Thursday, December 26, 2013

Edna's Christmas

Edna our 8 year old Yellow Lab knows exactly what Christmas morning means.  Ever since she was a puppy she has seemed to know that under the tree would be something for her.  This year she stole the show over the 3 teens in the house.  She got in the living room and right away she started looking, nosing and smelling everything, definitely wanting the first gift for her before anyone else.  She loves to poke her nose in the wrapping in order to get it off.  Her reward with this one was a stuffed Moose. Edna is very good to her toys, she does not rip them apart but plays nicely with them and they seem to last forever.  She stayed right in by us and the tree all morning. Merry Christmas Edna, Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Post Card Swap Fall 2013

Post Cards on the right

From Israel

From Scotland

From England

From Austrailia

Daisy Yellow from Texas USA

From Florida USA

FromFlorida USA

From New York State USA

From Texas USA

This International Post Card swap was coordinated by iHanna From Sweden.  I have participated in it for many years now.  IT is a fun way to create fun art and receive some fun art.  each  one is so very different.  The artist from Israel sent me a video clip to see what Israel was like- it was very cool.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Decenber Daily or almost- Cookies 2013

       These are the Christmas Anise Cookies that the family looks forward to and most request.  We have a white anise cookie and a Molasses Anise cookie from the German side of the family.  There is anise in both the cookie and the frosting.  The decorating changes year to year - right now bold colors and marbling are very popular.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Daily or Almost. . . .

" When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image 
or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens" 
 Anne Lamott

PS- this green is one of my favorite colors - just sayin'

Monday, December 16, 2013

December Daily or almost . . . .

So my purpose in December Daily or almost is to try and capture some shots of the season, to record what we see, do think or experience in this very full and very short season of waiting.  . . . .

This is a favorite decoration of mine . . . . I do not have a Elf on a shelf but I do and could have a pig on a shelf! Growing up we had an Elf on a shelf . . well he sat on the refrigerator and watched us eating morning and night.  We were told that he was keeping an eye on us for Santa. He looked just like the current Elf on a shelf but he did not move around. He stayed there all the time.  He did not play any tricks or anything either, in other-wards he had no special powers.  We were captivated none the less by his powers to talk with Santa and report on our behavior.  It seems that I can remember some tattle tale activities between my sister and I at times.

One might think this pig was visiting Seattle with that Lego Space Needle behind him! ha ha

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December Daily . . . Snowy days . . .Peace

As the snow falls it leaves behind a thick blanket of white that quiets all that is around.  It swirls and twirls and ever so gently piles up into inches and feet.  The banks of snow dampen the sound and for a short while the whole world stands still. The humans in their houses and the animals in their dens, trees and homes wherever they may be.  This is the morning after and there are no tracks at all.  This is unusual as coyote, fox, deer and other mammals and birds are abundant here at Chestnut Hill. We revel in the sheer beauty of a fresh blanket of snow. It coats all the trees like frosting on a cake. As it has been very cold out of late this is a dry fluffy snow and not the kind that we can make snowmen out of.  Perfectly fine for sledding though.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December Daily- GingerBread Houses 2013

We Baked 7 small houses and 6 Large houses

These are the foil covered cardboard to serve as bases for the homes.
Partial assortment of candy for houses.

Snipped red twizzlers for bricks and small triscuits for roof- Dorr and entry are on another side.

designing with the Royal Icing

Lots of pattern and Symmetry

Bright colors!
All reds and greens very storybook like - love it!
Gingerbread house in the Tropics with a Yellow Licorice Snowman

Creative cutting of candies

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December Daily or almost . . . .

"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't  come from a store."
Dr. Seuss

Reese's Peanut Butter cups, Chocolate kisses and Corn Syrup. Go light on the syrup, it is your glue.  You can also put some on the outside and then put sprinkles on the trees.
Sharing these little treats with friends and family.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December Daily or almost . . . .

Excerpts from"It began in a Manger" by Max Lucado

 "The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor.
A more lowly place of birth could not exist."
"Off to one side sit a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him—so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds."

 "Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
to touch a leper’s open wound,
to wipe a widow’s weary tear,
to claw the ground of Gethsemane."

        Humble beginnings for sure. I think what I love best about nativity scenes is that they are interactive.  The individual that sets it up or looks at it can interact by moving the pieces around.  Creating a scene that they imagine or think it may have been like.
         I had a surprise this year when I set it up.  We have a collection of rocks in the box from places we have been and use them to reate a rocky hillside or such that the Shepherds/ Kings may have traveled upon.  I picked up this one rock- speckled and smooth and on the backside was written Tremont Maine 2004 then the tear filled my eye . . . for this was the location of dear church friend Ray who had passed from this world to the next just 3 days earlier.  I had no idea that it was in that box. I can think of no finer remembrance of this Former Lobstah' fisherman, engineer then part of the nativity scene,  I placed his rock on top of a larger smooth rock from Cape Cod that is in memory of my FIL Dave.  The two of them had been great friends over the years. They are now part of the Great Story.  Rest well, you will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December daily or almost . . .

So this is our Mailbox post . . . and I am known to many as the "Flag Lady" or the Banner Lady" to many that I do not even know but that drive by our home.  We live on a Hill and this time of year put a spotlight on the post until it becomes lawn mowing time again.   I have had many random people over the years comment on the seasonal flags.  This is one of several for Christmas.  There is a stocking, ornaments, an Angel, and a creche with a bright star that we put up on the 24th.  You know it is December when . . . . the Christmas flags come out.  It is funny for years the land beside us was a Christmas Tree farm and during the week I would have people come to the house to ask about cutting thinking that were the farmers. Of course we  were not and they were directed to Saturdays and Sundays. The snowplows stay way away from our mailbox given its sturdy footings.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December daily or almost . . .

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down our blankets for a nap."
Barbara Jordan
The beginnings of Chestnut Hill Cookies 2013!
Whats your favorite cookie?

White Snowy Owls . . .

       So this year- 2013 is said to be an Irruption year for Snowy white Owls.  Their is an article here from a Boston paper.   about the significant increase in sightings.  also you can go here to E-bird to see here to find them near you. Click on the live link near the map then just keep zooming into the area that you live.  They are huge and majestic to see.  They like to hang out on Lakeshores, coast and airports or large open areas that might resemble Tundra.  Some feel they move south for food and other sources indicate that they are really not sure why they migrate in great numbers.  This owl and another were seen by my daughter along Lake Ontario.  Snowy Owls are the largest owl in North America.  A December Treat for sure.

Both Sexes
20.5–28 in
52–71 cm
49.6–57.1 in
126–145 cm
56.4–104.1 oz
1600–2950 g

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Daily or almost . . .

One of the windows at Chestnut Hill
"Christmas waves a magic wand over this
world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. "
Norman Vincent Peale”

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Daily or almost . . . SinterKlaas Celebration

We have Dutch Heritage . . . and on December 5th Dutch children leave their shoes outside/ or near the fireplace to see if Sinterklaas will come and leave them a treat.  The Sinterklaas Celebration goes from Dec. 5- December 6th   His feast day is observed by exchanging gifts and chocolate letters (of the recipient's initial).  We have a relative living there now for work and they brought home the chocolate letters for the kids.   When My kids were small my Father-in -law would go to a Dutch market in town to get the letters.   So celebrating Sinterklaas day has become somewhat of a tradition for us.   What traditions do you celebrate during this wondrous season?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Daily or almost . . .

American Crow

Coyote - note toe nail marks at top of paw

Eastern Gray Squirrel

While we look at all the magic in our homes and lives . . .quietly in the day or in the night there are animal and bird friends all around us . . .  if we only look for them.  Winter is a great time for doing animal tracking. The snow offers us a chance to see who has been there - who is moving around, where the animal highways and byways are. These photos are taken near the college that my daughter attends. Yet we have all three of these right here at home.  The coyotes have been very loud lately at night. Usually between 10 and 12 at night they get very vocal as they are hunting or just visiting each other. We do not usually ever see them but we can find their tracks and scat left behind the next morning and know just how close they come to the house.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December Daily or almost . . . .

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
Roald Dahl

Top photo - camera twisted or twirled on the whole tree
Bottom photo- focused on one white light and glass ornament then the camera was turned.

I love playing around with taking this type of photo because you just never know what you will get- it is always magic!   I think the top looks like a busy city at night and the bottom a magic rabbit hole. There is more depth to it.

Try to find some magical moments in your days this Holiday season.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Daily or almost . . . .

White Breasted Nuthatch 12/3/13

                                    Here at Chestnut Hill we feed the birds on a regular basis.  This affords us the spectacular  up close viewing of some birds. We have both Rosy Breasted and the larger White Breasted Nuthatches  seen here. They are a fun bird to watch and only that climbs up a tree backward.  they have a wonderful bill for getting into and under tree bark.  Nearby there is a park where they will feed out of your hand - which is just way to cool for all ages.  The colder and more stormy it is , then the more birds we see.