Thursday, December 26, 2013

It Was a Peaceful Sort of Christmas

 Dear Friends,

We hope that you all have had a wonderful Christmas, and that you are still basking in the peace of the season, as are we.

Here are some pictures from our family activities preceding the holiday. On Sunday, the three oldest girls played and sang "Mary's Lullaby" at church~

 On Monday the 23rd we performed The Nutcracker for my mother and brother via Skype. It actually worked out quite well!

On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, we did a reenactment of the Nativity story, with Mister Graham reading from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew~

May the Light of the Savior continue to shine down upon us all!



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

Dear Friends,

Christmas is coming, ready or not. I must admit that every year leaves me feeling like hiding under a rock, as I try to remember all of the little things that make one's loved ones feel remembered. :) But I do love the spare moment that I have to stop and think of the Savior's birth, and all that He means to me, especially while cuddling with a baby by our little tree.

We've been busy singing and playing carols for various nursing homes in the area, as well as participating at church parties and meetings. AnnaMarie and Audrey are at this moment getting ready to play the harp and violin for our church's choir, while Tasha will be singing along with them.

Visiting with the forgotten elderly~

We make door knob ornaments and hand them out as a way of letting the residents know we love them

On top of  all that performing, the children will be performing their 10th annual home-made Nutcracker ballet, for their proud parents and other close family and friends. It is such fun to see them develop their talents each year, and the creative ways they have of throwing costumes together from whatever's lying around the house! 
We are all missing our Grandma Graham this time of year, since Christmas was always her favorite. She delighted in spoiling her grandchildren especially at Christmas, making their stockings to hang up, as well as night clothes to open on Christmas Eve. I am almost through stitching Hyrum's stocking, using the pattern that his grandma left behind. She was working on a felt                   ornament collection of the nativity, and we will be using that to decorate the front of the stocking.It's the little things that mean a lot this time of year, and each year that passes makes us love the little things even more.

May your Christmas celebrations bring you the peace of Christ and joy, and may we all live in appreciation of all that He has done for us.

To God be the glory,


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy St. Nicholas Eve

Dear Friends,

We are getting ready for bed (early, just to be extra good) this evening, in anticipation of the arrival of St. Nicholas. We hope that he has dressed extra warm, since it's freezing cold outside!

It's nice to have such roomy footwear to hold carrots for St. Nicholas' horse, as well as any gifts he'd like to leave us~

Thankfully the house is nice and warm, since Pete the Parakeet would not be a happy boy. Doesn't he look all innocent and non-finger biting in this picture? :)

One of our Christmas cactuses is putting on a display for us right now. The beautiful blooms of this plant spell "Christmas" for me even more than the tree, since the original starts came from my grandmother's house of happy childhood memories. They are an easy care plant that handles underwatering and low light very well, and are very long-lived.

Meanwhile, downstairs in Dollton, the dolls are putting up their decorations and getting ready for Christmas as well (to tell the truth, I think they're having way more fun than we big folks are!)

 Since Mr. Graham was called to be the bishop of our local congregation, I've been doing my best to make sure that there are always fresh flowers to beautify the podium. I bought red poinsettias for the month of December, and we were able to enjoy them on our table with our Advent wreath for a few days, as well. Red and green were my deceased mother-in-law's favorite colors, so I'm sure she would have approved. We are certainly missing her during this special time of year, which she loved so well.

May you all stay warm and dry this night, and may the peace of the season rest in your hearts.




by Eleanor Farjeon

Nicholas, Saint of Children,
Loves to spend his wealth
On pretty toys for girls and boys,
Leaving them by stealth.
The wind in the chimney
Hears children call:
"Bring me this, Saint Nicholas!
Bring me that, Saint Nicholas!
           A silky scarf,
           A bag of sweets,
           A big gold ball!" 
Nicholas, Saint of Sailors,
Children of the sea,
When their sails are torn by gales
Close at hand is he.
The wind in the rigging
Hears the sailors cry:
"Save us here, old Nicholas!
Save us there, good Nicholas!
           Saint of Sailors,
           Bring us safe
           Home, high and dry!"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November Comes, and Meeting a Kindred Friend

Dear friends,

Happy November to you~ We're still getting used to the idea of summer having come to an end, yet before we know it, the Christmas season will be upon us!

My mother blessed with a visit from Idaho (she even brought us a fresh sprig of sagebrush, knowing how much we miss the smell). She brought two of her dogs, my Aunt Sharleen, and an orphaned squirrel she was caring for.

We have a few brave flowers in our garden, including these blue salvia.

 The wild area next to our home has been sprouting up lots of shaggy mane mushrooms, which are quite tasty if you cook them before they turn into mush~

 Everyone is still pestering. . er. . . loving little Hyrum, who is growing by leaps and bounds. . .

And we had the fun experience of meeting a Facebook friend who lives four hours away from us in the Ozarks, Jamie Jackson. Jamie is an excellent herbalist, as well as someone who is living our dream of homesteading and building her own home with her husband. You can find Jamie's herbal products at this website:  We've tried both her jasmine and lavender face cream, and they would make wonderful Christmas presents for someone special (including yourself). She also has many herbal extracts and salves which are healing for skin conditions such as eczema.

May peace and joy surround you this time of year, when we count our blessings and prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Welcome Little Stranger

Dear friends,

Excuse us for not having posted for so long, but we've had our hands full (literally)!

Meet little Hyrum Joseph Graham, who was born at home on the fourth of this month. We are all smitten with his angelic presence, and spend as much time as we can snuggling with him.

Even though we may not have free hands to leave comments on your blogs, know that we are reading them and are thinking of all of you.

Till next time,



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Welcoming Autumn

Dear Friends,

Happy Autumn to you! We've been enjoying cooler weather lately, although we're supposed to be still in the 80s for the next week or so. We'll gladly take the extra time of warm temperatures that will keep our garden going!

"Our" Monarch butterflies have been hanging about our yard, sipping from the flowers and roosting in the trees at night. They should be leaving any day now, for we have seen several others flying south around town (and we always hold our breath when they cross busy streets!).

The bees are busily gathering nectar for winter, and several honey bees have even come in the house after our honey.

 This bumble bee is perfectly innocent, however~

We finally figured out what kind of squash is taking over our front flower bed: Zucchino Rampicante. Two seeds have produced plants stretching 20 feet or more in all directions! This one seems to have gone to Tasha's head.

The Jerusalem artichokes are looking beautiful with their golden blooms. When the first frost comes, we will be able to start harvesting their tasty tubers.

Our toads keep growing and growing, especially our big female we named Princess. She is big enough to tackle nightcrawlers that would be like our eating a python!

To add to our indoor zoo, we bought a very UN tame parakeet named Pete. Hopefully he will come to trust and love us soon. 

May this season bring you much joy as you experience the wonders of each day. May we all take time to cherish the little things that add up to wonderful memories many years hence.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Visiting the "Big Muddy"

Dear Friends,

(These photos are from a couple of weeks ago, but I'm just getting around the putting them up~  Sitting down and typing can be a challenge when you have a watermelon-sized belly!) :)

We've been living near the Missouri River for almost three years, and finally made a trip especially to see it. There is a park with river access not far away, and we were happy to discover a nice sandy bank, and very warm water! So different from the Snake River we left behind us.

Some of us were not so sure the water was a safe place to be, especially when a passing barge made some impressive waves!

We found a tiny cricket frog, as well as a blue-tailed skink with an electric blue tail (neither were being very photogenic)~

And we discovered a few sand burs, which is something we'd forgotten about, with the clay soil we've gotten used to!

Back at home, the Monarch butterflies whom we raised from eggs emerged from their beautiful chrysalides.We hope they will make it to Mexico and raise the next generation in the spring.

Raising butterflies has been so much fun this year, and made seeing them enjoying life in the wild that much more precious.

Thank you for your friendship and kind comments. We are so grateful for all of you who stop by here, and for the kinship we feel with you!