Read the December News:

Thursday, December 30 - Carolina's Creations - One of the gifts that Carolina found Christmas morning was her own sewing basket full of sewing items. Included was some felt pieces in various colors and some simple patterns for making "play" food. She did such a good job on her first creation that I wanted to put it on the "news".

Her faux doughnut even has glued on "sugar sprinkles".


Sunday, December 26 - Fun Day with Family - We enjoyed a pancake breakfast this morning (Nathan's specialty) and then some worship time together. After church Mambo had to get on the road back to Florence. The Tidwells and Granny stayed until after lunch before heading home. Then Nathan and the boys got busy cutting and stacking some more wood. We just about burned all of it this week.

Christmas Day - We awoke to find presents under the tree for all the kids. Everyone had fun looking at their new stuff and eating treats from their stockings. Around lunchtime, Sunny, Jim and Hannah joined the fun.

Cousin Hannah and Carolina riding their tricycles on the front porch.

Granny taking her dog Palin for a walk.

This motley crew went out feeding and came back with a pickup load of deer. Apparently, they had divided up and were on opposite sides of a hill (though they didn't know it). When Nathan and Jim shot at the first deer, the rest of the herd fled over the hill right into the waiting guns of Laredo, Atlanta and Cim. When the first wounded deer appeared back on the scene, Cim finished her off.

Atlanta made eggnog with fresh cows milk and fresh eggs. Yum.

Hannah got a new Rapunzel dress. Now they match!

Stockton puts together some new lego sets.

Aspen gets new irrigation boots-camo style.

Atlanta helps figure out the lego directions.

Aspen inspects her new incubator and egg turner trays.

Atlanta trys on her new work boots while Carolina checks out her stocking.

Nathan helps Carolina put on her new pink watch.

Carolina's new retro nurse Barbie and hospital bed with accessories.

Stockton was surprised with his new G.I. Joe tank.

Friday, December 24 - Christmas Eve - Time to open our family gifts to each other!

Cim gets this tactical airsoft vest from Laredo.

Atlanta gave Stockton this commando beret.

Atlanta opens a gift from Mambo.

Cim opens some CO2 cartridges for his airsoft pistol (which didn't arrive yet).

Carolina sets out snacks for Santa and Rudolph, along with a little note.

Wednesday, December 22 - Young Hunters - Nathan's brother, Steven, and his family came yesterday for a visit. This morning, his two girls, Maddie and Erin, and our kids went hunting early. They didn't see anything to shoot, but had a fun, chilly time.

Maddie, Erin, Stockton, Carolina.

Later that day and the next they tried again.

We pulled the homemade pasta out and had a fantastic supper while the Louisiana Shannons were visiting.

Homemade artisan loaf crusty and chewy with olive oil and Italian spices in which to dip.

The Louisiana Shannons: Steven, Britian, Erin and Maddie.

Stockton looks like both of his cousins, but I think he and Erin could pass as twins.

Monday, December 21 - Beignets - While at Wylie's house last weekend, Windy got a mix in a gift basket to make these little fried "doughnuts". They are a specialty of a certain New Orleans coffee house. They were crispy and sweet! Georgia helped me fry them up for breakfast.


Monday, December 20 - Mambo's Visit - Nathan's mom followed us home from Wylie's and plans to stay most of the week. The kids are so excited. She's been busy playing games and reading books and looking at their stuff.

A game of "Sorry" is in progress.

Busy Seamstress - Atlanta has three orders for adult size "Tangled" (Rapunzel) dresses. She ordered some lavender material and when it came it was definitely pink. So, she ordered some more. This has set her back a bit, so we've hardly seen her since we came home. I peeked in today and snapped this picture.

Saturday-Sunday, December 18 & 19 - Christmas at Wylie's and Lori's - This weekend we traveled to Colleyville near Ft. Worth to spend some time with Nathan's family. Everyone had an excellent time.

The weather was nice enough for the kids to ride bikes and play basketball.

Did I say kids? Nathan couldn't stand it and had to show off a bit.

Georgia (Nathan's mom), Laredo, Steven (Nathan's big brother), and Ronnie (Nathan's dad) look on. In the background you can see me with my camcorder.

Lori & Wylie (Nathan's little brother), Steven and Jacob (Nathan's littlest brother).

Carolina and cousin Maddie (Steven's oldest girl)

The little cousins shyly sing jingle bells.

Stockton and Dad

"Mambo" (Georgia) watches Sophie (Wylie's little girl) open gifts.

Carolina got so excited about her new barbie, she kissed her brother.

Snow globes, cousins and candy canes.

Stockton and his new army guy.

Time for the annual wrestling match between all the girl cousins and Stockton.

Death by tickling.

Chris (Nathan's other brother) mixes up cat heads (biscuits) while Nathan and Laredo supervise.

Atlanta mixes up Nannie's famous "butter roll".

Jacob and Ronnie fry the bacon and sausage outside.

Aspen and Gypsy.

Almost time for breakfast.

The butter roll is finished baking and is now bubbling on the stove top to caramelize the milk and sugar.

Cim and Erin (Steven's younger girl) were best buddies. Doesn't she look like Stockton?


Friday, December 17 - Cold, But Busy - We've had several projects going the last day or so. Here's a pictorial sample of our days:

We cut up 2 deer. It yielded 16 quarts of caned venison and 8 quart bags of frozen backstrap and steaks.

Aspen stirred up some "Christmas Wreaths" made with corn flakes, butter, marshmallows and red hots.

Atlanta made these six pies. Chocolate, Pumpkin and Mock Mince Meat.

After supervising all this work, Carolina and Stockton wore themselves out.

Wednesday, December 15 - Old Room, New Room - While in Canton a couple of weekends ago, Atlanta bought herself an antique iron twin bed stand to replace her full size. She wanted a new look and a bit more room. Yesterday and today she's worked on cleaning and moving and reorganizing (with a little help from Mom and Laredo). She bought herself a 1930's chenille bedspread to finish off the look. What do you think?




Monday, December 13 - Working Calves - Here's a few pics from today's branding. The big kids helped Nathan de-horn, castrate, and brand (as needed) some of our calves.

Cim and Laredo bring the calves to the chute.

Nathan catches them in the head gate.

Atlanta gets the vaccine ready and hands Nathan the de-horners.

The branding fire.


Sunday, December 12 - Longhorns - Early this morning, before we had church, Nathan and the boys went to feed cows and ended up bringing them back to the pens with them. We have several very wild 2 year old bulls that we've never been able to pen (or they've jumped out of the pen once gathered). Several of these were with the tame cows and so they decided it was a good time to catch them.

You wouldn't guess it to look at them, but you can just about hand feed these girls.

Tonight, Nathan and I took those wild bulls to Tulia in advance of Monday's sale. We ate at El Camino in Tulia which is always a treat.

Saturday, December 11 - Making Pasta - We hoped to host a get together of our own Sunday night with a few friends from the area, so Atlanta and Aspen made homemade pasta in advance today.

Atlanta mixed 24 eggs, spinach and garlic with flour and water.

After rolling out a small piece of dough, it must be run through the pasta roller several times. Each time it gets moved to a different place on the roller to make it thinner and thinner.

Finally on the last run-through, it gets cut into strips. By the time they got finished, these noodles were hanging all over the kitchen!

Unfortunately our guests got sick and had to cancel. We put the dried pasta noodles in bags to save.

Carolina practices bow - It was kind of windy and cold today, but Carolina braved the weather for a little while to practice with her bow and arrows.

Sign Table - Nathan put together this end table that makes use of one of our road signs. He's trying to come up with some furniture and big ticket items for our next attempt at selling at the Canton Trade Days. He made this out of scrap lumber, but plans to make one out of cedar, too. I don't think Carolina understood that we were trying to make something that showed off one of our signs. She asked Nathan what it was and he told her it was a table. She said, "What is it for?" He teasingly said, "It's for your room, if you ever get one." She simply replied, "Well, I'd probably put a table cloth on it to hide the ugly sign."!!


Friday, December 10 - Christmas Party - What fun the kids had (and the parents) tonight at our home school Christmas party in Plainview. All home schoolers in the area were invited and several new families showed up from Canyon and Amarillo. We enjoyed lots of food, fellowship and some English Country Dancing. Here are a few still pictures. Hopefully, there will be more to come.

The First Presbyterian Church in Plainview was gracious enough to let us use their facility.

Carolina and Elaine Phipps get ready to do the "Virginia Reel".

Couples perform the "Carolina promenade".

Thursday, December 9 - Carolina in Rags - This afternoon the kids got their bath and we curled Carolina's hair in rags for tomorrow's party. She looked so cute sitting by the fire with her rags and her funny hat.

Wednesday, December 8 - Pumpkin Soup - We cut up the last pumpkin, added fresh carrots, onion, and a few beets and boiled it all together.

Vibrantly colored vegetables all come together in this soup.

After all the veges were soft, we drained a little juice off, ran everything through the food processor, added a little butter, milk and a some chicken bouillon before serving.

We served this with some "European artisan" bread that we cooked over some coals from the wood stove in a dutch oven. It turned out great.

Tuesday, December 7 - Whitetail Buck - Cim went hunting last night and came in with this nice 8-point buck. He was a pretty young deer and not so very big, but I'm sure his meat will be very tasty! We were also given a deer by our friends the Browns. I'm going to can some of it, and put some in the freezer.


Monday, December 6 - Decorating the Tree - Finally, today we got our Christmas tree up and decorated. Stockton and Carolina were beside themselves with anticipation. They deserve most of the credit for how well it turned out. Each ornament was lovingly placed after much discussion and rearranging.


For supper tonight we had biscuits and turkey that I had cooked in the pressure cooker again. Stockton took a bite or two and wanted to know, "Is this home shot or store bought?"

Sunday, December 5 - Cimarron's New Gun - While shopping at Canton this weekend, Cimarron found a deal he just couldn't pass up. He bought a 1951 M1 Garand rifle that had never been fired. If you know about rifles you are very impressed right now. If you don't know anything about guns (like me) you can take Cim's word for it that you should be impressed. He shot the gun today for the first time and then went hunting with it.

Visit from Granny - Granny and Hannah came on Friday to stay with the kids and let the cousins play. I think everyone had fun. I hear they played a lot of "Hand and Foot" (a card game) and "Farkle" (a dice game). They also ate up all the food Granny brought in record time.

Aspen, Granny and Palin enjoying the fire.

Stockton enjoys the warmth of the hearth with Gidget and Gypsy.

December 1-5 - Canton - We loaded up our road signs (from a TXDOT job 5 years ago) and a few other things we had made and took off for Canton. We rented a booth at the famous "First Monday Trade Days" held every month. It was a great learning experience and one that we plan to try again. We didn't sell many signs, but all the vendors said it was one of the slowest months they'd ever experienced. I guess everyone spent their wad during black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The highlights of the trip revolved around all the new friends we made during our Thanksgiving trip (see "The First Thanksgiving" Nov. 25)who came over to visit us. The Moorelands, the Heustiss', Tracy & Leah and their boys and Paul all came by to visit during their shopping trip to Canton. I took my camera but never got around to snapping any pictures. :(


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