–2011 in Review–

This was the year to round out my half a century on the planet…and the first year in as long as I can remember that I haven’t (at least not yet)  composed a year-end letter…So I’ve been flipping back through old photos to jog my memories…

Another year of many trails and travels—with destinations as close as Scout Mountain and the Ragged Islands and as far away as Alaska and Las Vegas…



We gained a beautiful granddaughter this year.  Which has of course necessitated more travels to visit…



And as always, I’ve been out and about capturing the seasons in nature…




lilac to be




…walking and praying…




…and watching for seeds planted to begin to grow…


…and wonders to appear…

orca large

It was a year for a family reunion to celebrate an 80th birthday…



…and the year for losing my most faithful hiking companion of the four-legged variety, reducing markedly the amount of hiking I’ve done since…


Instead, I became an A-1 stoker for my life companion!  Oh the miles we did ride and the sweat and smiles we did share…



September ended in Alaska, giving my mom a hand in making plans for my dad…He’s now in a private care facility in the city, far from home and mom most of the time…waiting to go Home.


By October the little tykes had grown so much they needed another visit!


And the rest of the year has found me out and about enjoying the scenery closer to home…




…continually grateful and amazed at this world God has let us inhabit for another year…



Which brings us ‘round to December again…treasuring family near at hand, carrying on with all the family traditions, for who knows if this will be the last year they are home under this one roof… (gulp)


Our present to ourselves this year was a (near)new Tandem to replace our homemade and not-as-strong-as-it-should-be relic…We are stoked to start putting on the miles together!


And that is a smattering of our year here.

Here’s wishing you and yours a God-Blessed New Year!


–LS, for the Skelton crew…

Homes for the Holiday!

The annual Skelton Christmas party featured a gingerbread house contest this year. 

P1040724Contestants paired up up to decorate wee gingerbread houses…These are the results. Which would you choose to be the grand winner?
The prize? Chocolate, of course–and an edible house…

#1 The Smartie Roof


#2 The classic scallop


#3 Red & White


#4 The authentic Shreddies roof


#5 Red Hots!


#6 The Mexican mansion


… and last but not least, #7–the rustic cabin in the woods, dream home of its designer.


And it all began with some  simple houses (and a patient construction worker who fashioned them from our favorite gingerbread recipe).


Try it.  Your kids will love the tradition!

Holiday Gingerbread Dough

In 3 qt. saucepan over medium heat, combine and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally:
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar

Remove from heat. Cool.
Combine separately:
3 and 2/3 cup flour
3 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Add 1 egg to molasses mixture when cool.

Stir in dry ingredients until smooth.
Divide in two parts . Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.

Roll dough out directly onto a greased cookie sheet, using the plastic wrap on top to prevent rolling pin from sticking. Roll 1/8—1/4” thick. Cut into desired shapes with floured cutter. (Create your own house pattern out of cardboard! Use pattern to trim cookies as they emerge hot from the oven for a perfect fit!)

Bake 10-14 min. 350F or until no indent remains. [It is important to bake till firm for houses!]


Snow Frosting—the ‘glue’ for assembling and decorating your house. It hardens beautifully to keep your house picture perfect well into the New Year!

3 egg whites
3 and 3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Combine and beat at medium speed until STIFF peaks form. Cover with damp cloth or put directly in decorator bags. Do not leave exposed to air. Makes 2 cups.


And with that I will bid you a sweet holiday season!


“Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh.8:10

Christmas at our House…


Music’s playing. Rolling pin is rolling out little Gingerbread Houses for tonight’s party…

Rachel’s getting  ready to run to town for some last minute shopping…P1040691



House will yet get cleaned up and hopefully I won’t lose my sanity in the meantime…


P1040664 P1040692

Christmas is about peace on earth right?  Peace…between God and man….


…because of the gift of the Son…


And that’s a bit of Christmas-time at our house…

“for unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given…” (Is.9:6)