Thanks to some wonderful friends of ours, we were blessed to be able to spend Christmas this year in the mountains of North Carolina. It snowed nine inches on Christmas Day. What a great way to spend Christmas - we played in the snow for hours! We just got back home a couple hours ago, and I wanted to get this photo of Kali posted. If you are looking for a great place to spend some time in the Blue Ridge Mountains, check out the Laurelwood Mountain Inn at their website here. There will be many more photos to come in the next few days! Continue to enjoy your holidays :).
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel. Luke 2:6-7
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-12
Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, "Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I'll join you at once in your worship." Matthew 2:7-8
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:9-12.
Merry Christmas to you and your family this wonderful, holiday season! May you hold Christ dear and near in your heart. May you remember all that God has blessed us with through the birth of His son - Jesus. May the God of the universe bless you in this coming new year. From The Shadow of the Cross - Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
(Photos of the life-size nativity were taken at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando while visiting the Osborne Family Lights. Scripture is from the Message and from the New International Versions of the Holy Bible.)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
When we found out we were going to be spending Christmas in the mountains with some of our speech and debate families, I knew I wanted to do something special for our host family's daughters. Kali and their two are great friends! so I wanted to make it special.
I contacted Rick over at Organized Doodles and requested name doodles. What a fun idea! I told Rick a little bit about each girl - what they were like, what their interests were, basically why all three are special individuals. And, Rick took that information and made these awesome doodles.
I couldn't wait. As soon as we got to the mountains, we broke out the packages and let the girls have them. What fun! They loved seeing their names drawn up by a professional. They looked for special elements in their own, then looked for elements that were in all three, and finally they had to be introduced to Eggy :) - my favorite part of any of Rick's doodles.
So, thanks, Rick! for making our Christmas visit special! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
(Please check out Rick's blog here.
Friday, December 17, 2010
I started out wanting blue streaks - months ago. Problem being - blue bleeds and turns your whole head of hair blue. Not good.
Brittany finally found a purple that is permanent - it won't bleed and turn all my hair purple - and that's definitely a good thing! Subtle. Not too over the top. Just wait till after the holidays and I go back to get more purple added in :). There WILL be more pictures at that time :).
Kali wanted her hair cut and styled, too. What do you think? I think she's beautiful!
And she actually let me take a couple pictures of her.
Beautiful! Now we are both ready to celebrate the holidays!
This is also my You Capture post for this week! The challenge was "outdoors" - as you can see in Kali's pictures, we are living in the south and the weather is gorgeous! Head on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry and check out all the photos!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
A couple weeks ago, Kali and I went to Islands of Adventure where we spent a bit of time in Seuss Landing. When both our children were little, we spent many nights reading the numerous books of Dr. Seuss. Kali was even born on Theodore Geisel's birthday! In elementary grades, we even did a unit study on Dr. Seuss. Needless to say - Kali and I loved our time in Seuss Landing!
Christmas decorations were everywhere - in typical Seussical/nonsensical fashion - what fun!
The top of the Caro-Seuss-el, where Horton the elephant sits perched.
The Cat in the Hat was probably Dr. Seuss' most popular book. In 1954, Life Magazine ran a story about illiteracy in the public school system, declaring students couldn't read because the books were boring. Dr. Seuss' publicist made a list of 400 important words and asked Seuss to write a book using just 250 of those words. This culminated in six months worth of work, during which Seuss used 220 of the words and wrote The Cat in the Hat. A bet ensued and Seuss followed up with Green Eggs and Ham, which contains a mere 50 different words.
Next, we entered the Street of the Lifted Lorax - a place near and dear to our hearts! This past year, Kali and her duo partner competed with their interpretation of Seuss' The Lorax! They qualified to regional competition with this piece, as well as performed it on many local platforms.
Part of what they are judged on includes synchronization, how they work in tandem. To make the character of the Lorax - they doubled up - Kali was the head, her partner was the body of the Lorax. They spoke all the lines in unison - it was awesome!
The Onceler's House.
Kali's partner was the Onceler. Here 'he' sits and looks out of his lerkim, and sometimes ... he speaks. And she would clear her throat. In the Onceler's house above, you can see the lerkim. It is the pink window, at the top, on the left. You can see the hole the Onceler looked out of.
In case you aren't familiar with the storyline, it is environment-based, teaching us to protect and preserve what we have. And the truffula trees? They are what everyone, everyone, everyone needs.
Kali in front of the Onceler's House, surrounded by truffula trees - haha! It really is - you just can't see them in this shot. This would be before they got greedy and chopped down all the truffula trees.
Kali listening to the whisper-ma-phone.
In the story, the whisper-ma-phone drops down and the Onceler tells how the Lorax was lifted, and taken away.
Kali re-enacted part of the duo - the humming-fish who hummed while splashing around in the rippulous pond.
The same thing from their duo.
Here's a shot of them at the Florida Qualifier - the first time they presented The Lorax in competition - waiting to see if they broke. This would mean they had qualified for regionals.
And --- they did! I had stuffed Loraxes stashed under a table. I knew they would qualify. They worked so hard! And the Loraxes were the perfect way to congratulate them!
And there was even more Dr. Seuss stuff - like this cool shop! And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street was Seuss' first book. In came out in 1937, as a poem.
So many cool things to see. Great Seuss shapes! Great Seuss characters! Great Seuss colors!
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Do I even need to tell you? :) This was such an incredible amount of fun! Dr. Seuss is the best. You should definitely check out Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure if you get the opportunity! McElligot's Pool, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think, Green Eggs and Ham, The Sneetches, Horton Hears a Who, If I Ran the Zoo, Hop on Pop, it's all there for you to see and experience!
Monday, December 13, 2010
This week's challenge at i heart faces is pets. This is a picture I took of Gus and turned into an email Christmas card. I love the textured look. And Gus is always up for getting his picture taken - he's such a ham! To check out all the other pet shots, head on over to i ♥ faces here.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Last week, Kali and I headed to Orlando where we spent the afternoon in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I had been waiting for a long time to visit the park. This was our first glimpse - the Hogwart's Express at platform nine and three quarters.
This was an interesting sign in the station. Check out the last two lines.
From there you step straight into Hogsmeade. To the left you see Zonko's Joke Shop and Honeydukes. There is also a butterbeer cart straight ahead. They were actually selling pumpkin juice on this particular day.
The shops were most interesting. This one was Dervish and Banges, a shop that services and repairs magical equipment. In this case, they also carried quidditch supplies and uniforms.
We found this lady from Flourish and Blotts walking around with the Monster Book of Monsters. It really snapped at our hands!
This was outside Dervish and Banges. I am wondering if the keeper's vest in the window is the actual one Rupert Grint wore as Ron in the 5th movie (I think it was the 5th) when he was Gryffindor's keeper.
Kali is checking out the Owl Post. It wasn't an open store for us to look in, but the windows were filled with all kinds of interesting things to look at!
Including a howler!
The rest of the street.
Then we came to the crossroads. Hogsmeade behind us and the Hogwarts Castle in front of us. That tiny triple tower you see in the middle, attached to the largest spire, is the Divination Tower where Professor Trelawney taught her classes.
Hagrid's house is tucked in behind The Flight of the Hippogriff ride. The employees were kind enough to let me walk back there and take pictures. Mostly you only see this from the ride, but I don't do rides well, so they let me wander on back there.
A side view with one of Hagrid's huge pumpkins.
Out in front of Hagrid's house is this huge nest with Buckbeak seated in it. He is animated and moves. You can also hear Fang barking from inside the house.
The Flight of the Hippogriff was Kali's favorite thing there.
First good glimpse of the castle.
The entrance to Hogwarts.
These huge winged hogs were on either side of the entrance. I don't remember them from the books, or the movies, but I'm sure they must be there. I just don't have any idea what they are called. (Brings to mind the saying: when pigs fly - haha!)
Could we interest you in a tour of the castle? There is a simulator inside, and those just make me sick. So, we did the castle tour instead.
Professor Dumbledore's office. All the photos of past headmasters would be along the stairs to the left and right of this photo. Climbing the stairs to get to this location gave us a view of many of the moving portraits, including ones of Godrick Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin - who were all having a heated discussion.
The pensieve where Dumbledore and Harry so many times reviewed collected memories.
Back on the street, we found a pumpkin juice cart with assorted enchanted drinks.
I wish I had gotten one of these.
Potage's Cauldron Shop.
The Hog's Head Pub - Professor Dumbledore's brother Aberforth is the proprietor. This is where Professor Trelawney revealed the prophecy to Professor Dumbledore; where Hagrid wins Norbert in a gambling match; where Dumbledore's Army had its first meeting; and behind this door over the bar is where the students were evacuated in book 7, and where the Order of the Phoenix and other fighters gained access to the castle. Technically it should have a portrait of Adriana on it, but it doesn't.
Welcome to Zonko's Joke Shop. See if you recognize any of the toys in the window.
The Honeydukes' staff. Doesn't the fellow on the left look like a Weasley?
The pink, fluffy cotton candy is called Candyfloss. Hermione sent some to her parents - the dentists :). The boxes hold Salt Water Taffy.
Chocolate Cauldrons are located top right. Treacle Tarts are to the far left, next to Hagrid's Rock Cakes.
Front left you have Crystallized Pineapple - Slughorn's favorite.
Top row - Exploding Bon Bons; middle row - Professor Dumbledore's Lemon Drops; and bottom right - Peppermint Straws. I bought the peppermint straws and they were delicious!
Kali's favorite - Chocolate Frogs! And they came with a card inside - just like in the book :).
Awesome Honeydukes' ladies :).
Remember when Harry used the marauder's map and his invisibility cloak to sneak into Hogsmeade? He used the tunnels and entered through the basement of Honeydukes. This is the staircase he climbed to enter the store.
Cool, cool shop! I spent $68.00 on candy so I could bring home stuff for everybody - haha! And it's all been delivered and handed out already.
I think this sign was outside the Three Broomsticks. Sirius Black really moved and looked around - just like in the movie.
We kept hearing crying noises as we walked through Hogsmeade. We finally came across Slugg and Jiggers Apothecary, which carried potions and potions ingredients. This baby mandrake was being pulled from its pot - and you could hear it crying throughout the park.
Employees from the Owl Post. What a cool and fun job they have!
The Frog Choir. They walked through the park, carrying their frogs. Pretty nifty!
A wand cart on the street. Anyone could try out the wands and purchase whichever wand chose you. Here are some I found interesting:
Harry Potter's wand.
Ron Weasley's wand.
Hermione Granger's wand.
Located in one of the stores, this is Bellatrix Lestrange's death eaters' mask.
Just a couple last shots of the town.
And the castle.
I think the designers and builders did an incredible job reproducing the wizarding world of Harry and his friends. I had a great visit there, just wandering around shooting loads of pictures. I can't wait to go back. I just have to save up some more money for Honeydukes - hahaha!