Monday, December 30, 2013

I gave myself 7 to 9 days...

...Until I got the cold my sweet p. brought me for Christmas. Well, the winning number was 7! I was already feeling it by Friday, but stayed strong for the remainder of the best Christmas ever with my family, especially my constant companion Penny.

I could go on and on about the fun we had...the things she learned, how she "helped" Grandma pull off the best celebration ever... The truth is I am missing that sweet baby so very much. I warned Kristen that it would be just a matter of time until Penny and I made a scene at the airport...and we did. She cried so hard, from the time they were loading the car for the trip to the airport...then when I had to put her in the stroller. She cried, "hold you, hold you!" and I couldn't comfort her, I was crying just as hard.

We came home to a very quiet house. Everywhere I go, I find little things that make me weepy. Silly old Grandma, I know, you've heard it before.

So I got as busy as my head full of snot allowed. We watched the Bears, oh bother! I had to walk away at the end, but I thought it was a great game. Strange things happen when these long time rivals meet. Kristen was knitting cozies for mason jars as Christmas gifts. I thought I would give it a try in crochet... That was my first attempt. I still have Christmas cards to open, gifts to put away. ( a couple I want to show you...) Thank you cards to write. I think I will wait for the Three Kings before I dismantle the decorations. Some of you were taking down your trees the day after Christmas. I still have a week or two of carols to listen to...

I am looking forward to a couple of days with my sweetheart who was badly neglected during the festivities. We will bring in the new year with Anderson Cooper, as to not spread my cold around.

Remember when the year 2000 seemed like science fiction? Now here were are...
2014! Where's my flying car?!

Wishing you all a very happy new year filled with health and happiness, prosperity, peace, and especially love! Enjoy this beautiful day!

Love, Penny

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Making Memories

We have had a wonderful Christmas to remember, with all my family together. Sweet moments, great laughs, quiet evenings, busy days. Family, children, food, fun...cookies!

I have spent all my time with Daniel Tiger's littlest fan, my sweet p., and have formed a bond that makes my heart swell. When a little person puts her head on your leg and says, "love you," well, what more could a grandma want?

The little house is a big hit, as are tea parties, helping grandma...grandma, grandma, grandma....Is there a sweeter word?

My greatest gift is time just hanging out with my family. Even if we all have colds, drippy noses, with snoring guys, and restless girls. Sharing soup and tea, swapping stories, running low on Kleenex and Claritin . Hugging all my kids over and over. Loving Grandpa, what a sweetheart.

It will be over in hours, and the house will be quiet... Can't think about that now.
Then, I'll get back to writing and visiting you my friends.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day!


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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas...

Peace on Earth...

From all of us here At Home in English Valley...

to your home, with much love.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Your friend,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fire and Music in the WInter Wood

I saw that the Friends of Northbrook Forest Preserves was hosting a
Winter Solstice Bonfire on Saturday afternoon.
Through all of our errands it was on my mind,
and we thought of skipping it, because of all we had to do.
We both love a fire, and a bonfire, well,
we had to go.

We followed a family down a path into the woods.
We could already see the fire, though it was some distance away.
We took our time, after hubby stumbled, and soon coming from out of the woods, came
this man.  A Piper in a kilt.

When we met, I said, "Did we miss the music?" and he said, "you did."
"What would you like to hear?"  I said, "anything!"
He started to play...  I didn't know that on my bucket list was being serenaded by
bagpipes, in the snowy woods with my arms around my husband,
but there for several minutes, there was magic in the woods.
Of course I cried, it was so beautiful.
When the generous piper finished, I grabbed his hand and thanked him and
wished him a Merry Christmas, and my sweetheart did the same.
We continued to walk towards the fire and Honey interrupted the stillness whispering,
"Do you think we should have tipped him?"
I was crying and laughing at the same time!
The bonfire was huge.  You could feel the heat from 20 feet.  At the ten foot mark we were toasty
as marshmallows.

The flames went up at least 30 feet.

Here I turned my dearest to get him evenly roasted.

What is it about fire?  It draws you in, especially on the shortest day of the year.

There were people celebrating the Solstice.  Playing flutes and horns and
shaking noisemakers.

This photo shows the surrounding trees steaming from the fire.

We stayed and talked about, of all things, the Great Chicago Fire
with several young women who stood behind us.

And when my guy had had enough, or should I say his hip had had enough of
tromping through the winter woods, we headed out.

We were well bundled and not at all cold.

The woods are beautiful in any season,
but so still and calm in winter.

I followed my dear hubby out,

and after a couple last looks at the fire

we were back on our way.  It's moments like these that make life so amazing.  Wishing you
unforgettable moments my friends.  And Love, always Love!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

sunrise, sunset and vintage in between

First thing every morning I have to take a look outside.
Sometimes this small act is rewarded with an awesome sunrise.
Like this morning.

Just as the dawn broke the sky lit up.
I keep my camera at my bedside, for in a minute it takes to find your might be gone.

And to my mind the words always come, How Great Thou Art!

I found snowflakes for my sweet p. to wear for Christmas.

Including sparkly leggings and shoes.  I sure hope she'll want to wear them.
If you think that being contrary begins in the teenage years, you've never tried to
dress a almost 2 year old!

A few vintage finds.  Some shiny brite ornaments, not the star,
but my Buscia had a star like that on her Christmas tree in the 50's.

I loved the basket.

an enameled pan...

and a vintage piece of pyrex.
As a cautionary tale, I had a accident with a vintage bowl this week.
I put my hot oatmeal in the bowl, because I needed the pot I cook my oatmeal in.
Jon and Charlotte served themselves from the bowl and what was left
I was going to eat.  Later I poured cold milk from the refrigerator on the oatmeal that was left
and I heard a strange cracking sound.
I picked up the bowl to examine it and the top came away from the bottom!
Thus the beginning of the great Oatmeal Explosion of 2013!
What a mess! I was drenched, pants apron and got the island and the cabinets
and the floor.  This has happened to me before with a vintage bowl.
If it doesn't say pyrex, don't assume it is.
Some are just white glass with the same breaking point as ordinary glass.
Trying to save washing one bowl caused me an hour of cleanup,
after I had already baked cookies and shoveled the driveway.
The old gray mare...

I started with a sunrise and end with a sunset.

I think this was over the weekend.

I love the winter sky!

My lists are getting shorter, I'm feeling stronger from all the outside work and brisk walks. I spent the afternoon with my great nieces.  They loved the doll house I found for all the littles in my life.  Sweet p loves our play on face time as I move the little figures around the house for her.  She says, "No, no no grandma!" when I try to put a cow in the attic.
Thank goodness for technology!

Back to baking, wrapping and preparing the way for Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind comments. 

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Weekend Update/Da Bears Edition

We had quite a bit of snow last week.

Makes the stems of the hydrangea look beautiful again.

On Friday I had the nicest breakfast with Melanie of Comfy House.I called it the first annual Northwest Illinois Blogger's Christmas Breakfast.
Silly, since we didn't invite anyone else...
Not that they would have gotten in a word edgewise.
We talked for three and a half hours and barely ate our breakfasts.
Melanie is smart and sweet, well interesting and fun.
 We talked about blogging all of ten minutes.
 We would still be there except for all the things waiting to be
done to prepare for Christmas.

Thanks Mel for a great time, next time we'll have time for thrifting!

These are the bears of whom I speak.
The bears on the stairs.
We started this tradition in this house, but some of these bears go back to the beginning.
Back to the birth of our daughter, Kristen.

Radar is hubby's bear.

Muffy Vanderbear.

Business Bear!

They trip us up for the first few days and then we get used to them.  Each one has a story, but lucky for you I've got baking to do!  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy this beautiful day!

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