You aren’t busy at all this month are you? I know for many the schedule is full. For others this time of year brings loneliness and missing loved ones. No matter where you are at, I hope you find time to celebrate Advent and Christmas in your local community, with family, friends, neighbors, at a local church, at home or wherever you choose. I shared about Cows For Christmas earlier and for every comment on the post through Christmas Day, I am donating $1 additional to Heifer International, which is a great last-minute gift idea if you need one.
It’s been a full December for us, and I finally went through a few pictures this morning to share with you highlights. But first we must honor a special woman. We will celebrate this weekend, but it is my Grandma Nola’s 85th birthday today. My mom and she went to visit Grandma Nola’s aunt, Iris, who is 109 and clearly remembers the day in 1929 that my Grandma Nola was born.
Isn’t that remarkable? I am blessed and grateful to be born into a long line of strong women like Iris and my grandma. Last Christmas my cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, brother-in-law, baby niece, parents, grandparents, husband and me filled my mom’s kitchen and made lefse. For my Great-Grandma Esther’s recipe, click here. Lefse is a like a potato tortilla, a Norwegian heritage tradition that my family still makes and loves. I stood on a chair and snapped the below picture of my Grandma Nola in her lefse making glory. It’s one of my favorite pictures of her.
Elizabeth had a birthday on December 9 and turned seven! I haven’t even blogged about her Frozen birthday party yet. But I will get that done. It was so much fun with scores of classmates and friends. We had to delay her family birthday party by a day because she had the flu on December 9. When I looked through the pictures today, this is what I found…
It’s never dull around here.
We’ve hosted several parties this month. In between them I have prepared a lot of food including numerous appetizers, salads, meats, breads and Anika helped me bake. We made a triple-batch of Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies. The most chewy, delicious chocolate cookie recipe I have ever found is on Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog. The girls and I are going to get one more big batch made before Christmas because those that we made are gone!
This past Sunday 43 kids bowled at our county-wide 4-H Christmas party. Our small town has a recently remodeled bowling alley. It’s a big deal to have a winter fun indoor activity in our rural and remote area. This event made me proud to be a new 4-H leader, proud of our kids and families and proud of our community and county.
When we moved to rural North Dakota seven and a half years ago, McIntosh County was the most elderly county per capita in the nation. Many people shared with us that there wasn’t much of a future here. But times have changed. We are far from oil development in North Dakota yet we are growing. There’s a next generation here and programs like 4-H are training them in life skills and leadership.
Elizabeth also debuted her new twirling costume with her team this past week at half-time of a local girls basketball game. There are not a lot of activities for young kids in our rural area. Our kids try everything once at least and participate in most activities available. This year that includes twirling for Miss E. She wore fancy new pink and purple hair chalk she got as a birthday gift in her hair. The older she gets the more she is like my mom, which would include her twirling skills, not the pink and purple hair.
Last night was our last Christmas concert before Christmas Eve, when the kids will have a program in church. It was held at our elementary school. Elizabeth’s friend since birth, Emerson and she stood by each other for a picture. These two blue-eyed friends are so sincere and sweet.
And in case anyone in our small town gymnasium was missing out on feeling Christmas joy, the kids filled them with it last night.
Below are a few kindergarten boys. On the far left is Cam who was a Sunday School student of Nathan and mine for the past three years and the middle boy is Reese whose daddy works with Nathan daily and he has attended the same home daycare as our girls. The boy on the right is another friend’s son. Their Christmas joy was and is contagious. No matter how much or little you have yet to do before Christmas arrives in less than a week, I hope you take the time to pause, find some peaceful moments or days and celebrate this joyous time of year. Away from the hustle and bustle, there is so much joy to be shared. Much love to you from the North Dakota prairie! You can find me on Facebook and Instagram where I am sharing daily updates of our winter and Christmas adventures.