Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Friday, December 29, 2017

One Last Project...

We hung curtains in the kitchen at the sliding door!  My grandmother would be so happy right now!  She always thought it was 'creepy' (my word) to not have a curtain here.

But when you have six kids, two dogs, and various cats in the house it just seemed as if that was an area that curtains would get really dirty.  So for 16 years there have been no curtains here.  We now have 3 nearly grown kids and one cat, so the chances for a real mess are way less.  I took a chance and hung curtains. (Meaning Tim did all the work of hanging the rod, and I slid curtains on the rod)

These are not perfectly styled photos (the curtains need to lose their wrinkles still) and its an awkward place to photograph with the trash can to the right and my aloe plant wintering in the house to the left.  I did want to post to document one more project for the year.

I also want to wish Emma and Vinnie a Happy Anniversary!  Two years already!

Two happy, fun years!

A Peek At The Rearranging

We don't usually have the tv in the living room, since we only use it for movies.  It's usually in our bedroom sitting area.  Because our friend will be recouperating and staying in the master bedroom suite, we moved the tv to the living room, so we can feel free to watch a movie anytime.

Of course moving the tv has lead to rearranging the sitting area of the master.  The tv and cabinet are usually along the wall where the couch is.  

 I'm trying to decide if I hang something on the wall, or leave it blank since this is only a temporary move.  Of course, seasons of life change, and you never know, we may leave the tv in the living room.  

This will be my last post for the year, as I'm leaving on my anniversary trip tomorrow!

I've been blogging for 10 years, and am so thankful for the friendships and sisterhood that are a huge part of Creekside Cottage!

Happy New Year, friends, and may you know God's goodness in the coming year.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

I'm Doing My Post Christmas Re-Arranging Early

I love to hold on to Christmas until after New Years, but this year that's not happening.  Well, I should clarify that not all the Christmas is going away, just the tree.  We undressed it and it is now providing a lovely habitat for birds and other creatures in our pasture. We have several things happening that I need to prepare for and that necessitated my taking our Christmas tree down.  I was so sad to see it go.

The things I needed to prepare for are my anniversary trip to Florida and our friends' knee replacement surgery in early January.

Tim and I fly this weekend to spend a week away to celebrate 30 years.  We'll get to see his mom and other family, and we'll be staying with our dear friends in their home.  We have some fun things planned and some days unplanned and we're okay with that.  

We have someone staying here with the kids while we're gone, and they're already planning the fun they'll have New Year's Eve and other days.

A few days after our return, our friend Denny is having his left knee replaced.  He is single and lives in a second floor apartment that is only accessible by a steep staircase.  With winter weather and these stairs there is no way for him to recover at his apartment.  So we offered to let him stay with us. 

We are giving him the master suite, so that he'll have complete privacy when he wants it.  Tim and I will be sleeping downstairs during this time, and it'll be cozy with the comfy bed and woodstove. 

With the surgery happening so close to our trip, I needed to prepare the house this week.  That meant moving the TV (for movie watching) out of our room and into the living room.  That meant we needed to move the furniture around and that meant the Christmas tree needed to go. (sniff)

If you are still with me, you are amazing!  

We got the furniture all rearranged, and when we get back we'll move our clothing downstairs.  I'm liking the way the furniture is arranged. It'll work well, I think, for 6 weeks or so while our friend is recovering.

The lights, garlands and small trees in the house are still up.  I often keep them up through January, since they are not decorate other than with lights.  I love having extra lights for ambiance during the cold, dark winter months.

Once everything is tidy from the rearranging, and I put the vacuum away, I'll take some photos and show you how its all looking.

Oh, I just realized I need to pack, too!  I'm leaving in two days!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry On!

I’m borrowing this phrase from Vee - it suits my thinking!

We had a very good day yesterday.  Lots of cheer with the kids, the grandgirlies, and my parents all here.  Our friend Denny was with us, too!

This week there’ll be movies, and other fun.

Next week Tim and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  Not sure how that happened because in my mind I’m only 30 years old!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Adam

It raining here today, but hopefully it is going to stop this afternoon.  The kids are planning an airsoft battle amongst themselves!

We're excited that the forecast for Christmas Eve into Christmas Day is saying a light snow!

Isla has arrived in town, bring her parents along with her!  She has been having fun playing with Uncle Kyle, hanging with Auntie Sarah, feeding the horses with Grandpa, and giving the chickens some oats.

Tomorrow, the whole family and some friends are going to lunch to celebrate Tim's birthday.  We're very pleased that his brother Dan and family will be with us for that!  Then we have an early Christmas Eve service at church, then home for birthday gifts and later, stockings.

I hope you are all enjoying the season.  I know for some this year is challenging due to loss, or illness.  I know that for some there is deep pain due to broken relationships with loved ones.  I'm praying for comfort for you all, for Joy in the Lord which is not dependent on circumstances.

 I've been enjoying a blog for the last few years called Golden Hours.  I'm linking to a post that it is a must read. (here)

"If you’re hurting this Christmas, know you are beloved of a God whose special concern is the brokenhearted.
If you’re rejoicing, don’t let fear have your joy, even for a moment."

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Fun Winter Centerpiece

I use my trough as a centerpiece all through out the year, just changing up what is in it.  For most of the month of December its been full of fresh greens, dried orange slices and candles.  

The greens had seen better days so I decided to change out the whole thing, and I knew just what I wanted to try.

I follow Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage on Instagram.  She does great stories and is sweet and funny.  This past week she showed her home decorated for Christmas and the centerpiece on the dining table caught my eye.  You can see it in this post from her blog.

She used foam balls covered in bits of rolled yarn (to look like balls of yarn) in a wooden crate with candles.  She also added greens in with it.

I have lots of yarn ball remnants from my many projects and I knew that I could come up with something that looked good.

I'm liking the way it looks and I plan to use it all through winter.

Today Sarah, Kyle, and I went to help our friends get their kitchen organized and place furniture.  We had a good time, and I think they are settled enough to focus on Christmas, then do the rest after the holidays.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Making Spirits Bright

The cheerfulness of the lights and greenery we use at Christmas time, really helps make the season special.

 A bit of cheer in the master bedroom

Here is another view.  I make this plaid scotty garland last year!

I delight in making 'spirits bright' at Christmas.  I have had such an enjoyable time, ordering gifts, popping into shops, looking for things that have meaning for the people I love.

I sent a package or two, lots of family photo Christmas cards, I've baked dozens of cappuccino muffins, and brownies to give as gifts.

I know there are people who do not enjoy the holiday if they don't have children or grandchildren, but I think that we can create a lot of joy of the season for others if we will reach out and find someone who needs cheer.

Our world is in need of hope, and we know the ultimate source of hope - God's gift to the world - Jesus.  Let's try to remember year round that people need to know about the hope that is within us.

I want my light to shine, not just at Christmas time, but all year.  I want to put action behind my words, and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

You can go here  to see a short film called The Shepherd. is producing a multi-season series based on the life of Christ called The Chosen.  This episode shows the despair of one life - one who longed to know God, and how he was rejected because of his position in life.  It shows how that was all changed due to the birth of Christ.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

My Faux Mantel

I don't have a fireplace.

In my dreams I have a scaled down version of the fireplaces at Cracker Barrel!  I love the hearth the big open firebox and all the stone!  Dreamy!

But back to reality.  I wanted a place to use a garland with lights and add a bit more sparkle to the living room, so I decided I'd use the top shelf of my bookcase.

Sometimes, you just have to think outside the box.

I like it a lot.

Emma, Vinnie, and Isla are driving to Pennsylvania today.  I'd appreciate prayer for their safety while traveling.  They'll be here for a week, then go to Vinnie's family for New Years.

I have a few gift cards to pick up still but otherwise I'm done with shopping and wrapping.  I enjoy it so much!  I love giving gifts to family and friends! 

 Now I can focus on the food for Christmas day.  We don't do a formal meal, I cook a head and we set up the food buffet style so everyone can eat when they want to.  We have ham, veggies, desserts.  Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, egg nog, sodas.  

Tim's brother and sister in law, and his niece are home from West Africa and we will probably see them on Christmas Eve.  We'll all be going out to celebrate Tim's birthday!

How are you doing on your Christmas preparations?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

One More Week

Are you getting excited?  I am!  I've been enjoying my preparations for our Christmas celebration.  I have just a few things to pick up, then Friday when I get my groceries, I'll also pick up some special treats and food items that we will enjoy on Christmas day.

I've been wrapping gifts, and ordering things.  I've been knitting, and listening to music, and baking.

I love this time of year.

This year is also special because all our kids and grands will be here on Christmas Day, and they'll be here to celebrate Tim's birthday the day before!  My parents will be here too, and it will be fun to watch the little girls toddle around the house, talk and laugh with the older kids and enjoy each other.

Tim spent this weekend helping our friends get their plumbing and other things hooked up in their new modular home.  These dear ones have been living in camping trailers on their property.  They thought they were just going to tear walls down inside the old house on the property to make the home more open and updated.  Well, they ended up with foundation issues, so they decided to tear it completely down and order a modular home.

The weather this last week, was very cold, and the hoses to their camping trailers (for running water) froze.  Its been tough going this past week and they have had to put their gym membership to good use, and shower at the gym!

The house was delivered this last week, and now the company is finishing up work on the inside, an electrician has been there and they are working on getting the bathrooms and kitchen all hooked up to the well and septic system.

Furniture comes on Thursday and hopefully they'll be able to start living in it by the weekend!  Will you pray for that with us!  Its been a long haul for them.  One of their girls has come to stay with us for a few days, Tim will keep helping out as he is able, I'm going up on Thursday to help place furniture and get things moved in.

I'm hoping the have their first Christmas in the house this year!

Emma, Vinnie, and Isla arrive this week, we are going out for a company dinner on Wednesday, more baking will take place, and we'll be celebrating Tim's birthday this coming Sunday!

The following week is going to be special too, and I'll tell you all about that in a few days!

How are your Christmas plans going?

Saturday, December 16, 2017


I have several Nativity sets.

My first one was a gift on my 21st birthday.  My family and friends went in together and bought me a Precious Moments nativity.  I still have it, though I don't often bring it out as I have limited space.

My next one was a bit more grown up.  Fancier and gilded, with wisemen, a camel, an oxen, sheep.  I used to put it up over the cupboard in my kitchen because I didn't want it to break.

You've seen my sweet handmade gift from Kayleigh (my daughter in law) and my Fisher Price one.  Both are hands on for my grands.

I have one more that my sweet friend Amy gave me.  It is a Willow Tree one. 

I'm loving this one as I feel like it is simple and humble.  Like Mary and Joseph and the shepherds. 

The simple people who trusted God's message to them, though it involved risk.  Jesus born in a stable, among animals, and filth.  Laid in a feed trough, wrapped in cloths.

Shepherds were lowly in social status.  They lived their lives among the animals they cared for and made a living from.  They were outdoors much of the time.

Can you imagine their wonder?  An angel, then a heaven host. "Glory to God in the Highest!"  

I love this nativity and the creche that Tim made for me. 

The little lights give little light at night, illuminating this simple, humble scene in our kitchen/living room space.  

This is certainly not how we would have chosen to send the saviour of the world, but God's ways are not our ways.  Jesus knew what it was like to be poor, from a obscure town, a hardworking man, from a humble family.

This saviour knows our need, only He could save.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Stockings Were Hung

For many years now, we've been hanging our stockings on this old ladder.  We don't have a hearth or a banister in our cottage so this is how we handle our stockings.

On Christmas Eve, we all gather here and open our stockings.  Everything from socks, to gum, to earbuds, to new toothbrushes.  You never know what you'll find in your stocking.  Most of the grown ups buy stuff to put into the stockings.  

Do you do stocking gifts in your family traditions?  What kinds of things do you put into your stockings?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Enjoying The Christmas Season

How could I not enjoy it with this view?  I get to see this every day and I'm loving it!

I find that in order for me to enjoy this season, I need to have little expectation for what it 'should' look like.  

This is a good thing, as I think too many people, at the holidays, have big expectations.  It should be Hallmark like, the family should all get together, siblings should get along, there should be peace on earth...

The realities are often very different and that can be hard to reconcile with our expectations.  If we can learn to hold these expectations loosely, and trust God with them, we can have a good Christmas, even a wonderful one.

Sometimes it's other peoples expectations that we are dealing with. Perhaps we have family that don't share our values, or who think we're the odd relatives.  Maybe you have an aunt that is critical of you but always expects to see you and your family at the holidays.  

The best advice I can give is to pray about it, and ask what you should do.  The right thing might be to drop in to visit your aunt, take her a little gift, let her see you all and then leave.  You can control how much time you spend with her that way.

I have a sweet friend with four young kids.  She said that every year they spent the all day on Christmas going from relatives home to relatives home and it was exhausting for her and her kids.  Two years ago they decided that they were going to stay home, in the jammies, all day!  But they knew that it was important to some of the family to see them, so they let it be known that everyone was welcome to drop in during the afternoon, as long as they realized that her family would all be in the PJs!  Isn't that a brilliant way to handle it?

Often times people don't spend time building relationship within their families, but when the holidays come, they expect everything to be perfect.  This just isn't reality.  Relationships take work to ensure peace and harmony.  If people aren't willing to invest the time to build relationships, the actual time together might be less than wonderful.

For us our kids are getting older, three are married with their own families, and so Christmas days are looking different, and rightly so, than they did even just five years ago.  It would be wrong of me to insist that everyone come here on Christmas!  We give them all freedom to do what they want to do.  

We have older friends whose kids are all grown with kids of their own and some years when their kids have been with the inlaws, our friends have gone on cruises!

Enjoy the Christmas season, embrace its beauty and its gifts, but also choose what works for you this year.  It might be different than in years past and that's okay.  It really is.

Leaf Fun and Family Photos

These photos were taken on Thanksgiving Day.  Tons of leaves in the yard!  They are now all raked up, but the girls had a lot of fun when we went out to take family photos.

Here is the photo we used for our card this year.  

Two weeks until Christmas!  I'm not nearly ready, but I'm not stressed.  I'm enjoying the season, doing some shopping, doing some baking, watching Christmas classics and Hallmark movies.  Enjoying time with these sweet people who share my life.  I'm grateful.


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...