Back in November, around my birthday, we were given a wonderful gift, something we didn't have on our own. It was the money to buy this:
Isn't she beautiful?
We've never had a wood stove before. The other houses we've owned have had fireplaces, which are really nice, but suck the heat out of a house like no-one's business. When we moved here, this house had neither a fireplace or a wood stove. We turned the oil burner down, put up thermal curtains everywhere, and stuck it out last winter. This year we were prepared to do the same, but with the much smaller budget we're on, oil was getting out of our price range. We called for it only when we absolutely had to, and put in the least we could (kind of like with my car--I haven't filled the tank in 6 months), closed the thermal curtains, turned the thermostat down even more, and put on another layer of clothing.
Then we got this gift. We researched and shopped, and last Friday, it was put in. The house is so comfortable now, and the kids just love it. In fact, when they came home from school that day, they glimpsed the chimney, and this is what they did:
Oh wait, that's not exactly what they did. What they did was come into the house, scream, drop everything on the floor (which is pretty much like every day, minus the screaming), and proceed to lay on the floor in front of the stove like lizards.
So yes, this has been HUGE for us. The difference it has made in our lives already is immeasurable. We are so grateful, it's beyond words. Even the kids feel it's special. My son even called it the "best Christmas present ever".
Now that's praise.