Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Reader extraordinaire
Quick to learn and incredibly intelligent
Amazing memory
Cheerful, generous and so obedient
Lover of Christian music and Life Teen Mass
Singing self-made praise and worship while he works
Talented LEGO master
A smile and a laugh for everyone
Mature beyond your years and responsible

Oh, Jacob it is hard for me to believe that you are already nine. It struck me today that you are halfway to eighteen - I don't want to think about that too often. I have enjoyed my nine years with you and I am not ready for your years here at home to be over. I cannot imagine a day in this home without your presence. You have been a delight to my heart all these years and I cannot wait to see what God unfolds for you in the years to come. You are a wonderful boy in more ways than I could list above. Often times after you are all in bed Mom and Dad marvel at what a great boy you are (as well as your brothers and sister). I pray that I will always treat you with the awe and wonder and love that I felt that December morning I met you for the very first time. You are precious to me and I love you.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sweet Treat Again

Just a note!

I am making another little cutie bag like this one. It is made from some of this fabric line - Objects of Desire. It is a great little bag for a summer clutch, a makeup or jewelry bag or even a bag for a smaller Bible, prayer book and/or Journal.

I am willing to sell this one. Let me know if you want it. I am thinking $20.

I will post photos maybe tomorrow.

I see the pounds coming!

Yesterday afternoon and evening, I paged through Christmas cookbooks, Christmas magazines and recipes and made my Christmas baking list. I am either positively ambitious or positively dumb for making such an extensive list.

M & M Cake Cookies (made these last week - we ate some and I froze the rest)

Mama's Sugar Cookies (next week with a friend and her family)

Grandmother's Fudge

Cherry Almond Bars or Raspberry Bars (not sure yet)

Sandies and/or Jam Thumbprints

Orange Sable Cookies (I might drop the Sandies for these - Brian requested something orange)

Chocolate Covered Ritz (we bought a premade box at Kroger and Nicole and I fell in love - so easy to recreate)

And, of course, once Jessica mentioned Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls yesterday and then posted the recipe today, those were quickly added to the list. I had everything to just make a half batch. So easy! You could even add Christmas sprinkles on top for fun. And.......well, I took a sneaky bite before they were completely set and I would have to say THEY ARE WELL WORTH MAKING!!!!

I so love Christmas baking. But seeing as I have my monthly OB appointment tomorrow (almost 16 weeks), I think I will postpone the rest of my Christmas poundage until after I weigh in. Won't have to see that darned scale till mid January!

Also, I am making a soup in the crockpot today that just seems like it will be wonderful. I'll let you know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hanging On

This sickness, I mean.

Yes, we still have sickness here. It hit Nicole the hardest (I think because she was exhausted and worn out from Nutcracker) and her 104.6 spike in temp last Wednesday late night warranted a visit to the doctor. By then Andrew had a fever too so I took him along for the "two-fer" special. Andrew threw up in the exam room - so much fun. I think that was a combination of not eating much, having a fever and watching out the windows four stories up for too long. :) They swabbed Nicole for flu - negative - and checked her for several other things. Just arrived at the conclusion it was a bad virus. She was better finally by Friday afternoon, but she is still tired and bit whiny. Andrew and Michael developed barking coughs last Thursday or Friday - Michael first with no fever attached. Andrew had breathing issues early Saturday morning, but that was resolved and did not recur the next morning. Their coughs sound better now - not barky - but now Michael decided to run some fever last night during the night. So here we are, a week later, and still chugging along. Today we resumed school for the older ones so we can get a good bit accomplished before Christmas. We'll see how that goes. I am praying Jacob stays sickness free as he has so far. Saturday is his birthday party with friends. Even through all this virus stuff, there is still hope. After all it is Advent. There is cause for hope. There is joy in seeing that God never lets us down, never abandons us. It could be far worse - right? Happy Third Week of Advent!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sewing during Sickness

Well, it is sad that Nicole has been sick the past couple of days. Today she is doing much better with next to no fever. This surprised me since during the night she had about a 103 degree temperature. Hopefully no one else follows suit, but if they do maybe (please, Lord) this can be it till after Christmas. Our two major sources of sickness end by Sunday - Co-op and Nutcracker. Not to make it sound like these are germ infested places.

The good thing about having a sick child (and not a terribly sick one) is that we haven't had to go anywhere and we haven't done school yesterday or today. Thus, I have been able to get some sewing done. I guess I could have been doing lots of cleaning instead - nah!

I completed the Texas flag quilt I alluded to in my post yesterday. We have some sweet friends from Church that moved here a couple of years ago from the east. Next week they will be moving back. I had been thinking I would like to make them a little something to remember Texas and all the wonderful friends they made in our parish. The flag idea was my favorite and while I knew I could do it, I kept putting it off. It would require some serious thinking. So yesterday I began it and finished it - minus the star which I put on this morning.

Approximately 11' x 16 1/2"
Before I began, I got online and looked up the "regulations" for the size of the Texas flag so I could get my ratios right. That took some math on my part! I made it from a variety of 1 1/2" and 2" strips that came entirely from my scrap bucket and my stash. Actually, I didn't buy anything to make this quilt. I even had the bluebonnet fat quarter in my stash and it was perfect for the backing! I quilted it with straight lines in matching colors. I think that is some of the first straight line quilting I have done in a long time. This morning I used a cookie cutter to trace the star. I fused it on and then did two rows of stitching (very slowly) close to the outside edges of the star. Done! I am really proud of how it turned out and I hope they like it.

(oops - I forgot to blot out the blue tracing marks)

Then today, after finishing the star on the flag, I was feeling inspired to finish another project. Several weeks ago I had begun to construct a cute little bag called a "Sweet Treat Bag". I wasn't very far along with it, but it was such an easy little bag that I was able to pick it up today and finish it by lunchtime. I bought the little "Sweet Treat" box pictured below at the Quilt Show in October. I really didn't care so much about the tiny little 10 piece honey buns inside, I just wanted the pattern for the bag I saw next to it!!! So cute!!!

And here is the bag!

I found a bunch of these little boxes in another shop later in the day and I sifted through them to pick out the ones with my favorite fabrics - again, it really wasn't about the fabrics. I think this little honey bun was the Spring Magic line by April Cornell. It was so easy to make and of course now I have another little sweet treat to make with the other roll of fabric. I think this little bag will go to one of my sisters for Christmas (hope she's not reading). Won't it make a cute clutch or make-up bag? I am pleased with how it turned out too. And now that I have the pattern, just think of the possibilities!

So these are my little sewing adventures over our couple of sick days. What else can I do? OK. Maybe laundry. Nah!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Correct me if I am wrong, OK?

Is it only native Texans that would think to design a Texas flag mini quilt to give to a non-native Texan moving back out of state?

Do people in Idaho do this sort of thing?

Or is just us wacky Texans?

Just wondering.

Photos will follow - maybe tomorrow.

Monday, December 07, 2009

It really did snow!

Well, you have to look closely at the above photo to see it, but it really did snow here in Houston. What a wonderful thing! These photos are from around two in the afternoon - about the last time it snowed for the day. It snowed much more that morning, but we were at our homeschool co-op and not at home. The kids all got to see the snow at co-op and were thrilled at the huge flakes that were falling! It wasn't cold enough where we were for the snow to stick at all. It seems more of the snow fell and stayed on the ground to the slight north and west of us. So it wasn't quite as good as our December snow last year, but we'll take it anyway. I just hope the kids don't get too used to this down here in Houston.

After all, we don't have white Christmases in Houston!
Photos from last year's Dec. 11th snow and our actual ONE White Christmas in 2004!

Advent and Christmas Around the Harrington Home

Welcome to the Harrington Home!

This is our very first Christmas in our new home and we are all decked out (minus some lights in the bushes and a new floodlight for our front yard kneeling Santa)!

Come join me for a tour!

Greeting you at the front door....

This is the same old garland and the same old wreath we had at the other house for years. But this year it got a face lift. I removed all the faded red and gold ribbon and the sad, sad red and gold Christmas ball ornaments. This year I outfitted both with brand new red and white ribbons (on 50% off at Hobby Lobby) and red and silver jingle bells (40% off at Kirkland's).

I really love how bright and cheery they turned out. You know I am all about bright!

Once you come in, you see our Advent table and calendar in the hall and the lovely tree in the den. There were other places we could have put the tree but I loved that you could see it from the front door here - and just about everywhere else for that matter!

Looking up you see our banisters. This took some thinking and planning. In our old house I used fake pine greenery garlands and some red and green wooden beads and red and green plaid bows. Time for bright I thought! I decided I was tired of shedding greenery so I dreamed up what you see. I bought 6 yards of red tulle at Hobby Lobby for $1.09/yard and cut it in half lengthwise, giving me 36 feet! I bought the two rolls of shiny red ribbon half price at Hobby Lobby and got busy making five new bows. I love how it turned out!

I think I already shared the photo of our Advent table, but here it is with the candles in the wreath! They are perfect! I even found a short string of purple lights at Hobby Lobby (not on sale) to add to the wreath. Then over the weekend I hung the Nativity quilt Brian's mom made us several years ago. Perfect!

While in the front entry way, you can see the rest of the banister and then go on in to the dining room (we still have no table - someday!). We will use a folding table when we host my family on Christmas Day!

In the dining room I added this little six foot slender tree. I got it for $20 at Wal-Mart and it is really nice. I had bought one last year at Big Lots with the same intentions and I took it right back. It looked just like the sad little Charlie Brown tree. My sister-in-law has a wonderfully decorated similarly shaped tree in her kitchen eating area and I have loved it! I am so happy to have one. I decided to go with one of my favorite color combinations, red and aqua. I spent maybe $15 on ornaments half price at Hobby Lobby, a little for lights and $1 for 4 aqua snowflakes at Target. I even added some of the left over red tulle at the top. I'm not sure that will stay. Overall I really like it. It will be fun to add to each year.

The only other thing in the dining room is this antique sideboard my sister gave me. It is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. Over it I draped a lovely red table runner my mom passed on to me and then I thought it was just the right spot for these lovely little candle rings I had various places in the other house. I put one up on an old glass cake stand. I might have to look for some new clearance Christmas candles. The cream one is just a used extra candle I had on hand.

As you go from the dining room on into the kitchen, you'll say a favorite display that I have always loved putting in my kitchen. I bought our Santa Cookie plate at the Christmas Bazaar at our parish and have added to my little theme since then. During the season, I store cookies, etc. in the little jars and tin. What fun!

On the bar between our kitchen and den, I found the perfect new home for my snowman collection. This is one of my favorite collections to add to year after year. I always find some cute little half price Santa at Hobby Lobby. I have even found some at Kroger before! I love this display. The snowmen make me sooo happy and remind me of my best friend, whom I dearly love and who dearly loves stick arm snowmen. Here's to you, Robin!

Right next to the kitchen and eating area, we placed our Christmas tree. The children had such fun decorating it this year. It is such a joy to watch them already ooh and aah over all the ornaments as they remember their different favorites. It is wonderful as usual and full of so many memories and joys. I love where we put it!

Next to the tree is the fireplace and mantel. Our mantel is really big and really deep and there is an electrical outlet up there. I still haven't hung anything on the back wall and didn't feel like hanging my Christmas quilt there for just a month, so it remains blank. But it does prove to be the perfect spot for our Fontanini Nativity that Brian's mom started for us years ago. I found some half price trees at Hobby Lobby (it's the place to go!) and used some greenery, lights, and other trees from years past. It looks wonderful and it's right there for us to look at often.

I placed our big Nativity to the left side of the mantel and used the right side for a gathering of other small Nativities and angels we have. It makes for a nice religious themed area. I'm happy with it too!

Well, I guess that concludes this year's Christmas tour and hopefully will serve as a reminder to me when next year I am wondering, "Now where did I put all this stuff?????"

Wish you could come by and enjoy some cocoa, tea or coffee and visit for a while.

Many prayers for a blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas season!

My Little Rat

Yes, this is my precious daughter! This is her first season to dance the Nutcracker with our local ballet company, Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theater. She auditioned way back in August for a part and was awarded a rat part! She has been rehearsing most every weekend since the end of September and last Thursday, the first performance day had arrived. Over a two weekend period she dances a total of eight shows, 4 school performances and 4 public performances. We got to see her last Thursday in her second school performance. We had so much fun watching her on stage even though we couldn't see her pretty face. The scene with the rats is such a fun one - very comical in many ways. She has loved performing and has 4 more shows this weekend. The ballet is extremely beautiful and very professional. Many times lately she has said, "I wonder what I will be next year!" We shall see!

Lots of little rats back stage! It was so hard to tell who was who!

A very thrilled little rat after the performance - Mommy knew she would love another Nutcracker. She has been carrying it around ever since.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I can't believe it! I just can't believe it! We are supposed to have snow tomorrow. We had snow last year! We had snow Christmas Eve 2004! What's this world coming to??? Coming from someone who's lived right here all her life - this is unheard of!

And I soooooooo hope it happens!

Happy Day to You!