We got the star on the tree – Aunt Elizabeth knows it was missing for a long time.  It was set (poorly, but set) last night after 9 p.m.


But we never got the nativities sorted beyond the flash mob status.  A reflection of some of the unique characteristics of this particular season – good season but always on the go!


Even Miss Sophie needs a bit of a nap after all the rushing around.


Papa needs a nap because he got up early and plowed away the new fallen snow for us and the neighbors (Merry Christmas neighbors), and he went for a run – all before we were opening gifts at the crack of dawn.  Get rested up Papa we still have a movie to catch!


The goggles and flannel shirt are new, helmet is old.  But this seems to be the chosen attire for the day – threatening to go to Unbroken wearing this later this afternoon.  We’ll see.  I bet he selects this outfit instead:small-4032

New jacket is from Grandma and Grandpa – thank you!  He’s in love and I love the idea that I’ll be able to spot him on the ice flow or the ski hill.  He’s wearing it right now (flannel shirt under, helmet and goggles still on) while listening to music by Lecrae.

All this colorful fun to celebrate the best gift in history – birth of Jesus.  Can’t forget that without that best gift we just wouldn’t be the same – not the same at all!

Categories: Andy, Blessings, Christmas, Daily life, Faith, Family Fun, J, kids, snow, Thankful to God, Winter | 3 Comments



Merry Christmas!  I’m sharing my almond roca recipe today so that a couple of people who have asked for it may have it.


Almond Roca

1 pound butter

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons Karo Corn Syrup (3 tablespoons if at higher altitude like here in the Bozeman area)

2 cups white granulated sugar

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Butter bottom of cookie sheet and sprinkle almonds (I usually break them up a bit).  Reserve 1/2 cup for the last step.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until cooked to hard crack stage.  290 degrees on candy thermometer.  (If you don’t have one, the hard crack stage can be tested in a small cup of ice and water.)  The mixture will become frothy and a nice caramel brown.

Immediately pour over almonds and spread over cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips. spreading with pastry knife.  Then sprinkle crushed almonds over the top.

I put mine in the ridge to cool.

Then break it apart and package.  This makes about 2 pounds – enough for 7 or so 1/4 pound packages.


I hope you all enjoy this recipe and have a blessed Christmas.

Categories: Christmas, Daily life, recipe, snow, Winter | Leave a comment



I think we’ve done it!  We made it through!  Our family has finished with all its time-consuming obligations for this holiday season, which culminated with three bake sales and two concerts in one week.  May I never have to make another batch of almond roca and package it all up pretty to sell. 

IMG_2063_8401smIt may turn out to be wishful thinking, but I anticipate that the next ten days or so will be laid back and enjoyable.  We’ll have some folks over for Christmas dinner, but compared to what we’ve been through the past six weeks with trial prep, jury trials, school obligations and a few cold viruses thrown in, 13 people for a turkey dinner will be a piece of cake. 

It may sound crazy, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I can clean my house just because I have the time to do it.  I can go for a walk in the snow and not be counting the seconds it is taking away from other tasks that need to be done.  I can mosey out to check for chicken eggs anytime I want. 

Before Christmas I’ve got some wrapping to do and about 5 things to buy at the grocery store and one almost forgotten stocking stuffer, but then I’m done.  Material preparations are complete.  And thanks to Ann Voskamp, spiritual preparations are right where they should be for this stage of advent. 

Time to soak in the peace and joy of the season. 

Time to watch my boy relax – and grow, which he has done over an inch in less than a month.

Time to find a way to connect with my husband and create peace and joy and community between us after such a rush in different directions to get it all done – whatever “it” is.

Time to continue counting the gifts (I’m well over 2500 by now) and especially the greatest gift of all who was laid in a manger so He could be nailed to a tree so that I might be redeemed.

Tomorrow, hopefully, an update on that list of gifts.


Categories: advent, Christmas, Daily life, Faith, Family Fun, gratitude, Outdoors, Photography, snow, Thankful to God, Winter | Leave a comment

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