Friday, December 31, 2010

O Canada, Canada, Canada ...

Our Christmas tree is enjoying it's last few days with us in our living room until next November when it will again be brought out for another season. I will admit, it did get gypped out of a few weeks this year due to the no-lifting regulation put on me after my belly button surgery on Nov. 2nd through Nov. 30th. But it did make it up this year and it was actually fun to put it up with ornaments EVEN being hung below the 2 year old height! (Thank you Nolan for being SO GOOD this year!) The boys were helpful! Nothing was broken in the process ... and it really looks nice.

It's nothing spectacular ... although it is a TALL tree thanks to a super-great sale I happened upon in August one year (ya it's artificial)... but it's nothing that Martha Stewart is going to write an article about ... but then again ... maybe she should. Our tree is adorned by a collection of ornaments from when I was little, things our children have made in Sunday School and school, mementos from places we've been ... or milestones in our lives like our honeymoon, our first year together, our first Christmas with our children etc.

Last year I posted about a special Tinsel Spider that I made when I was about 3 years old ... and yes, he's there again this year!

But this year I've chosen to post about another special ornament close to my heart.
And it means even more this year.

My father and his parents started traveling to Canada in the 1940's as a family on fishing trips. It was a bonding trip that not only brought them closer as a family, but also stretched the generations as my parents then took my sister and brother and I along WITH my grandparents EVERY first full week of June for our entire childhood. Yes, our family has a history with Nestor Falls, Canada and Helliar's Resort since the 1940's until 1999 when my father passed away. (My dad even took an annual fall trip with his work-buddies there which paved the easy way for Jeff's current fall hunting trips with the guys.) ... The trips to Canada brought me close to our family, close to the North country and fishing and boating and a whole different COUNTRY all at the same time!
I love Canada.

It has such a special place in my heart and when I think back to Nestor Falls I can't help but get a little teary eyed thinking of the smell of fresh moss on granite rocks ... water falls and walleye and crappie fishing, seeing people eat french fries with forks! and so many other little things ... that are big things perhaps only to me ... but especially to me.

Fast forward to this past year ... the year that I have been praying so much for a little boy at New Day.

What joy it has been to see his future unfolding to include his forever family ... who are Canadians!
What joy indeed!
I love this little ornament for my memories from childhood ... also now for those that are still being made.
Merry Christmas ... and a VERY Happy, Happy New Year!
And a very special New Year for Samuel and his Forever Family :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jennifer My Operation Giggle Girl

I am terrible at posting lately. Sorry!
It's been busy on several fronts ... I have also been busy sewing up a storm. (I have a new pot-holder project that I'll have to share sometime soon!!)

However, I did want to post about Operation Giggle and the JOY I have had bringing together a few girly things for a SWEET little one whom I wish I could expand our family officially to include. 
(Oh my goodness. Did I just type that outloud?)

No apologies about it though ... I stand firm in knowing that love is not divided but instead is multiplied when we let our hearts grow to include others. (Insert mental image from the movie, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, where The Grinch's heart grows 2 sizes when he finally "gets it!")

I wish I could say that the entire family helped pack this box of goodies ... but ... they didn't.
I do hope that a positive impact is being made on their hearts (even if it's slow) in seeing how great it is to share with others and that it doesn't take away from them to do so. It's small steps for now and I did enjoy preparing it and still have great joy that I am able to shower her with a few Christmas gifts this year and even more, to pray for her.
Perhaps her forever family will step forward soon and have her home by next Christmas?
It happened to my special little Operation Giggle Child last year (Samuel) and I am very much looking forward to his happy union with his forever parents soon in 2011! 


And also hopefully in the near future hearing good news for his sweet roommate and friend Jennifer, our Operation Giggle child this year. Maybe you would like to join with me as a prayer warrior for her?!
Maybe she is your daughter?

In case you are looking for some neat last minute girly gifts for the younger set (Jennifer just turned 2.) I highly recommend these great items that Jennifer will open on Christmas morning in China! (I've added the links to where I bought them, although it seems the prices have gone up on some of them and so you may want to price-shop for the best deal):


Manhattan Baby Travel Toy, Hunny Bunny by Manhattan Baby
Amazon.com     $9.99
LOVE THIS!! (It comes in several different styles)




(I bought a set of the next two things for Nolan ... so ... if these drive the Nannies at New Day crazy they can take comfort in knowing that I've also done it to myself as well!)
OUR PRICE :$2.99


OUR PRICE :$2.99


WOW Poppy's Pony Adventure
by WOW
Amazon.com Price:$24.30 
This is a WAY COOL line of toys that I blogged about last year. They do not need batteries as they are friction powered. Being made in England they are super-sturdy, the kind of thing you'll keep for years and let your grandchildren play with someday. There are MANY different sets.




Snap 'n Style Doll - Lihn by Fisher Price
Amazon.com-- $19.48

The clothes simply snap onto this doll making it super easy for little learning hands to not get frustrated. 



 I hope it's a beautiful and memorable Christmas for her! 
Operation Giggle is still looking for donations to fund the shipping of the donated gifts for all the children at New Day. Stop over and donate $1, $5, $10, $50+ --whatever your are led to give. It is a beautiful thought to think of how these small steps of kindness will impact the children and the people who care for them in seeing the kindness of Jesus at work!!

Also, although I did not buy them, I came across these way-cool blocks that would be really cool if you are interested in learning a few Chinese characters or keeping Chinese around in your toddler's world.
I found them originally at Childtrek.com (but they don't seem to have them anymore, although they have them in Hebrew and other languages.)

Amazon does carry them as do other sellers.
http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Goose-Chinese-Character-Blocks/dp/B002YMB5JM



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A New Tradition--Advent Conspiracy


I just had to share this link to The Advent Conspiracy... even if you've seen it before, it just really never gets old.


How did they sneak in to our Christmas journeys and find out exactly what goes on each year? Sadly, it must be the norm ... something happens between putting up the tree and all the stories about the humble birth of Christ, the baby in the manger that I carefully explain to the kids that is so special and then in the next breath it seems I end up yelling at them in a frantic dash to the mall for one last happy stocking stuffer ... Ug.


At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ, God giving His only son to us so that we could have forgiveness for our sins. 


It is the ultimate gift and the most selfless thing that has ever happened to this world. 
God sent His son to answer the need in our hearts....why not make part of Christmas about answering the needs in this world ... Could you imagine what would happen if churches/families across the US did this? God sent His son to answer the need in our hearts....why not make part of Christmas about answering the needs in this world...


HERE are some ideas:


•  Support a family who is adopting through a donation 
   (there are MANY families! Here's one and donations are tax-deductible!)
•  Donate to clean water projects
•  Mentor
•  Volunteer
•  Shop on Etsy and support FAMILIES (some who are raising funds for things like adoption!)
•  Make Homemade gifts that encourage RELATIONSHIPS
•  Shop the "slightly" used sections of the toy areas on Amazon or 
    ebay or Goodwill and then GIVE the money saved to a favorite 
    mission or cause


There are SO many needs ...
and how richly blessed we all are in ways that WE ALL can be a part of the solution.
Here's the direct link to see The Advent Conspiracy Video that's NOT cut off 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkTyPzRzuwc&feature=player_embedded





Think differently this Christmas ...
You can learn more about Advent Conspiracy Here! 
Start small ... Start big ... Just Start somewhere.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nine More Days of GiveAways!

I hope you haven't been missin' out! Only 9 more days of giveaways!
But, that's nine beautiful chances at some wonderful gifts ... and nine incredible gift giving ideas for you!
Remember to visit Ni Hao Y'all's blog and join in on the fun!!

I promise, one of these days soon, will be Ruffled Feathers Day!

Ni Hao Y'all

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Picking Them Up With Both Hands-A Must Have Book for the Holidays!

Did you remember this book that will benefit The Rippee's Adoption?!

I just bought a copy and added the button to my sidebar that will take you to the order site!
Spread the word AND buy some as Christmas presents as well! What a cool  opportunity to read and share stories of orphans that will also benefit orphans!

Written by Caleb Phillips during the time he and his wife spent at a certain foster home in China,  it delivers real-life stories of real-life children who are waiting for parents to love and care for them.

The Philips are donating all of the profits from this project to orphan relief. The Rippee Family will be one benefactor as they adopt from China.

The family

The family