Wednesday, December 17, 2014


There are a lot of nice things about waking up before the kids.

  • I can get the fires going so the kids have warmth to welcome them when they come downstairs.
  • I'm the first person my husband talks to, and I get to start his day off with encouragement and words of love.
  • I get a few hours to scoot around the internet. Today, I hung out on Pinterest for a while, and I also found some really awesome photography sites--one is a mom out west who not only takes amazing pictures, but also homeschools her three boys. I had to send a message her way, albeit one of envy at the abundant natural light her home has. 
  • I get to read and write without interruption.
  • If it's during the school year, I get my thoughts together for the day and all materials organized. (But we are officially on Christmas break, so none of that today!)
  • And I get to see beautiful sunrises coming up through the woods. One day it was bands of steel wool and gold. Today it was purple ombre. 
I love the sunrises here in a different way than I did in big sky. They sneak up on me in the woods, and I see winter life in a way that invites me into its secret, as opposed to big sky that sang a chorus of glory. Each beautiful in its own right.


While it wasn't an official school day, we were there for Christmas craft. I was completely set for vacation mode, but was grateful that I got to spend time with a community that feels more and more like family each year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Melt in your mouth

My friend Julie just gave birth to her first son. I'm heading over to her house with my girls today to drop off some food. In addition to dinner foods, I decided to make a loaf of cinnamon bread, a la Pioneer Woman.

Oh my gosh.

Oh my gosh.

I put the ingredients in the bread machine and set it on dough cycle, using cinnamon chips instead of her swirl method. I put the whole shebang in a bread dish, and the loaf puffed up like an enormous chef's hat. So with the second batch, I split it into two loaf pans.

The chef hat loaf was a bit of a disaster in that it was so large that it didn't cook evenly throughout. So we had to creatively sample that one with some butter.

Oh my gosh.

Here's a link to the wonderful recipe. My changes were that I made it on the dough cycle of the bread machine without heating the milk, but I did melt the butter. I also used one cup of cinnamon chips instead of rolling and slathering, etc. And I used bread flour for the chef's hat loaf.

Yummy yum yum.

We are some happy campers here. I can't wait to give this to Julie.

Monday, December 15, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (6322-6357)

the wonder in the wait
that girl--she's eight
cards in the mail
Linda at the dinner table

heat from the stoves
working lights in the bathroom
a friend's healthy baby boy
another's daughter's performance on ice

camera 1
chocolate cake
an invitation from a neighbor
a great time at their party for all of us
people who made us feel welcome and worthy

a short week in school
a piano teacher's womanly wisdom
Nicole for coffee
shopping with Michelle
a book in the mail for Jennifer

and the occasions that prompted me to read it years ago
photography shoots on the horizon
cookie baking with my kids
perspective on priorities

contentment in no
Christmas coming
a Savior who loved me before I loved him
his humility, love and sacrifice
the holy Spirit's work on my heart

rumors of a move
ice skating sessions
a good dog
letting go of want
food in the fridge

meals in the freezer for Julie
an unexpected Monday off

Friday, December 12, 2014


He comes home to a warm house tonight and I stoke the fire.

"I'm going to have to get some more starters made up," I mention. "It's nice when this stove has some coals still hot in the morning so we can just start up from them."

"I haven't had that happen in a while," he tells me. We discuss fire strategy and planning.

"We should get some wood stacked up for the morning," he comments.

"I already did," I say. "Didn't you see it in the garage when you came in?"

Pause. Pause.

"I guess not," I finish.

"No, I meant have wood stacked up by the stoves. Different sizes and starter pieces," he explains.

"And fill up these (egg carton lids that we use to hold the scooped kindling)," I say.

Pause. Pause.

"That's a good idea," I agree, handing him two egg carton lids. "Why don't you get these scooped up for tomorrow's fires?"

Smiling, me.

"Um, by we, I really meant you," he laughs and walks off to get wood for the morning.