Tag Archives: family

The spirit of Christmas glides home on a Flexible Flyer

flex flyerTwo young boys, huffing and puffing, drag a Flexible Flyer up worn wooden steps, banging and scraping. The boys are dressed like dark woolen snowmen from their watch-capped heads to their rubber snow boots.

Mother stands over Little Sister, dressing her for the occasion – knitted cap tied under chin with a scarf, multi-layered clothing, and hand-me-down boots.

The three siblings slurged through heavy snow in the driveway, passed the mint and white Chrysler with its push-button start, into the snow drifts. These children are on a mission!

They trudged a couple hundred yards – past the monkey ball trees – until they set foot on the school grounds, then round the back to the dumpsters.

The Christmas tree adorned the large lobby of Lora Little Elementary School. After final classes marking winter break, the tree was dragged from the lobby and tossed unceremoniously out the loading dock doors. The tree is forlorn now, marked by several bent and broken branches and bent and wrinkled tinsel.flex close up

True to the elementary school tradition, this tree is twelve feet tall and wide as a 1950s Buick. The Flexi Flyer is a scant few feet long, but none of the logistics mattered. If they did not rescue the tree, they would have no tree.

The three siblings dragged the tree past the sledding hill where one brother would break his leg, past the weed-choked fence where the other brother would contract poison oak, past the school’s towering metal and chain swing set where sister would jump, fly!, and dislocate her elbow.

Out of the schoolyard and down the home street, sliding down the driveway, around the house and into the back yard.

Much like Paul Bunyan, Older Brother dispatched his Boy Scout ax from its leather pouch and commenced to chop the tree to a manageable height so it would fit into the rec room.

They set the tree in a teeny, dented tree stand.  They re-arranged the leftover tinsel then added their own stored decorations. Delicate, paint-flaked ornaments with misshapen hooks, delicately and laboriously placed upon bent and broken branches, until the tree brought the spirit of Christmas into the home.

early christmas - Copy

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The spirit of Christmas glides home on a Flexible Flyer

early christmasTwo young boys, huffing and puffing, drag a Flexible Flyer up worn wooden steps, banging and scraping. The boys are dressed like dark woolen snowmen from their watch-capped heads to their rubber snow boots.

Mother stands over Little Sister, dressing her for the occasion – knitted cap tied under chin with a scarf, multi-layered clothing, and hand-me-down boots.

The three siblings slurged through heavy snow in the driveway, passed the mint and white Chrysler with its push button start, into the snow drifts.

They trudged a few hundred yards – past the monkey ball trees – until they set foot on the school grounds, then round the back to the dumpsters.

The Christmas tree had adorned the large lobby of Lora Little Elementary School. After final classes marking winter break, the tree was dragged from the lobby and tossed unceremoniously out the loading dock doors. The tree is forlorn now, marked by several bent and broken branches and bent and wrinkled tinsel.

True to the elementary school tradition, this tree is twelve feet tall and wide as a 1950s Buick. The Flexi Flyer is a scant few feet long, but none of the logistics mattered. If they did not rescue the tree, they would have no tree.

The three siblings dragged the tree past the sledding hill where one brother would break his leg, past the weed-choked fence where the other brother would contract poison oak, past the school’s towering metal and chain swing set where sister would jump, fly!, and dislocate her elbow.

Out of the schoolyard and down the home street, sliding down the driveway, around the house and into the back yard.

Much like Paul Bunyan, Older Brother dispatched his Boy Scout ax from its leather pouch and commenced to chop the tree to a manageable height so it would fit into the rec room.

They set the tree in a teeny, dented tree stand.  They re-arranged the leftover tinsel then added their own stored decorations. Delicate, paint-flaked ornaments with misshapen hooks, delicately and laboriously placed upon bent and broken branches, until the tree brought the spirit of Christmas into the home.

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Filed under Prose & Poetry, Special Events

Holidays and kids are picture perfect

Stacy Van Dyck 1Stacy VanDyck is an Air Force wife, mom, and photographer (husband Geoffrey was featured yesterday) and works out of her home at the Minot Air Force Base.

Stacy Van Dyck 2

Stacy VanDyck Photography is a member of the Pictures of Hope Foundation. The Pictures of Hope Foundation is a charitable organization of professional photographers who provide complimentary photography sessions to babies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who are not quite ready to come home.

Stacy Van Dyck 3

Connect with Stacy at her website or on Facebook.

Stacy Van Dyck 4

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A Thanksgiving Tradition – Family, By Jessica Messinger

My brother and sister-in-law live minutes from the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory, Ben and Jerry’s factory, The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, and The Cabot Cheese Factory.

In our home, the anticipation of Thanksgiving can be felt as early as July 5th, when our children begin to ask, “Are we going to Vermont this year?” I should mention here that part of the fun visiting my brother is his house is too small for our family of six (and with my parents, we’re a family of eight).

My brother uses his business contacts to get us a suite at the local Windjammer Hotel. Though the novelty of staying in the hotel every year has sort of worn off, the Windjammer has a pool, a gazillion TV channels (some of them are French), a fabulous restaurant, and warm chocolate chip cookies when we come back at night – as if we could eat anything more after our Thanksgiving feast.

My brother and sister-in-law’s house is a place of magical wonder. My brother is a professional photographer, and he has his own photos lining the hallways. The living room has indoor potted ferns, a pocket door, and comfy places to sit. The kitchen is thoroughly modern, with every attention to detail focused on storage, ease of food preparation, and flexibility of working space. The pots and pans hang from the ceiling on a hooked rack. The vintage breadbox from our grandparents’ house gives it the final panache.

I think last year was the first year I had ever been through the front door. Part of the magic of the house is that we usually park in back and come in through the door to the kitchen. Though their house is not large like some houses in our family (in fact, it is pretty much a two-floor apartment), the first thing you notice when you come in the back door at Thanksgiving is the smell of delicious food cooking.

I don’t think our feet touch the kitchen floor as we float through, wafted along by the odors of baking ham, turkey, and roast beef. The feast meats are juicy and herbed to perfection. I don’t know what my sister-in-law’s secrets are, but she creates amazing culinary masterpieces. Of course our Thanksgiving dinner also has a green salad, potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and rolls.

My brother has a man cave downstairs with a big television, lots of movies, and a computer with a large screen, so there are places for everyone to go depending on their preferences. Some converse in the living room, others watch football or movies in the man cave and others “help out” in the kitchen and keep the cook company.

Son Calvin

We will miss our yearly trip to my brother and sister-in-law’s house this year. They are coming here to New York to spend Thanksgiving with us. It will be different because we’re not in Vermont, our son is currently serving a church mission in Canada, and my sisters can’t make it with their families. But family time is precious no matter where, or how, you spend it.

***

P.S. Here’s my favorite recipe for Cranberry Sauce:

Chunky Apple & Cranberry Sauce

(Dec. 2000, Good Housekeeping)

Prep:  15 minutes plus chilling

Cook:  about 20 minutes

Makes: about 5 cups

2 Tbsp. margarine or butter

2 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 4 large), peeled, cored, and cut into

1/2-inch dice

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom or allspice

1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries (3 cups)

3/4 cup sugar

1-1/4 cup water

1.  In nonstick 12-inch skillet (I used a large saucepan), melt margarine over medium heat.  Add apples and cardamom, and cook 10 minutes or until apples are tender-crisp, stirring occasionally.

2.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Stir in cranberries, sugar, and 1-1/4 cups water; heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, about 6 to 8 minutes or until most cranberries pop and mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.  Spoon sauce into serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.

*Each 1/4 cup: About 70 calories, 0 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat (0 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium.

***

Jessica Messinger has a BA in English with a minor in French from Brigham Young University. She lives with her husband Todd and their four children in upstate New York. They live in a teeny house with a yellow lab, Bailey, and a black cat, Midnight. Stinky Feet is Jessica’s first children’s book. She has a lot of ideas for more children’s books and hopes to have enough time to write them all.

Check out Jessica’s children’s book Stinky Feet via CreateSpace, on Facebook, or on her blog. You can buy Stinky Feet on Amazon here.

***

Calvin’s photo by Shirin Cannon

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