Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Carol Countdown 2014: 5 Days to Go

Today is a happy, joyous, exciting, amazing, fantastic, _______ (supply your own adjective) day!

Guess why.

Hint:  I am a school teacher.

Yes! Happy dance yes! Today is the first day of Winter Break, or as it was known in my day: Christmas Vacation.

Yesterday was a grueling day and in itself enough to make me cherish the vacation to come!

Many carols have been written about the longing for Christ to come to earth. Today's carol is one of those:  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. It is sung by the BYU  Vocal Point, an acapella men’s group. 

Here's another treat! Monty the Penguin, a Christmas TV advertisement from John Lewis, a department store in London.

Merry Christmas. May the true spirit of Christmas be with you this year. God bless.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Carol Countdown 2014: 6 Days to Go!

Every year, I count on my calendar, I count on my fingers and then I do it three times more! How can I not figure out how many days to Christmas? A little adjustment needed to be made. Today it is 6 days until Christmas.

This morning in my email, Nancy Drew sent me a link to her “new favorite Christmas song.” Isn’t that how favorites work?

What was your favorite color when you were young? What is it now?

And especially fun: What was your favorite piece of clothing when you were young?! What is it now?

My Christmas carol favorites change from year to year. This year, I’m with Nancy Drew, this is my new favorite: "Hallelujah Christmas."

For those of you familiar with the original song, or heard it in the first Shrek movie, this is a re-write of the words.

A couple of days back, a blogger friend asked me if I would include her favorite: Mary, Did You Know? It’s another of my Christmas favorites too. 

The first time I heard "Mary, Did You Know?" it was sung by Kathy Mattea. In the following video, Kathy says that "Mary, Did You Know?" is her favorite.

So, Libby, here is your favorite Christmas Carol!

I also found a new version done by Pentatonix, a vocal acapella group. Last year I had their carol, "Little Drummer Boy", on my countdown. I hope you enjoy this one also.

Merry Christmas to all who read and visit my blog. I hope you have all your shopping done; I know I haven’t! Argghh!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Carol Countdown 2014: 10 Days to Go!

Firstest, my first grandson, introduced me to the zany, loopy world of Veggie Tales. It started as a series on TV and has expanded to DVD’s of episodes.

Each episode would teach and help kids to understand moral themes. The stories are told and acted out by animated vegetables. The hosts are Bob the Tomato and his less-than-serious sidekick Larry the Cucumber.

Here is Firstest at 1-and-a-half with his Mommy, Noel Heart.
I don't know who that man in the red suit is though.

Some of their stories are: The Wise and Foolish Builders, An Easter Carol, The Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s, and two different episodes of Minnesota Cuke, that are parodies of Indiana Jones, but the themes are still about knowing how to choose the right. There are several Christmas-themed episodes also.

Soon I was totally enthralled with Veggie Tales. In each episode there would also be Silly Songs with Larry. My daughters and I learned many of the songs and loved to belt them out.

The “Christmas Carol” for tonight is from Silly Songs: Oh Santa. It features, of course, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber along with a green onion robber, a Viking pea and a squash?, you decide.

Don’t miss the Viking’s reference to quilts!

Don't forget to come back every day for more Christmas carols and a countdown to Christmas! You can always click on the badge in the upper right sidebar.

And if you still are seeking more Silly Larry songs, try these:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Carol Countdown 2014: 11 Days to Go!

Our Family in 1987
Left to Right: Noel Heart, Quilting Nonnie, TGS with
bunny, Sam, Nancy Drew & Bambi the dog in front

We had a great time in our young family during the 12 Days of Christmas. Each year we would choose a family to “host” for the 12 days. Most times we’d choose a family that had some type of need: a young single mother with 2 children, a Mom with 2 teenagers that had very little money…

For the 12 Days, we would put together our “offering,” pile into our car and drive to the neighborhood of the family. I would choose a good place to park where we couldn’t be seen from their front door. The kids were always the ones who went and “doorbell ditched” our offering. They would race back to the car, jump in the car as I pulled away.

Each year it varied what we decided to do for each day, but there were a few that showed up each year. We loved the Jello Slurp & Pop the Balloon games we played at home.

One time we made 12-day candles to burn a little every day. Was that ever fun! We had to figure out how to make them: a ruler with pins taped to it that was used to mark the days for us. How to mark the candle. It was a challenge, but we got it done. And we never did it again!

Another year as an outside activity, my daughters talked to the moms of little children in our ward (a church congregation). They offered to answer letters to Santa from any child whose parent brought it to them. The girls had such fun writing back personalized letters from “Santa!”

Our last year of doing 12 Days we decided to choose a totally different type of family. We chose this family because the mom was the Young Women’s (a program for girls from 12-18) adviser to each of our daughters. The interesting part was that this family had two pre-teens and two teenage sons. With our enthusiasm bubbling, we started ditching our packages on their doorstep. To our chagrin, those tricky teenage boys set up a video camera in a room that pointed to the porch. They caught our kids “red-handed!” It was the only year we got caught.

Today’s Christmas Carol is a song for children: The Cat and the Mouse Carol. It is sung by David Archuleta with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I hadn’t heard this carol before, but it is sweet.

Merry Christmas…only 11 days to go. It’s time to make your list and check it twice.

Remember to stop by every day and enjoy the Christmas Carol Countdown 2014. You can always click on the button on the upper right sidebar.

A Christmas Design Wall

It was June of this year. Hot. Bright sun. Long days.

My quilty friend, JP, and I decided to make Christmas tree skirts. JP and I get together every Monday to quilt and in June decided to do a mutual project.

I was happy to get such an early start on these two skirts. I knew that they would be done well before Christmas. (Can you tell something is coming?)

Last year I had made a Christmas tree skirt for Noel Heart. You can read the story here and see the gorgeous quilt. I finished it right before Christmas, but it took real hustle to do it.

This year, I said with satisfaction, I’ll finish way before the Thanksgiving holiday. In our house, at Thanksgiving, I give each of my kids a Christmas decoration for the house. It’s a tradition I’m carrying forth from my Mom.

Fast forward to after Thanksgiving. Say, this past week. I finally finished the skirt for Nancy Drew. Phew! But, at least it’s done!

The photos are a little light or dark, depending on which one you look at. It was night. I was using my "good" camera. It tends to make pictures that are not the correct brightness (or darkness)!

This is the back, but both sides can be used for under the tree.

I'm hooking up with the parties on the right column! You won't be sorry if you go and visit each of them. There are a lot of creative quilters out  there!

Don't miss my Christmas Carol Countdown 2014. It started on Monday and will continue to Christmas Eve. Lots of great carols, stories and videos. You do not want to miss it this year! Just click on the badge on the top right each day!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Carol Countdown 2014: 12 Days to Go

Good cheer to all my friends! Welcome to my third year of the Christmas Carol Countdown.

Many of you, like me, are enchanted by the music of Christmas. Whether it is Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells. Or Silent Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem. It could be silly: Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reinder or sacred: Angels from the Realms of Glory. Or maybe you like a singer and listen to his songs: Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, or Vienna Boys Choir. What would Christmas be without them?

Welcome to Christmas Carol Countdown 2014!

My first choice is the quintessential song for today: The Twelve Days of Christmas!

Each time I hear that song, I remember an experience from third grade. Our teacher, Mrs. Winn, got all of us kids involved in a big project for the school Christmas Assembly. We made paper models of each of the items in the Twelve Days of Christmas. That meant there was one person holding the Partridge in the Pear Tree, but there were 8 holding up the 8 Maids A Milking. We sat in our places, singing the song, but when your "day" was sung, you'd pop up holding your model. It was great fun all that popping up and down!

I found a couple of renditions of The Twelve Days of Christmas that keep that same silliness.

The first is by Straight No Chaser, a professional 10-man acapella group, which started out at Indiana University. Their version of The Twelve Days drove them to stardom and got a 10-album contract with a recording studio.

Shhh! To help you with YouTubiness..all those horrible pop-up ads--there is a way to get rid of them. As soon as video starts, click on the settings icon (looks like a flower or a gear) in the lower right corner. Click on it and then click no on the line that says: "Annotations." File this under General Helpfulness from Quilting Nonnie."

Be sure and tune in everday until Christmas for the Countdown!

And now, without further ado, Straight No Chaser!

The second hilarious 12 Days was done by a large group of real estate agents at a Christmas Party. It all starts out fine, until the song gets speeded up!

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