Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas Day

Here is a re-cap of our Christmas Day...

First, I woke up and came down stairs to find this!!
A Land Rover bike from my incredible husband! He said that now I will be the envy of all the farmers because Land Rover's are THE vehicle for farmers around here it seems. I just think it is a wonderful and thoughtful gift to a girl who can't drive yet and has no car. I feel a little guilty that he has given me so much! *sigh* He is so wonderful!

Our next Christmas Day adventure brought us to Caldwell and Maryann's for Christmas dinner. It was so so so yummy! I am still full from it. So here is what we had:

Red Lentil soup
Garlic bread

Main Course:
Oven Roasted Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Potatoes
Turkey gravy
Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
Stuffing (two different kinds)
Cranberry Sauce
Broccoli Bake (I made that one!)
Bread sauce (a new experience for me...very tasty!)
Beverage: Shloer (pronounced "sh-lur" and very refreshingly fruity)

Trifle & Plum Pudding

Then it was off to open presents! This was Lilia's first Christmas and she was full of wonder at all the excitement. What a little doll! I held her during the entire first round of gift opening and it was such a pleasure!
Sarah got a new bike too! We all pitched in towards it and she was very happy!

Reuben got a little go-cart from Sarah. 

I made a little quilt for Lilia and finished it on Christmas morning! (typical procrastinator...will I never learn!?)
My dear mother-in-law held it up so I could take a picture. This picture is for you Mom! At your request. :)
Paul and Karen and their sweet kiddos! Christmas is so much more fun when kids are about! 
I am very grateful for my new Irish family. I was rather overwhelmed with the "blues" of not being home this Christmas with my family back in Minnesota, but my new family is so wonderful that I just can't be sad for very long. Thanks guys, for making my first Christmas away from home such a special one!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A homemade Christmas!

I had so much fun making Christmas presents this year. Since I am at home during the day these days, I have had tons of time to do things that I always thought would be fun to do if I had the time. Here are some of my baking endeavors...

Christmas cookies!
I thinned down the frosting enough so that I could use a paintbrush (a brand new one, mind you) to spread the frosting...I felt like Picasso in a bakery. Well, okay, so they weren't that fancy, but it was delicious fun! We gave these little packages of cookies to all of David's music students.

Then, I was reading my cousin, Erica's blog, and was inspired to try her recipe for biscotti. It was so yummy! Thanks Erica!
We used these in a gift to my wonderful parents-in-law. We gave them each their own jar so they wouldn't fight! Just kidding, I really can't imagine them fighting actually. They are both too sweet.
So now, it is 1:32am and Christmas is officially over. It was a wonderful day and I will be sure to post pictures of it tomorrow. The day ended with the most amazing gift ever!! A conversation with my WHOLE family back in Bemidji on Skype. They sang us some Christmas songs and we got to see each and every precious face and send them our love. That was a perfect ending to a lovely first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. God is good!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Irish Christmas III

Our lovely "Charlie Brown" tree! It is sitting on our coffee table so that you can see it out our front window. It is scraggly and has large gapping holes and kind of short and just perfect!

So here she is!!!
And now with the lights off! 
Ta Da!
Ahhh, I just love how the lights sparkle and I love squinting my eyes and making them all blur together. Does anybody else ever do that? Is that weird? Hmmm, maybe I should just keep some things to myself. 

So my first Christmas Eve away from my family has been bitter-sweet. I miss all the wonderful traditions of going over to Grandma's house and all the sweet kiddos around. But at the same time, I am exited to be building new memories and traditions with my wonderful husband and his family too. It is good to remember what all these celebrations are about...Jesus, and His great gift of love for us. He is a wonderful reason to celebrate!

An Irish Christmas II

Come on are very welcome to our home! Very glad you could stop by! 
Happy Christmas Eve!

I found these cedar boughs and holly leaves up on Sollus and made a wee wreath for our door. It was fun to make and I just love jingly bells! Every time we open our door they seem to say, "Merry Christmas!" (I know, I know! I am really corny...I woke up in this mood and it is just not going away so read on at your own risk!)

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-laaaa, la-la-la-la!" 
(These are especially for you Karen!)

I caught David in the living room enjoying our lovely tree and cozied up with a book. I am sure he just loves it when I burst in on him and start taking pictures of his book and other random objects. He has the patience of Job, that man! 

And finally, one of my favorite ornaments...
This was a gift from the Beighley hunting crew ladies. I was incredibly touched by their thoughtfulness and I think it looks stunning on our tree! I will be sure to post a picture of our tree soon. I keep forgetting to do it at night when the lights show up best. So...more to come!! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An Irish Christmas

Many people have been asking me what it is like to celebrate Christmas over here in Ireland, so I thought I would do a few posts to actually show you. This is what Ireland looks like at Christmas, green, GREEN!!!
Our house is down there among all those other white ones. This hill that I have climbed is called Sollus, which means "light" and overlooks our valley.

On the road up, I felt as if I were walking in a beautiful green fairy land...

They say that you can see Scotland from the top. Can't say that I did but I guess I wouldn't really know if I had. Anyway, it certainly is a breathtaking view! 
AND!! you know that song..."the holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown..."? Well on Sollus, they grow together, intertwining themselves together. So lovely! 
So Merry Christmas everyone! 
From David and Melanie in Ireland
More Christmas posts to come!

Friday, December 19, 2008


I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I just wanted to show you a few highlights from our Irish Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is NOT a holiday here, of course, but we celebrated anyway with me making my very first Thanksgiving meal. I was scared out of my wits and was praying that it would be edible. God is good and it turned out pretty good. 

Here is a picture of David's plate before the gravy was applied...

So...what am I most thankful for you ask? Well, I know it is hard for you to believe this, but I am so SO thankful for my wonderful handsome husband who I love more and more every day! So maybe that isn't a surprise to some of you but here is a slightly more random thing I am thankful for...

It has been frosty and cold in Ireland quite a bit this winter so far and most people are saying that it is the worst winter they have had in a long time. 
But secretly, deep in my heart, I am so very thankful for every bit of frosty whiteness that appears. It makes me feel more at home when everything is white during winter. It just seems right!

Having the clothes freeze to the clothesline was a bit weird though!
I seriously could have let the jeans stand up by themselves! It was so cool! (The neighbor's probably thought I was coo-coo parading through my backyard taking pictures of my clothes on the line but oh well.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Karen's Visit!

In November, my cousin Karen came all the way to Ireland to visit us! I was so happy that she could come! It was a true blessing to have her here for two whole weeks. She is the kind of person that anyone would just love to have around because she is full of so much joy of the Lord and has a contagious excitement for life. I love you Karen!

We took some time and visited Dublin!
My favorite part of Dublin is St. Stephens Park, right in the middle of the city. There are fountains, ponds, wee bridges, and quiet benches to sit in and contemplate life or, as in our case, to rest our pooped out legs!

Karen also graced us with her cooking skills on several occasions and boy, did we reaped the benefits! It was oh-so-yummy! She is amazing.

Thanks for the wonderful time Karen! We miss you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Climbing Muckish

David had a whole week of holiday from teaching at the end of October, so we made the most of it and went mountain climbing on Muckish! We took the "Miner's Path" and found it to be a wonderfully challenging adventure. It was a beautiful clear day too, so that made it even better! 
My fearless and handsome guide, who also carried the pack the whole way. What a man!

There is some fascinating history on this mountain. I guess back during World War II, this area was mined for the quartz sand, which they used to make binocular lenses.
See the sand! It is pure white and seems so out of place on the mountain.

Finally we reached the summit! Ahhhh....Look at that view!
So then we hunkered down in the rocks, away from the wind and cooked ourselves up some grub! Why is it that food tastes SO good when you first climb a mountain and then cook it over an open fire before eating it? Yum!

From the top of Muckish, we could see Errigal which is where David and I first climbed together on my first trip over to Ireland, one year and 4 months ago! Such beautiful memories!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hiking in Ness Woods

I would like you to meet one of my new friends here in Ireland, Ramona. She also teaches violin and has the most wonderful personality. I so enjoying being with her and experiencing her joy for life! A few days after my birthday, she picked me up and we went for a lovely hike in Ness Woods, just outside of Derry. It was an enchanting walk through a stunning patch of Ireland!

She was trying to get her son, Xander, to look at me but he was far more interested in the stunning flora.
It was gorgeous!

Here is Xander, ignoring me again. I think he is really cute--like a model baby! 

It is hauntingly beautiful in there. All along the paths as you walk, you can hear water rushing, but you can't see it because the trees and plants grow so thick!

And it was...a very nice day! Thank you Ramona!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My birthday

For my birthday, my wonderful husband got to "scheming"...
...and came up with a wonderful plan for the day! We jumped in the car and took off for a delightful day in County Donegal! This is our favorite part of Ireland. 

As we were walking around this cute little fishing village, David spotted this restaurant called Mellys! So in we went and feasted on fish and chips! I will never forget it!

Next, we found ourselves on a beautiful beach with not a soul in sight and enjoyed the crashing waves and each other's company.
It was a wonderful birthday! I am most thankful for the gift of this wonderful man in my life! God is so good to me!