halloween was wonderful. the only improvement i could have asked for would be the 70 and 80 degree temperatures that we've been blessed with this week rather than the 50 degree temperatures of that week. but it didn't rain, and we were grateful. trick-or-treating happens on beggar's eve here, the night before halloween. it is truly magical to walk the streets filled with other trick-or-treaters, and overhung with glowing orange and red maple leaves and brilliant yellow gingkos, and to feel safe stopping at any house we see.
the pumpkin walk fell on halloween this year, thanks to halloween being considerate enough to fall on saturday. i got some beautiful photos that were lost when i saved them to the computer. still having computer/photo issues. also some amazing photos of the kids buried in the leaves in our yard that afternoon as the sun was low and golden. ~i would greatly appreciate it if you would please try to imagine it in your mind :) ~ to our surprise, the candy corn princess costume got more comments and cheers in the parade, and again later as we walked the streets, than any other. it was chosen because is was such a match with the little princess' persona.
this is what the easter bunnies wore this year. mia & noah recycled and wore what i made them last year. i tend to do that with both halloween and easter - my built-in anscestral thrift...or laziness?. grace had outgrown last year's dress, it is now a shirt, and so i made her a new outfit with the 1838 pattern book i have been enjoying so much.
she is wearing the cap and pantaloons i stitched by hand. the dress was machine sewn, but also a complete joy to make.
oh, and mia & noah really are the true easter bunnies. mia was born on easter, and noah was due on easter, although he kept us holding our breaths and chose to come 6 days late. i found that to be a much harder wait with adoption than it had been with my own pregnancy. gracie, well she's just a bunny.
the rodenbergs joined us for easter dinner and an egg hunt!
gracie wearing last year's easter dress (by pure coincidence) as she helps brock plant a tree. we have planted seven more trees, 4 fruit which brings our orchard to a total of 12 trees (two each of apple, peach, pear, plum apricot, and cherry), a red bud, a dogwood, and a maple. i have planted 22 flowering plants: hollyhocks, peonies, columbine, lillies, and dahlias, 25 strawberries, two grapes, and grass seed in some bald spots. our lettuce has finally come up, and maybe our first pea, and onion bulbs have now been planted. it's so interesting learning the quirks of a new climate. we are in love with not having to water our lawn, garden, and landscaping, and so enjoy the wildlife that regularly visit: deer, cottontails, squirrels, cardinals, etc. but with every up comes a down, and we are fast learning to battle the moles that are tearing up our ENTIRE yard and flower beds, and the raccoons who dig up our grass looking for grubs, while trying to keep our trees, flowers, and garden safe from the deer and rabbits. we can tell you which repellents work the best. we planted a new baby grape yesterday that had leaved out. this morning it was nibbled to a 1/2 inch nub.
spring is coming slowly, but surely.
in the past week six of us have had stomach flu, two have had croup, one has had a bad cold, three have had headache & fever, and several have had three of the above. the only one who escaped stomach flu (lexi) had the bad cold. i think we are all feeling better, except baby whose croup is lingering. we had a few scary nights with her. now she is just scaring us with her grumpiness.... she is also getting her four eye teeth, and has never handled teething well.
in addition to feeling mostly better, there is more cause for celebration. the flag is done!
one month, about 70 hours of sewing, and approximately 12,000 hand stitches later.
it is roughly 4' x 6' and has 26 stars. michigan was the most recent state addition in 1841. the star arrangement (upside down star, with the stars getting progressively smaller) is based on a flag made in the era. only the number of stars was prescribed at this time. the arrangement was up to personal preference.... until the beginning of the 1900s! the rope was hand made at the nauvoo family living center, then singed by candle and lightly waxed (also by candle). for more info on this flag, cick on "the flag" above.
as i was signing and dating it yesterday, i realized that i had completed it on presidents day. completley unintentional, but significant to me.
our weekend of "christmas in old nauvoo" is in full swing, and we are loving it!
last night we were treated to a fireside by our friend kim & her son who are descendants of joseph & emma - wonderful! i cried, and cried, (typical of me..tears flow easily, especially where emma is concerned) and hearing three of kim's songs arranged so beautifully on guitar, violins, and bass was amazing. she told the story of the smith family from the martyrdom onwards and emphasized the importance of unity, love, forgiveness and healing in families - excellent!
today brock and i are helping with "breakfast with emma" and a dinner with the pratts and others, both at the nauvoo house.
tomorrow the christmas walk, lexi sings at the tree lighting, baptisms at the temple & gingerbread houses with the rodenbergs, family photos by gloria, and more.
my drunkard's path quilt came out from under our tree to add to the nauvoo house decor.
princess feather & nine-patch snowball quilts were there too.
we awoke on sunday morning to our first snow in nauvoo, and a power outage. so we started our first fire in the fireplace, and decorated our tree while snow fell quietly outside. our church meetings don't start until 2:00 (!), and so we had a wonderfully cozy morning at home.
some of my favorite antiques are gathered 'round the tree... 1850's princess feather quilt and 1890s nine-patch snowball baby quilt on the quilt rack, green baby cradle full of christmas books, and 1890s red & white drunkards path quilt wrapped around the tree. this year's tree is our all-time favorite, we all agree. it's warm glow lights up the house and almost takes me by surprise every time i come up or down stairs or walk in the room. the tree itself was my christmas present last year.
tashi took this photo of the tree in the foreground, and snowfall through the window.
and we enjoyed the "little people" thanksgiving set so much....
that we got the nativity set, complete with the inn, the stable, and the wise men. the kids are loving it, and i am too.
pies are baking in the oven....chocolate pecan, apple, & pumpkin chocolate cheesecake (it's all bout the chocolate for me), christmas music fills our home....this is when we break it out and start to get in that christmasy mood, and my mom's cranberry salad is marinating. my other favorite thanksgiving flavor (besides pumpkin & chocolate) is cranberry. and i could go without the turkey (i'm not a big meat eater) before i could skip my mom's cranberry salad.
here's the recipe:
grind 1 package fresh or frozen cranberries in a blender (frozen works best if you have a powerful blender) my mom & i buy them fresh, and then freeze them.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can crushed pineapple - drain as much as you can
1 package miniature marshmallows
chopped apples - i add as many as i can, because they make it yummy & healthy (got to compensate for all the marshamllows )
8 or 12 oz whipped topping (i use 8 oz, i like it less fluffy and more tangy)
here is a great sweet potato/yam recipe from bonnie.
i used freshly baked sweet potatoes and doubled the recipe without doubling the sugar, butter, or topping, and i loved it and felt healthier. add some salt if you try this. but thanksgiving isn't a time to count fat and calories, so enjoy it full on if you like.
she also has a fabulous looking recipe for pumpkin pie waffles posted, i haven't tried it yet, but really, really want to.
i wish you a cozy, warm, and wonderful thanksgiving!
we are off to bloomington & the smiths when the pies are out of the oven.
this may be the cutest toy ever....i love getting educationl and meaningful toys for my kids that are fun too. i got a great deal on this mayflower & thanksgiving feast set, and the three youngest LOVE it! without having any desire to promote a toy company, let me share that my last three toy purchases (gracie's doll house, noah's castle, and now this) have been from fisher price, and all have been toys that the three youngest have enjoyed playing with together ( 2 girls & a boy, ranging from 1 to 7) quite remarkable, and it makes me happy.
i hope it helps them to gain a better understanding of and appreciation for thanksgiving. i do love thanksgiving, and i hope they will too. there are so many reasons to love thanksgiving: history, food, family, friends, but most importantly the concept of gratitude.
brock & i were assigned to speak in church last sunday. the first time i have spoken in english to an english congregation in at least 8 years. so lucky that we were asked to speak about thanksgiving and gratitude.
have you noticed that it is impossible to feel proud or sad or angry while feeling grateful? it's great therapy. the lord knows that it makes us happy and humble, and that is why he asks us to do it.
i talked about that, and other things, and also about this:
on oct 3, 1863, abraham lincoln called for a national day of thanksgiving on the 4th thursday of november.
two and a half years into the civil war, with no end in sight (another year and a half of fighting left). such a dark time in u.s. history, and this is what lincoln had to say:
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with
the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these
bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to
forget the source from which they come, others have been added,
which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to
penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible
to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of
a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has
sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their
aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has
been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and
harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military
conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the
advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of
wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to
the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle
or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements,
and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals,
have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has
steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made
in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country,
rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor,
is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union."
i absolutely adore lincoln, and am continually amazed by his insight, intelligence, wisdom, and courage. i cannot deny that i the spirit of the lord flowing through his writings. and i am inspired that he called for a day of thanksgiving (which had not consistently been practiced up to this time), giving credit to god for so many blessings, when things were so very bleak.
(not exactly what i said in my talk, but what i really feel)
i am fighting off a cold and feel heavy, thick, and mushy.....hope this post makes sense.