Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Five in a Row Tree

Our small, literature-based co-op started seven years ago as a Five in a Row group. Although we have moved on to more mature books, we still call it our "Five in a Row group".

We didn't have a party that first year, since we barely knew each other, but in 2003 we started a tradition that has become a treasured part of our Christmas memories. Each year, each family creates an ornament to go along with one of the books we have studied that year. We love having our FIAR ornaments on their own tree.

If you look closely, the big dipper is painted on this gourd. (You can click the pictures to enlarge them.)

We don't assign which book each family will use to make their ornaments so one year we had two different Cowboy Charlie ornaments and three different Albert ornaments. That year, our family's ornament was for Snowflake Bentley. That's the only year we've had much duplication at all.

The first year, one family put all the FIAR story disks on ribbon and attached them to a medallion they made. We use it as our tree topper.

One idea I suggested this year was a little cup and saucer glued together for Three Cups of Tea. It's a good thing Allison came up with a different idea, since another family had the same idea.

Our ornament this year was the dog tags and wedding ring referred to in Born to Fly.

It's incredible how many of our co-op activities, or obscure details of the stories, the kids start reminding us of when we pull out these ornaments.

We treasure the many memories of special times with friends, of learning, and of wonderful books we have shared that are brought to mind as we admire our ornaments.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hot cocoa candle

Earlier this year, a blogging friend and I got our daughters hooked up as email pen pals. It has been a blessing to Julianne because the two girls seem to have lots of things in common, including being only a few days apart in age.

Last week, a package arrived for Julianne. Chelsea sent Julianne and Allison each gifts. She also sent our family some of the goodies she has been making. The girls were getting a little giddy with excitement.

Then we found this:

To me. From Becky, Chelsea's mom. How sweet was that? I started getting a little giddy myself.

It looks amazingly real, and smells convincingly chocolate. I keep looking at it, wondering how she makes those marshmallows look so perfect and gets that tiny bit of color variation on the top of the chocolate, so it looks like hot cocoa that has just been stirred. I love it!

It was a fun surprise and my day was brightened (pun intended) by Becky's thoughtfulness.

BTW-Becky's candles are for sale here.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Recycled bows

A couple weeks ago I followed a link for bows made out of recycled magazines.

Since then, the elves around here have been busy. Most of these are Julianne's but Allison eventually got in on the action.

Whenever the girls make something, my brother, Earl, tells them they should make whatever it is in camo for their dad. Earl hadn't seen any of their bows yet, but Allison anticipated his advice when Earl's 50th birthday rolled around last week. (You didn't hear it here.) The Bass Pro ad provided her with enough camo to make a bow for Uncle Earl's gift.

I love the unique, bright, multi-colored look of these bows. If you've got colorful magazines (or even junk mail) around, you, too, could become a bow-making fanatic. You'll be in good company.
Hey, I think this qualifies for Kathy's Handmade Holidays, doesn't it? If you got here from her site, jump back over and wish my brother a belated happy 50th, won't you? Thanks. (Don't tell him you heard it from me, though.)
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Season Haiku

Julianne has a favorite pair of jeans. Make that had.

Her experience a few days ago inspired her to write a haiku. She gave me permission to share it here, appropriate as it is for the holidays.

Zipper on pants broke
Sadness overwhelming me
Thankfully alone

She makes a good point. It could have been much worse.