Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Things for Friday

1. We had a lot of fun at Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells for Thanksgiving. It was our second time going there and I'm sure we'll return again. I'll do a post about it in the future, but until then here are a few pictures to "tide" you over. (Get it? Tide? Because it's a waterpark. Yeah, I'm a genius.)

The lobby was decorated for Christmas. It was so pretty!
2. My boys have been behaving like possessed little monsters this week. Sam has been way more temperamental (what happened to my sweet, docile toddler!?) and John's moody outbursts have been giving me horrible visions of what life could be like when he's a teenager. And the boys have been fighting each other--actually hitting, wrestling, and pushing one another. Their age difference has prevented that from happening so far, but I guess Sam is big enough now that he feels confident going after John and John has no problem going right back after him. Their behavior got me wondering yesterday if there was a full moon out, and sure enough, there was one. John had a Montessori preschool teacher in Connecticut who was convinced of the full moon's effect on people and especially on children. I need to do more research into it before I really believe that, but for now I'd say there's some pretty good evidence in our household that it might be true! I'd like to think that it's just the full moon. That way this behavior will only be an issue every few weeks rather than an everyday occurrence!
My possessed children.
3. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is on the cover of this month's Fortune magazine, which we got in the mail this week. I think he looks like a robot. (Sorry, the image isn't that good. Our scanner isn't working and this is the best I could find online. Believe me, he looks very artificial in the picture!)

Speaking of robots, from what I've heard he has a tendency to treat Amazon's warehouse employees who do order fulfillment as if they were robots in order to give Amazon one of the competitive edges that it has. I don't like that, and he creeps me out. Nevertheless, I remain a (somewhat reluctant) Amazon shopper, and I just placed an order with them this week. Good job Mr. Bezos. No wonder Fortune named you the Businessperson of the Year.

4. I discovered something wonderful at the store last week. Lindt Peppermint Extra Dark Chocolate Truffles. I can't believe how delicious these are. Satiny and smooth and the perfect combination of dark chocolate and peppermint. I need to go get some more. They're Limited Edition, which is probably for the best. They are sooo good and addictive and I love them!

5. I'm happy to report that this month I mostly accomplished my goal of preparing for Christmas early so as to be able to enjoy the season better in December. I "decked the halls" this week, we're getting the tree tomorrow, the cards are designed and ordered (and it's not even December yet! That's a record for me!), and the majority of my shopping is done. Not all of it, but a lot of it. I'm going into December feeling much less overwhelmed than I usually do, and that is a blessing.

In that vein, this is my last post until January. I'm taking December off from blogging and the blogosphere so that I can have more time to be with my family and do old-fashioned things like read books by the Christmas tree and watch classic Christmas movies and make and do fun holiday things I've seen on Pinterest. I'll be back in January--I have tons of things to write about that I haven't yet. And I plan on finishing my summer posts this winter--they'll help me re-experience the warmth and good times of summer during the cold winter months.

Here are a few things from my Christmas board on Pinterest. I've mentioned before that I really like Pinterest, right? This is our first Christmas together. :-)

I sincerely wish you the happiest of holidays this wonderful Christmas season! See you in 2013!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With (Tape)

That's my play on words from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Sound of Music. I love getting cardboard boxes delivered to my home that are full of goodies. I got one a few weeks ago that made me very happy, the contents of which will help keep me warm and content on a nearly daily basis during the cold months of the year.

Open it up, and look! Cow-spotted tissue paper. Hmmm, cows. Where did I go this summer that had cows? (Hint: I wrote 17 blog posts about this place!)

Open it up even further and there's the treasure! Five cans of rich and creamy Anne of Green Gables hot chocolate, shipped from Prince Edward Island, Canada. This hot chocolate is so delicious. I bought a can when we were there this summer and after I tried it, I was hooked. It's heavenly with a big dollop of whipped cream on top, and I like that it can be used with water or milk. It beats the pants off of the Swiss Miss and even the Godiva and other nicer brands that I've used over the last several years. I love it! And I love that a little piece of the island warms my heart while I'm away.

An added bonus is that it makes me feel rather cultured to order my cocoa from another country and to have French words written on one side of the can. ("Chocolat Chaud," anyone?) And it's not even very expensive. If you want to check it out and maybe even order some of your own (it would be an awesome investment!), go here.

I got myself a box of caramels while I was at it. Why not?

Because these are indeed a few of my favorite things!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Little Boy on the Tracks

One day this fall while John was at one of his extracurricular activities, Sam was getting restless so I took him outside where there were some rarely used train tracks nearby. As you may know, Sam LOVES trains, so the opportunity to walk on real train tracks was a treat for him. And I got to take some fun pictures of that as well as of the surrounding scenery of the fall in Iowa. A win-win situation all around!


Check out this cool circular hole that I spotted in the clouds!

It was such a beautiful afternoon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Hint of Even Better Things to Come

This was a beautiful sunrise I saw in October. I'll never get tired of seeing or photographing the inspirational progression of nature's wonderful way of starting a new day!

I read somewhere once in fiction that when the clouds are red it means the angels are baking.  I love the imagery of that!

The sky becomes more golden and lavender-pink as the sun rises higher over the horizon...

It almost looks like there's electricity in the tops of the clouds in the pictures above and below!

What a wonderful way to start the day! Things like this are evidence to me of God's love for and hope for His children. He wants us to be happy while we're here on earth. Sunrises, sunsets, and the many other beauties of nature are glimpses of the treasures waiting for us in heaven, a far more beautiful and wonderful place than we can imagine. That is the inspirational theology I see in a simple and beautiful sunrise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I copied this off of Facebook; can you tell? :-)
And some of my favorite Thanksgiving-related pins, courtesy mostly of Pinterest...

I printed this out and put it in a pretty gold frame on my counter. Note the cute little owl at the bottom.
I'm thankful for owls and for free printables. :-)

I don't mind those thankful posts on Facebook. I just like this because I AM thankful for Pinterest!

Black Friday. I am not a participant.

Ending on a sincere, un-snarky note.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Amber Waves of Grain

You know the first line of America the Beautiful where it says "Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain"? When we moved to Iowa and bought the house that we did, we got our very own amber waves of grain (okay, technically it's corn). I think of "amber waves of grain" often in the fall when I drive down the street into this lovely valley that's on the way to our neighborhood. The golden stalks really do look like amber waves of grain to me. I love my New England forests and coastlines and I find the mountains of the West to be majestic and beautiful, and I'm grateful to say that now that I live here, I find these Midwestern farm fields to be beautiful too.

America the beautiful, indeed! 

Halloween's Not Over Yet!

I guess I better write about Halloween before Thanksgiving happens and then it will really be too late, because who wants to read about Halloween during the Christmas season? This post is making it in by the skin of its teeth.

I still have one Halloween decoration up. I bought it this fall at Barnes & Noble and it's now one of my favorite Halloween decorations. I think it fits year-round which is why it's still out!

She sure does!
I wasn't that excited about my kids' costumes this year, to be honest. John insisted on being "Swampfire," a character from Ben-10, which is a show that he's never seen, but he enjoys playing the Ben-10 game on his Leapster. One of the costume catalogs we got had a Swampfire costume and when he saw it he wouldn't budge, even though he likes superhero characters from The Avengers more. So, he was Swampfire. I still haven't figured out what exactly that is.
This costume has a fairly cool flame mask to go with it. I should have gotten a picture with him wearing that.
 Sam is still figuring out Halloween and so he wasn't picky about his costume, except for the fact that he didn't want it on. He wore the dragon costume that John wore at his age. It was really cute on him and luckily it fit perfectly!

The title of this photo collage is "Get this dragon head off of me!"

Cute little dragon feet!

Here's Sam eating lunch on Halloween. He was wearing a cute glow-in-the-dark shirt that said "I Love my Mummy." I'm a sucker for shirts like that.

Here's John when he got home from school on Halloween. He was in his costume already from being in the school parade.

Before trick-or-treating, we ate dinner by candlelight from the cool owl candelabra that I got at Target a few weeks ago. It was an easy dinner of scrambled eggs and toast so the candelabra really classed things up! 

 Me and my boys.

Peter went out trick-or-treating with the kids (and forgot a flashlight!) and I stayed home to pass out candy (we don't get a ton of trick-or-treaters, so my job was easy!).

Look! It's a dragon in the wagon!
He kept the dragon head on! A Halloween miracle.

Here are our jack o'lanterns and front porch. I usually pretty much always keep it simple for outdoor holiday decorating, although I sometimes have ambition to do more. Maybe one of these years I will.

I didn't even replace the summer flowers with mums this year. Oops!

Peter dropped Sam off after awhile and stayed out a little longer with John. Sam was so excited and happy about all the candy he'd gotten! Now he's starting to understand Halloween. 

"That trick-or-treating is hard work! I need a juice box!"

The next morning John organized and counted all of his candy, rather nicely I thought.

Sam was OBSESSED with the candy for about a week after Halloween. He'd sort it and put it in all different kinds of bags and containers and carry it around the house. Kids are so funny! 

And that was Halloween 2012 for us! I hope you had a good one too!