Category Archives: Christian

Spy Garden Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is still in full swing around here as we abide by the rule of:

Thou shalt keep thine Christmas decorations up through New Year’s Day

hahahahaha

This kohlrabi looks like the grinch's head!

Doesn’t this kohlrabi looks like the grinch’s head!?

We've been doing lots of painting, gluing, collaging, crocheting, etc., etc. around here: Christmas always makes me want to create!

We’ve been doing lots of painting, gluing, collaging, crocheting, etc., etc. around here: Christmas always makes me want to create!

Here is Babyzilla protesting the very un-wintery (nearly 70 degree) weather in the days prior to Christmas

Here is Babyzilla protesting the very un-wintery (nearly 70 degree) weather in the days prior to Christmas

Chalk tree

Chalk tree

December weather

December weather

See the paper airplane hanging

See the paper airplane hanging

Paper airplane (made by the Spy)

Paper airplane (made by the Spy)

Smoochie painting

Smoochie painting

Decorating...

Decorating…

Tree of toys!

Tree of toys!

I will miss these lights and may need to pick up a few lamps once we take them down!

I will miss these lights and may need to pick up a few lamps once we take them down!

In the front yard

In the front yard

Dexie's chair haha

Dexie’s chair haha

Getting a hair cut (to even out her handiwork)

Getting a hair cut (to even out her handiwork)

Star light

Star light

Gingerbread time!

Gingerbread time!

First I made the base and allowed it to dry completely before adding the tall pieces

First I made the base and allowed it to dry completely before adding the tall pieces

Click here to see last year’s gingerbread (Eiffel Tower) and here for my basic recipe. This year’s version included garam masala and ground flax in the dough and fresh Meyer lemon juice in the icing; mmm!

Leftover building materials! Spicy and delicious!

Leftover building materials! Spicy and delicious!

Here it is drying (hence the chair holding it up). It is hollow and has spots to put in little battery operated lights

Here it is drying (hence the chair holding it up). It is hollow and has spots to put in little battery operated lights

It still dried a bit crooked like the leaning tower of Pisa; it is leaning back so its not too noticeable from the front

It still dried a bit crooked like the leaning tower of Pisa; it is leaning back so its not too noticeable from the front

Fini!

Fini!

This is me after finishing the gingerbread hahaha

This is me after finishing the gingerbread hahaha

Yawning, pre-service (7PM Christmas Eve service)

Yawning, pre-service (7PM Christmas Eve service)

The kids all did a great job!

The kids all did a great job!

After the service

After the service

And then it was…

Christmas

Christmas!

How did Santa get this 16' canoe in here?!

How did Santa get this 16′ canoe in here?!

Woo hoo! Canoe!

Woo hoo! Canoe!

Dexie enjoying her present

Dexie enjoying her present

Babyzilla

Babyzilla

Juggling scarves

Juggling scarves

Choo Choo!

Choo Choo!

The most Christmas-y train station!

The most Christmas-y train station! (Lionel train from 1953!)

Christmas Dexie

Christmas Dexie

Driving the train

Driving the train

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Trying out the unicycle!

Trying out the unicycle!

Watching A Christmas Story

Watching A Christmas Story

Cozy

Cozy

Choo choo

Choo choo

Christmas kids

Christmas kids

Christmas dogs

Christmas dogs

Christmas in the garden

Christmas in the garden

Smoochie set right to building a canoe rack on Christmas

Smoochie set right to building a canoe rack on Christmas

Christmas Canoe!

Christmas Canoe!

New clothes

New clothes

Leopard is a neutral

Baby says leopard is a neutral haha

Sunset

Sunset

Playing...

Playing…

Jenga!

Jenga!

Christmas boy

Christmas boy

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

 

It’s Still Christmas

At Spy Garden we follow the commandment of,

Thou shalt keep thine Christmas decorations up until the new year.

bahaHaha just kidding. I realize decorating traditions are an entirely personal preference and just because the lights are still twinkling at the church altar doesn’t mean yours can’t already be packed away. But we do like to enjoy ours until January first. Though this year I did put most of it away the day after Christmas. I took all the ornaments off the tree and removed the red tree skirt. I left the gold star on top and the white lights on and put a gold tablecloth around the bottom as a replacement tree skirt and declared it was:

The New Year’s Tree

The New Year’s Tree

And everyone was thrilled with this proclamation. The mantle was cleaned and dusted and freed of Christmas village-dom and no one seems to miss it. We left enough sparkle and light to welcome the new year (you’ve got to have at least some sparkle and light for New Year’s Eve!) The snowflakes fluttering in the dining room can stay until…February? Because they are pure winter perfection! How you chose to “de-Christmatize” (Spy Garden neologism #53) your decor, it’s just stuff that doesn’t really matter, my real point is that:

Advent is over, but it is still the season of Christmas on the church calendar until January 5th! The moment Christ was born was warm and happy and wonderful (i.e. much like Christmas morning) and a moment of perfect peace. The days that followed Christ’s birth were not so wonderful.

“Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt…for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Excerpt from Matthew 2:13

Yikes! Can you imagine fleeing with your newborn the day after Christmas?! Similarly (though hopefully to a MUCH lesser degree in your lives), the feeling of going back to “reality” after Christmas coziness and joy (back to work, leaving friends/family, needing to lose the 5lbs you gained in…

eating gingerbread

eating gingerbread

NOM NOM NOM

NOM NOM NOM

etc., etc.) can be a bummer and/or shocking to the system. Looking to the church calendar eases the “end” of Christmas in a much more graceful way than the “end” being when the garbage guy picks up the overloaded trash bins.

On the first Christmas, Christ would only be five days old today. And Mary and Joseph were rushing the tiny baby to a safe hideout while King Herod ordered the slaughter of male children in Bethlehem. Now THAT’S DEPRESSING, jeez! Trudging back to the old 9-5 after gorging yourself for days doesn’t sound so bad in comparison. But seriously, Christ was born to a harsh world that today is still full of sin. Focusing on the cruel realities of this world can be depressing. Look instead to the hope Christ brought to this world. The celebration and contemplation of the birth of Christ is not over when your kids are beaming over a pile of toys or when you’ve sealed up a box of sparkling glass and ribbon. Grace, peace, mercy, forgiveness, love; these things are what came with the birth of Christ. And you don’t need to clean them up, put them away, pay them off, or move on from them. Christmas isn’t over yet!

(This post was originally published December 29, 2013.)

I Spy: Montelle Winery

Cheers!

Cheers!

There are many wineries in our area. Prior to the Civil War, Missouri produced the most wine of any US state. There are two winery regions in our area: Augusta and Hermann. We have visited Hermann several times…

The city of Hermann; kind of like visiting a little town in Germany!

The city of Hermann; kind of like visiting a little town in Germany!

A little Spy visiting Oak Glen winery in Hermann

A little Spy visiting Oak Glen winery in Hermann several years ago

Wine cellar at Stone Hill winery in Hermann

Wine cellar at Stone Hill winery in Hermann

But I had never visited the Augusta region. So Spy Sister and I checked it out this past weekend and took Baby to a blustery fall lunch at…

Montelle Winery

Montelle Winery

The large deck...

The large deck…

...at Montelle...

…at Montelle…

...has beautiful sweeping views of the Missouri River valley.

…has beautiful sweeping views of the Missouri River valley.

We enjoyed our view, the lunch, live music and…

a little wine (not Baby! ;)

a little wine (not Baby! ;)

Mmm!

Mmm!

And the beautiful, crisp, blustery fall day.

And the beautiful, crisp, blustery fall day.

Baby looking chic.

Baby looking chic.

Tres chic

Tres chic

The Augusta region was nationally known for its wine during the 19th century, but Prohibition halted the state’s winemaking for decades. Then, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a few pioneering souls began to refurbish the old vineyards and winery buildings.

One of these pioneers was Clayton Byers, who founded Montelle Vineyards in 1970. The winery was later purchased in 1998 by present owner and wine maker Tony Kooyumjian.

The secret to our success in producing outstanding wines is our vineyards. The Augusta area was chosen as the first viticultural area in the United States because of our unique soils, microclimate, and history, and it is our mission to produce wines that exemplify the uniqueness of this eleven square mile area.

Our philosophy is to farm our vineyards with a respect for the land and the environment. As a result, our wines are fresh, fragrant, focused, and well balanced, but most of all, express the uniqueness of our vineyards. It is this attention to detail that has enabled us to produce wines that are continuously recognized for their uniqueness and superior quality…We also aspire to reveal the pleasures of pairing fine wine and food. Therefore, our Klondike Café offers fresh, high quality cuisine to complement our wines. Choose from a wide selection of gourmet wraps, salads, sandwiches and pizzas to be enjoyed on our vast deck, where it is easy to lose yourself in a magnificent view of the Missouri River Valley.

The next time you have a meeting, event or just a weekend outing to plan, please keep “Missouri’s most scenic winery” in mind. (text and picture below from Montelle’s website)

It is a great time of year to visit Missouri’s many wineries. If you can’t make it, how about just reading the Bible? Might sound like a stretch, but I just had to share these…

The covers of recent bulletins from our church depicting vineyards

The covers of recent bulletins from our church depicting vineyards

Vineyards are mentioned throughout the old and new testament. Matthew chapter 20 (verses 1-16) is a parable (involving laborers in a vineyard) that invites a great discussion of notions of what is “fair” (temporally and spiritually). And in Genesis, the very first book of the Bible…

“Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.” Noah 9:20

And Noah lived to be 950 years old. Just saying! Soil, gardening, vineyards; these are good things. Spy Garden DEFINITELY needs its own little vineyard someday!