. In fact, he seems to do for us instead! Just tonight he brought the girls and me dinner-homemade chicken pot pie and sweet potato pie! Can you believe that? God not only blessed me with the most wonderful husband in the world, my perfect mate, but also with the best father-in-law. May God bless him as much as he's blessed us. I love ya Paw-Paw!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Enjoying the season

Some days with my girls are more fun than others. Today was a fun day. It was one of the many days when I just sit back and wonder what I ever did to cause God to bless me with these 3 amazing gifts.

Time to give back

Today our co-op class visited a local nursing home. The children sang songs, handed out gifts and ornaments and visited with the patients. It was such a nice time. It was so wonderful to see their eyes light up as one of the children handed them a gift.
I'd like to think that they all have loving families who visit often but I'm sure that's probably not true in all cases. As I listened to the children's sweet voices singing Christmas carols, I couldn't help but be overcome with emotion. I turned away to hide the tears welling up in my eyes and came face to face with another mom-tears streaming down her face. I wondered why we had not came here before.
Right there today I made up my mind that the girls and I will come back again. We may not bring gifts, but we can give of our time and our love and friendship. Such a simple gift and so easy to give.
"Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God." ~Lev 19:32

Teacher Gifts

We've never had to worry about buying or making school teacher gifts because the girls have always been at home. This year we've had the co-op every week. The girls have had some really wonderful teachers. I sit in on most of the classes and see how much work these moms put into preparing the classes. We wanted to give them a little something just to say "thanks" for volunteering their time and giving so freely to us. I saw a blog that mentioned travel coffee cups as great gifts. I didn't exactly follow their tutorial. Instead I just cut a piece of fabric the size of the paper that was in the cup. I used pinking shears on all the edges. Then I monogrammed the teacher's first initial. I think they turned out pretty cute and so did the recipients. Pretty and practical-that's my kind of gift!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Simple Gifts

It's always a challenge each year to come up with useful, inexpensive gifts for the girls dance teachers and special friends for Christmas. This year we had the help of a wonderful book. We chose a project from the book called, cinquieme. In French, cinquieme means "fifth". This project is a little sachet bag that fits down in a pointe shoe to keep it fresh and fragrant. The book includes a picture of pointe shoes in fifth position for you to trace onto your fabric and then embroider.
For the dance teachers and friends we monogrammed their first initial onto the bag instead of the pointe shoes (only because this was faster for me to do). You can fill the sachets with cedar , lavender buds or like we did with rice scented with lavender oil. The dance teachers and the girls friends were thrilled over their gifts.
I know at least 3 special ballerinas who are going to get their own hand embroidered cinquiemes in their stockings. Guess who?

Fragrant Ornaments

The girls and I learned how to make these ornaments at their co-op. They smell so good and their teacher said they last for years. The recipe is easy:cinnamon, applesauce and elmer's glue. There's no measuring-just add applesauce and glue to the cinnamon(I used a large container of this) until it's thick enough to form a ball; roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Make sure you make a small hole in the top before it's dry so that you'll have a way to hang it.
We used a variety of cookie cutters-an apple for the teacher (me!), dog bones for our furry friends and even a maple leaf to remember all of our Canadian friends.

Our Church Christmas Musical

After the dress rehearsal Wednesday night, I would have never thought the children would be able to pull off this performance! God is so good! Everyone remembered their lines and performed flawlessly. This just proves that when God has a message to deliver He makes sure it gets through!

Mary was a narrator and also had a solo to sing.
Grace was Gabrielle. She sang a couple of songs too. Emma was one of the little angels. She had so much fun. On the way to the church, Mary told Emma not to be nervous that this was like the "big stage" (recital) at dance. Emma looked at Mary and exclaimed, "I don't get nervous! I'm excited!"
My job in all of this (besides getting the girls back and forth for practice) was to make the 4 angel costumes. After much dilemma I finally settled on this pattern (McCall's MP 272). It was a super easy pattern (very forgiving). The girls looked just gorgeous and the children's director was more than pleased. Mrs. Kathy gives so much of herself to our children, the least I could do was a little sewing to make her life easier.
I also did alterations on several costumes that were re-used this year. I made the 3 kings crowns thanks to a great tutorial on Jessica's blog. Mine weren't quite as fancy as hers, but they served their purpose.
Now, just one more performance on Sunday...I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary!

12 years ago today was one of the most life changing moments of my life. My first baby-and a girl! Since that day we've shared lots of "firsts" and we'll have many more in the future. You were my sweet little chunky monkey that somehow turned into this amazing, beautiful young lady. God certainly blessed me when He gave you to me. I look forward to many more happy birthdays with you. Love you!Add ImageAdd Image

(Mary's in the yellow dress)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Princess and the Pea

Mary has successfully completed her first fall show at dance! At their dance studio, 7th grade and above can audition for the fall show. Mary is 6th grade in school (she's just 11) but 7th grade in dance. She was chosen to be in 2 dances-the party guests and the sheep. They've been practicing on weekends (in addition to their regular dance classes) since September. This week they had 5 perfomances with approximately 2500 school children attending (the Sunday performance was for family and friends). To say she enjoyed herself is an understatement! She's always wanted to be a professional dancer-this just added fuel to the fire.

Congratulations Mary! I'm very proud of you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ringing in the holiday season

The other night officially started the holiday season for us. We had the lighting of the trees downtown. All of the shops were decorated with wreaths, red ribbons and Christmas trees. It all looks so beautiful. The girls and I have even started listening to Christmas music on the car radio.

Grace and 2 of her dance buddies volunteered to dress as elves and hand out fliers advertising the fall dance show. Aren't they cute?

My Ballerinas

Recently we had parent days at dance when we could visit the dance classes. I love being able to watch my girls dance!

Emma is in pre-ballet and loving every minute of it.This is Grace's first year of pointe. Her name suits her well when it comes to dance-she is one of the most graceful dancers that I've seen.Mary is in her second year of pointe. She continually amazes me with her increased flexibility and talent. She's pictured here in the yellow dress with one of her friends in the fall show. (she didn't like any of the pictures I took during her class time. LOL!

All 3 of my girls have a passion for dance. I was never a dancer, but can now live through them. There's no other extracurricular activity that I would rather they do than dance. Through dance they're learning poise, grace and rhythm; they're exposed to beautiful music and transported to faraway places through different story lines; they develop confidence, stage presence and discipline. I look forward to many more dances with all three of my beautiful ballerinas.

Fall Dress

I was so thankful my friend Candice gave us this beautiful fabric. She and I both made a jumper dress from the Children's Corner pattern, Lucy. Even though it doesn't look a lot like fall here, Emma will have a sweet fall dress to wear. I think it'll be perfect for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Homemade ornaments

I had a few more gifts for my Canadian friends. When I was a girl we had a painted okra Saint Nicholas ornament on our tree. I just loved it. Last year I found out they don't grow okra in Canada and most of my friends didn't even know what it was. We dried some okra from our garden and the girls and I painted it. I thought it turned out kind of cute-I think my Canadian friend's thought I was a little crazy. I appreciate them smiling and saying "thank you" instead of hurting my feelings with their true thoughts! LOL!The other ornament I made went over a little bit better. My grandmother made yo-yo's when I was a girl and would sew them on pillows, quilts, etc. I saw these tiny yo-yo's made into Christmas trees at my local quilt store. I knew I had to make some-I ended up making about 9 while I was in Canada! Aren't they cute?

Good Morning

I would love getting up early every morning if I could be greeted by this-sunrise in Manitoba.

Duck hunting with daddy

One of Mark's passions is hunting. The girls and I like going too, but not necessarily for the hunting, but just for the time with him. I love to lay in the blind and hear the geese honking long before I see them. I love feeling the cold, crisp Canadian air and seeing the golden sunlight as it shines across the field. It's a beautiful experience and one I'm glad we're able to share as a family.

Pictures from the prairie

We recently went for our annual fall trip to Canada. We've been going now for about 7 years yet each time I'm still in awe of the beauty. I don't have the words to effectively describe the scenery. These pictures will have to speak for themselves.

We woke up to a light snow our first morning. Emma was thrilled!