Sunday, December 30, 2007

The joy of yarn

This is my new yarn basket. Isn't it beautiful? I think this basket adds some warmth and coziness to my living room. I admit it. I am a new knitter, but I'm already addicted to it. I can't purl (yet), increase (yet) or decrease (yet) but I'm enjoying myself immensely. I am currently working on my first project, an afghan for my husband which I hope to have completed by St. Valentine's day. I enjoy keeping my fingers busy while watching a movie. I love that it's portable and I can bring my knitting anywhere. I love looking at yarn and as you can see my basket is already full ready for future projects.

I gave my son Luke a circular knitting loom for Christmas and he just finished his first hat. I think he likes keeping his hands busy while watching a movie too. Paul is working on his first hat as well. We're all slowly learning a new craft. It's so exciting to acquire a new skill!

There's nothing like the accomplishment of creating something of one's own.

Look what my Aunt Rosie made for Sam

Yesterday, upon returning home I received a package in the mail. I was delighted to discover that my Aunt Rosie had knitted a special sweater for Sammy. It's a beautiful brown to match Sam's eyes and hair. I love these special handmade items. They're just so special and I know that Sam will outgrow his new sweater way too quickly. So, I will let him wear it often this winter and think of all the love that went into that sweater each time I see Sam wearing it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Secret Garden revisited

By the way, we never did watch that 1975 BBC version of The Secret Garden. I'll tell you why. By the time I thought about it, we'd already watched the 1987 Hallmark Hall of Fame version, listened to the book and then listened to the full-cast BBC audio version and I'm more than a little tired of it and it is one of my favorite childhood books! So, back to the library it went, but not without Luke wanting me to check out this version instead. I guess we will watch Colin have one more tantrum before we move on.

This is what it's all about

Yesterday, I realized that next week is Christmas! Where has my cozy Advent gone?
We haven't done all the things that I had planned yet. There are still so many inviting Christmas pictures books to read, yummy things to bake and what about the crafts? Well, the beaded snowflakes turned out to be frustrating to all of us. Now, I have a box full of beads and lots of wire left. I still have plans to make 3-D paper snowflakes, but as I'm not naturally crafty, I'm already feeling a little anxiety about this project too. We have been reading some wonderful books this Advent and listening to a lot of the Nutcracker Suite, but I still feel that we've been rushed and it's passed way too quickly.

As you can see, I've spent more than a little time on YouTube and well, Linus just says it all. We watch A Charlie Brown Christmas every year and I believe this humble little classic boils Christmas down to its very essence. I will try to calm down. There's still time to bake the gingerbread cookies (that Luke won't eat) and read more of our stack of books. I noticed that about six of our books are The Night Before Christmas. I still have plans to compare the artwork in each of these editions of the famous Clement C. Moore poem. There's still time to read A Christmas Carol too. There are twelve days of Christmas!

If we don't get to do everything we planned, there's always next year. It's important to remember what Linus says about Christmas. It's the little things that bring us the most joy anyway.

Stuck? Stuck!

So, the other day, Luke accidentally drops one of our new Christmas tree ornaments and I try to glue it using Gorilla glue. It's the only glue I can find and I know it's gotta be stronger than Elmer's. Anyway, my hubby gets home from work to find me gluing said ornament and he tells me that I need something stronger. So, he gets out the Krazy glue and I proceed to glue the ornament with Krazy Glue as he warns me not to get it on my fingers. But, here's the kicker: I don't take him seriously. I mean, most glue I've ever used peels right off. So, I go ahead and accidentally glue my finger to the Christmas ornament. At first I don't panic until I realize that my finger is really stuck and separating myself from this ornament actually means that I'm going to have to lose some skin. So, I pull and wow is it ever painful! I managed to get it off without too much damage, but okay, lesson learned.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Secret Garden

Recently, we finished listening to The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I then checked out several film adaptations of the book and yesterday being a snowy day, we decided to watch the Hallmark Hall of Fame version. Let me just say that I have not really seen a truly good adaptation of this classic children's book. I like for Luke to see how film adpatations change things, add things or leave things out from the books. Now, I understand that film cannot truly capture a book because books and films are two very different mediums. There are very few instances in my experience where the movie is better or at least as good as the book. Well, this film opens with a grown-up Mary Lennox returning to her beloved garden and that's when I realize that this story will be told as a flashback. In this version, Mary Lennox and Colin Craven are not cousins. I wondered why such a big deal was made until I made the connection with the film's flashback device. At the end of the film, we return to the grown-up Mary Lennox enjoying the garden and then, the appearance of the adult Colin (played by a very young Colin Firth, by the way). Anyway, Colin then proposes to Mary in their garden and we learn that Dicken has recently died. I suppose the essence of the story is there, but I was still a little disappointed. Well, next up:
the 1975 BBC version of The Secret Garden. We'll see how they compare.

By the way,
Here's my pick for a superior book adaptation: Emma Thompson's 1995 Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Feast of Saint Nicholas

The boys woke up to some goodies in their shoes today. My husband gets up so early that he forgot to check his shoes, but he will have a treat when he gets home from work today. We all got some chocolate coins and Christmas ornaments. Luke and Sammy both received wood-carved animal ornaments. Luke received a tiger and Sammy got a squirrel. We then read The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi. I'm going to make chocolate chip pancakes today and then we will read The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale retold by Aaron Shepard. Even though we got some snow overnight, we will brave the cold to attend mass later today. We are enjoying this special Advent day and it brings us one day closer to the birth of Christ.

The Prayer of St. Nicholas

We call upon
Your Mercy, O Lord.
Throught the intercession
of St. Nicholas,
keep us safe amid all dangers
so that we may go forward
without hindrance
on the road to salvation.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The poor cold baby Jesus

Since Thanksgiving, we've been reading picture books from the enormous stack of Christmas and Advent books from the library. On Saturday night, I flipped through the titles and I decided on Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt. Now, I have to say that I never thought I'd be laughing so much that I'd have a hard time reading. So many of the picture books we've read already are serious or serious tear-jerkers, but this one, you just can't help but laugh even though it's seems so serious.

This story is about a six year-old girl named Angela. She can't but worry that the baby Jesus is cold in the manger scene in her church, St. Joseph's in Ireland. She's concerned that His mother Mary has no blanket to keep Him warm. So, she waits in the church until it's empty and then decides that she is going to take the baby Jesus home so that she can warm him up. What ensues is an adventure to get the Baby Jesus to Angela's home so that she can ensure that He gets warm and then the ultimate return of the Baby Jesus to His mother back at the church. There's just such a good balance of humor and reverance that makes this story memorable.

The only thing I wish is that I could have read this with an Irish accent!

I know Angela and the Baby Jesus is one that we will read again next year and the year after that! What a new Christmas treasure!

It is worth noting that there are two editions of this book. There is a children's edition illustrated by Raul Colon and an adult edition illustrated by Loren Long. We read the children's edition and I have not seen most of the illustrations for the adult version. I will have to compare both editions for future reading.