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12.20.2013

my week in review: 12/13-19//2013

Sharing the pictures I captured with my phone this past week and telling the stories behind them.

On Dec. 13th, which was St. Lucia Day, we went to IKEA for dinner. They served up a Swedish Julbord (pronounced yule-board), which is a Christmas smorgasbord filled with all sorts of fishy things and pickley things.

On the drive there, we had some fun trying to convince our kids that going to a furniture store for dinner was going to be worth the 1-1/2 hour ride. It's not just a furniture store. It's so much more!

We met up with some of our family including my cousin Kari, pictured here next to Kaitlin.

There was even special entertainment. It was quite nice. Totally worth the long drive to a furniture store for dinner.

And of course after dinner, we walked the store. Like there was even a chance we wouldn't.

Kaitlin's been asking to go visit this cute little baby since he was born last week. We finally got to meet him on Saturday. (He's the one I made that knock-off Pottery Barn growth chart for.)

I decided I wanted to make some of those delicious Rosettes that I enjoyed two weeks ago, so I borrowed the recipe and Rosette irons from my Rosette-making resident. Look at that old recipe card, covered in oil from all the many times he's used it while making Rosettes.

We went over to my mom's to make the Rosettes as well as some Krumkake.

In this picture Kaitlin and Oma are manning the Krumkake irons. The Krumkake turned out great and were delicious. 

The Rosettes on the other hand. They didn't turn out very pretty. Those things are HARD to make! Total new level of respect for my Rosette-making resident. Then the Rosettes got burned because someone put them in the oven to keep them away from the dog, then someone else pre-heated the oven without knowing the Rosettes were in there. So we didn't eat the Rosettes, but we had the experience of trying to make them, which is something every descendant of Scandinavians should at least try.

While we were there, we did some Christmas puzzling.

Sarah and I made snowflakes this week. I made so many that my hand is bruised from the scissors.

Sarah also helped me make some paper chains while we watched The Voice finale.

I made the snowflakes and paper chains for work. On Wednesday I had a Christmas party for my residents and I got it in my head to transform their community room into a Christmas winter wonderland.

I have parties for them throughout the year. But for these Christmas parties I close the doors and tape up plastic on the windows so that they can't see from the lobby into the community room. Then I go to work decorating the room. One of my joys is to see their expressions and hear their exclamations of how wonderful the room looks. 

I couldn't do it without my mom. Each year she has come and helped me decorate and serve. This year my aunt Barb came too. I'm glad they were both there setting the tables, because it took me a long time to hang all the snowflakes and garlands.

We use real tablecloths on the tables, not the usual plastic rolls. And set out our own dishes from home. Each year the residents tell me that I don't have to go through all the trouble of hauling our dishes from home. "Just use paper plates," they say. But that's part of what makes it special. It's worth the trouble I think.

Each year I've had entertainment for the residents. This year I was trying to figure out who to ask to entertain the residents when the local Kindergarten teacher called and asked if the kids could come and sing to the residents. I said, "can you come on the 18th at 2pm?!" They could, and they did. They were such little cuties! When they were done, they handed out cards with Christmas trees that they'd painted for the residents.

Mom and Barb did such a good job of plating the treats.

The residents asked me to keep the decorations up so they could enjoy them longer.

Remember how I thought I'd lost the stamp I made along with the carving tool? Well. I found it.

When I went to the store to return this box of Christmas lights, the worker-lady thought it felt funny and made too much noise when it was shook. She opened it up and there were my stamps & tool & ink. Because of course that's where you put your stamps & tools & ink when you are done using them. Gah!

I'm @annebickle on Instagram, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

12.13.2013

my week in review: 12/6-12//2013

Sharing the camera phone pictures from my week, telling their stories. Every Friday.

I put up the tree on Saturday morning. The past many years we have had a real tree AND a fake tree, but this year, due to budget cuts, we only have our fake tree. I was feeling kind of sad about that when I put it up. I've grown to like having a real tree.

This is my most favorite tree topper of all time. John made it in 2002, when he was in pre-school. It's topped one of our trees ever since.

After the tree was strung with lights and beads, they got to have at it with their ornaments. We've given them an ornament every years since they were born. Then JD and I hung our ornaments. We like to get an ornament for every year, a special memory or trip. 

We don't really have a theme to our tree, except maybe Family Memories Plus a Few Shiny Things

My favorite ornaments are the ones with photographs. Every year putting up the tree is like opening a time capsule.


The picture on the top left is JD when he was little. I remember, when we were first married and visiting his mom's for Christmas, seeing that ornament and thinking what a little cutie he was. And I thought how great it was that his mom kept it all those years and still put it out. His mom passed away in 2003 and the ornaments have just found their way to us this year. I was so happy to see it again and be able to put it up on our tree next to the pictures of our kids... and our neighbor girl (bottom right).

[bonus feature:]

"Mom!" John said somewhat urgently. 

I stopped putting up the ornaments and turned my attention to him. "What?" I asked.

"Why is Kloee on our Christmas tree?" he demanded. 

"Because she gave us the ornament," I replied, then added "besides, it's a memory."

As long as we have the ornament, we'll put it up. In fact...

Mail an ornament to Anne Bickle, PO Box 5744, Rochester, MN 55903 and we'll put it on our tree!

[end bonus feature] 

There was an ornament explosion on our tree. I'm pretty sure we can fit a few more ornaments on there.

Kitty Cat. Sitting there on the back of the couch, acting like you don't care. I know you do.

Early morning while I'm having coffee and Kaitlin is waiting for her ride to school. Sometimes when I see here, my heart just swells with love for her.

Artist trading cards are due this week. I didn't know what to do for the longest time. I decided to make a stamp, and stamp 12 of the same thing instead of making 12 separate drawings. I'd never made a stamp before, so there was a little bit of a learning curve, but I really enjoyed it.

I read this the morning after someone gave us an anonymous gift of money. They left it in a card and put it in our front door. The card was signed "from your family in Christ."

I have been having doubts about God's provision, losing hope. (Long story, but my husband works for a ministry where he has to raise money to get a paycheck and, well, let's just say, things have been tight for a long time.) The anonymous gift restored my hope. I'm so grateful for that person who obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I finished the trading cards and sent them off. Now I can't find the stamp I made... I think I might have thrown it away. So those things are truly limited editions.

It's been cold in Minnesota this week!
> > HOW COLD IS IT? < <


So cold that we put a blanket over the fireplace to try to stop the draft.

So cold that the butter I keep at room temperature is hard.

So cold that when the temperature reached 10 F, it was warming up.

So cold that Sarah and I put on Santa hats inside just to try to get warm. (Why are my front facing pictures always so grainy?)

Something that I like to do when it's cold is knit. Sarah asked me to teach her to knit a couple years ago. I love knitting with her.

Look what I got in the mail. I promise that I wrote the bonus feature before I got this ornament of Jessica's family in the mail on Thursday afternoon. It's like she read my mind. Now her family is hanging there on our Christmas tree with JD, my kids and Kloee.

Your ornament could be next!

I'm @annebickle on Instagram. Linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged

12.06.2013

my week in review: 11/30-12/5//2013

Every week. Posting my camera phone photos. Telling the stories behind them. So that I can remember stuff. And because I don't have time to scrapbook. 

Saturday we had our Nelson women's Christmas get together with the women on my mom's side of the family. Here Aunt Barb is reading an article from her Ideals book, an article about Christmas that was originally printed in (Ladies Home Journal?) 1890.

It's kind of a tradition when we go to Aunt Barb's to choose a reading from one of her Ideals books. She has many of them. (I have many IKEA catalogs and she has many Ideals books. It's all good.) The Ideals book I was given to read from was printed in 1974. I was three when that thing came out. Those things are timeless.

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