Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A great $8.00 day

We have found that some things in a small, western town are more expensive than in a more "metropolitan" area.  Then again, some things are WAY LESS expensive:  Christmas trees, for example.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend we bought our $8.00 permit from the forest service.  The permit is good for one tree (up to 20 ft.) cut anywhere within the Shoshone National Forest.  Let me tell you, that's a lot of trees to choose from!  Problem is, the vast majority of those trees are at elevations that are nearly impossible to get to in mid-December.  So, we decided to get our permit and find a tree early.  We have had a bit of snow this year, but nothing major yet, so the roads up into the higher elevations are still open.
Before we seriously started in on the tree hunt, we visited one of our favorite lakes and found it pretty darn near frozen.  The girls were able to slide around to the heart's content.  Mom and Dad tried to pretty much stand still in one spot - seeing as though our bones are not nearly as rubbery as the children's.
We are sort of Christmas tree snobs.  So, though we were surrounded by objectively beautiful trees, it took a while to find just the sort we wanted.  We're bad with names of the varieties, but we know the one we like when we see it.  After a few excursions among the wrong kind, we stumbled upon "the one"
It is a bit tall, but we have nice high ceilings in the living room.  So, after just a bit of trimming it will be perfecto!
In our minds, it's not decorated-tree-in-the-house time yet, so our 2011 tree is sitting in a bucket soaking up lots of water until it's time to come in the house.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Swedish Chef is funny

When we moved to Aspen Springs in September one thing we DID NOT bring with us was the cable company.  We realize that there is next to nothing on television that we have any desire to watch - and this move was as good a time as any to cut out the cable.  The "appropriateness" of television has been declining for years, though we'd been keeping cable for a few programs here and there.  Even some of the cute cartoons for little kids had become pretty much off limits (in our opinion) because of the commercials.  Ugh.  We just didn't need the girls sitting through all that.

So, are we TV free?  Nope.  We have a television.  It's in the basement.  And it does get used.  We can rent movies on DVD or borrow them from the library.  We also have Netflix through the wii.  And, we have the ability to watch all sorts of great stuff via Mark's MacBook.

We do screen the films we watch (both as a couple, and those we watch as a family). One reliable guide is Decent Films Guide. This site provides analysis from a Catholic Christian perspective.

There are a couple good things about this set-up.  We can choose shows that are OK for the girls to watch and add them to the Netflix queue.  They get a little entertainment and it's commercial-free.  We find that after a day of school and chores and playing outside, they appreciate and enjoy a little television time.  If it happens at all, it happens while I'm getting dinner together.  Sometimes one of them will choose to do something else - or help me in the kitchen - but normally I get some alone-time and a peaceful dinner preparation.

We have rediscovered some of the old shows that were fun back when we were kids (and well before)... The girls are currently on an Addam's Family (the 1960's TV series) kick.  They also really enjoyed the Dennis the Menace series from the late 1950s.  When Grandpa was here for a visit a few weeks ago, we watched some skits from The Carol Burnett Show and all had a good laugh.  We especially enjoyed anything with Tim Conway.

As a family, we occasionally watch an episode of I Love Lucy after dinner.  A recent favorite was the episode in which Lucy wanted to learn about wine making while visiting Italy.  It is certainly a classic.  Isn't it wonderful that these old shows - that parents and children can enjoy together - are still available to us?

And, just this week, we found some snippets from The Muppet Show.  We were nearly in hysterics over the Swedish Chef!  (bork, bork, bork!)

There are lots more examples of shows/movies/series from the past that we can watch together as a family.  What are some of your favorite oldies-but-goodies?