Monday, December 31, 2018

Inhale - Exhale


Reflection.  My time to ponder deep thoughts.  The moment spent with a relaxing exhale of the past and deep inhale for the future.

The realization that you've survived the hard past and are stronger than you thought you could be. The kind of moments where you sometimes go through the motions and not so much the emotions. ...and only because you stood firm in faith on weak and shaky legs and trusted in His unfolding plan - the Father's strength, not mine. 

The new year is really just a page turning on the calendar, but it offers a fresh outlook of new beginnings.  A new set of months.  Another four seasons.  52 more weeks with 7 days each.  The hours will tick on the clock.  The sun will rise each morning and set each evening.  It carries hope for the future. A time to dream.

Update on my December plans:

-:- December photo project another year, yay!
-:- deck the halls!  (decorate & tree) ✔ -and already boxed up and being put away today!
-:- attend annual Christmas Tea
-:- Christmas Lights at the zoo
-:- finish shopping
-:- wrap gifts
-:- attend family gatherings ✔ 
-:- baking / decorating cookies 
-:- Journey to Bethlehem dinner - a severe migraine prevented this from happening.
-:- snowman day on the first big snowfall  -no big snowfall yet!

-:- plan something fun for New Year's Eve - still in progress for tonight.


I don't know what is to come, but I can officially exhale the busy month of December with a sigh of relief.  I think, I pray, that I'm ready to inhale January slowly.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

December 25 - Christmas morning


Cinnamon rolls baked in cast iron.  Husband made sausage patties, eggs, English muffins.  Orange juice in small glasses.  And a chestnut praline latte treat delivered in bed.  Rain and bits of snow flakes overnight.  Wrapping paper pieces.  The remembrance of THE GIFT.  Our Christmas morning.

Monday, December 24, 2018

December 24 - Christmas Eve




Christmas Eve - a small family gathering that came together after a long drive home and migraine headache.  Tears flowed from special gifts with great meaning.  Grand daughters played with surprised faces.  A fast food meal helped fill hunger.  A humbled moment that love and family are gifts in themselves.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

December 23 - Nana and Papa


Creative and gift.  I love watching my girls' imaginations come to life.  Hot glue and some paint yields a gift of love to place on the tree.

....more pictures to come

Saturday, December 22, 2018

December 22 - 95 years young!


95 years young Grandpa!  Celebration and Christmas gathering.  -- more pictures to be added.

Friday, December 21, 2018

December 21 - The Lion in the Box


The Lion in the Box by Marguerite De Angeli.  Our Christmas read aloud.  I was finally able to obtain a copy of this out-of-print book.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

December 20 - An Angel among us

 

A handmade gift.  A reminder that angels are among us.  A reminder to slow enough and see His plan for us unfold.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December 19 - Sugar Cookie Day



Sugar Cookie decorating day!  Sweet smells, colorful icing, and creative imaginative fun.  Hours and hours poured into our baking goodies and gifting plates and tins of cookies to friends and family.  Every year, for over 25 years now.  One would think we had the process streamlined by now, but each year there are stores that run out of ingredients, a recipe mishap, or something unpredicted that makes the story something to talk about for years to come.  The Oompa Loompa cookie, melting snowman, and ugly sweaters have made their way into our decorating for a few years now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

December 18 - Baking Day!


Chocolate Crinkles and Snickerdoodles

Butter Toffee

 Dipped peppermint JoeJoes


Baking day - number 1!  Another tradition, that tells a different story each year with conversations of the many past years.  It now takes me several days due to pain, but I am grateful to push through it and create the memories and keep tradition.  I had special sessions with my daughters and grand daughters over a few days.  Maybe next year we can get us all together at the same time.  I estimated that we made over 30 dozen cookies and the costs were over $100.  The time was about 8 hours a day for 3 days.  It's a work of heart.

Monday, December 17, 2018

December 17 - Lights at the zoo

 
 




 


Lights!  A tradition, and gathered together on a last minute whim.  Moments of more together.  Amazing weather, Christmas spirit in the air, the pause to see beauty in these lights and know that the Father has a greater light He gifted to my undeserving soul.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

December 16 - Waiting with Hope


We wait with Hope.  Faith is believing in His Gift.

In this season of hope
which runs so quickly to fatigue
and in this season of yearning
which becomes so easily quarrelsome,
Give us the grace and the impatience
to wait for your coming to the bottom of our toes,
to the edges of our fingertips.
-Walter Brueggeman

Saturday, December 15, 2018

December 15 - Christmas socks


Christmas sock exchange party!  Fellowship and fun as we passed socks to the left and to the right, enjoyed a potluck brunch, and read the Bible's story of the greatest Gift.

Friday, December 14, 2018

December 14 - Joy


Joy lights.  A special find that reminds me of my sister.  Her middle name was Joy.  It was fitting for her contagious sparkle in her bright eyes and big smile.  She truly brought joy with her comical disposition.  I miss her greatly.  The "what would she look like", "would she be married", "would she have had children", and so many other questions still are pondered.   My husband built a lovely window pane frame to hold these letters.

These JOY lights shine bright and I love that I am reminded of her.

- LOVE -

Something to Love

Whether it be parents, brothers, sisters, friends, a cat, dog, rabbit or hamster (in some homeschooling circles it seems that sheep, goats, chickens, and pigs are also coming back in style), everybody needs someone and something to love.  There are opportunities for love in every home.  There are also many ways to provide services (labors of love) to others if you look for them.

Charlotte Mason Companion, p. 24

1 Corinthians 13

The Excellence of Love

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails ...


13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies - for the whole year!

This recipe is for a very LARGE base mix for sugar cookies.  The base mix is stored in freezer bags and can be pulled out quickly as needed and with an egg and some vanilla, sugar cookies can be made anytime all year round.  I wholeheartedly believe that this is truly one of the best recipes I use and a true family favorite.

Ingredients: {Base Mix}

12 cups all-purpose flour
  6 cups sugar
  2 TBLS baking powder
  1 TBLS salt
  4 cups shortening (we like the butter-flavored for this recipe)

In a VERY large bowl, combine the first four ingredients.  Mix a little.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles crumbles.  ::I use my hands!  Messy but much easier!::

Base mix = 2 cups of this crumble
Yields about 10 servings of Base Mix.


I freeze 2 cups of Base Mix in quart size freezer bag.  
I simply label it: "Add 1 egg & ½ teaspoon vanilla.  Bake at 375ºF for approx. 8 min."

Directions:

Extra ingredients needed:  1 egg & ½ teaspoon vanilla  --homemade vanilla is sooo good!

Using a serving of the Base Mix (2 cups - loosely measured), add in 1 egg and ½ tsp. vanilla and mix together to form a dough.  If dough is too dry, you can add a tiny amount of water.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick.

Using cookie cutters, or even the rim of glass, cut dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
 I recommend using silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Easy clean-up.

Bake at 375ºF for approximately 8 minutes or until the bottoms turn a very light golden brown.

Cool on wire rack!

Let the decorating begin! 

- DO -

Something toDo

By "something to do", I mean of course something worthwhile to do.  A child staring passively at a television screen is not really doing anything worthwhile. 

When our children complain, "There is nothing to do!" they really mean, "Please amuse me."  Amusing oneself with idle pastimes all day is not really doing anything.  A little amusement is fine, but boredom will be transformed into real interest when your children are given meaningful tasks of recreation or of service.  They like to see and measure results of their activities.  A frequent request at our house is "Mom, look what I made!"

Charlotte Mason Companion, p. 24
Think handicrafts!

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; "

December 13 - Basket of together


Across the miles, a gift of moments to be enjoyed together sent our way.  A reminder to pause and savor sweets and treats and find love and laughter - joy and hope for the days ahead.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

December 12 - Decorating Nana's Tree


My girls are so helpful!  They not only helped decorate our home, but on our recent trip out of town, these little elves decked the halls of Nana and Papa's house while my mom and I were busy shopping.  They did a beautiful job!

- THINK ABOUT -

Something to Think About

"Something to think about" gets left out in so many homes, yet it is one of the most important parts of living.  Thinking is quite impossible without something to think about.  It is enjoying other peoples' ideas and thoughts and jokes . . . noticing beauty in music and pictures . . . enjoying country sights and sounds, birds and flowers.  Children's hoizons of thought need to be wider than their workbooks.  Children who are not given something to think about grow up at best with two ideas: to work hard and to amuse themselves when they are not working.

...When  children are guided to seek after something to think about during their home life, they will continue this habit throughout their lives.


Charlotte Mason Companion, p. 25

John 5:39

Witness of the Scripture

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December 11 - Peace on Earth


Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10 - Apple Cider Donuts


A sweet day with my mom.  Shopping, lunch, more shopping.  ...and these apple cider donuts.  They were on my autumn bucket list but I never found them locally.   Oh they were so yummy and worth the wait!

-PRAY-

Lift your hands to Him for the lives of your children.

Lamentations 2:19

-PRAY-


Lift your hands to Him for the lives of your children.

Lamentations 2:19

Sunday, December 9, 2018

December 9 - Sweet hymns of Joy


The music of the seasons speaks to my heart. 

Some of my favorite Christmas songs:
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • Mary Did you Know
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Do you hear what I hear?
  • What Child is This?
  • O Holy Night
...and so many more!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December 8 - Snowman


Happy snowman greets with open arms!  He finds a new home with us and begins his new story.  This year perched upon a log and watching our merry adventures.

Friday, December 7, 2018

December 7 - Dreaming of a White Christmas


I'm dreaming of a White Christmas!  A little snow fell yesterday.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 6 - Scents of the Season


Scents of the Season


(NOT for drinking)

Ingredients:

2 cups apple cider
6 cups hot water
1 16oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 orange - sliced in rings
cinnamon sticks
whole cloves

Directions: 

In a large crockpot, tea kettle, or pot -  add apple cider, water, cranberries and seasonings.  Stir a bit and top with orange slices, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves.  Simmer on low for as many hours as you choose - adding hot water as needed!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5 - Snowball Cookies

Snowball Cookies

Ingredients:

1 lb. butter (softened)
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Blend butter and confectioner's sugar together in medium size mixing bowl. 
  • Add in vanilla and slowly mix in flour. 
  • Dough will become quite stiff. 
  • Stir in chopped nuts and mix in well. 
  • Roll into 1-inch balls. 
  • Bake 12-20 minutes, trying to avoid browning on the bottom. 
  • The bottoms should be a very light brown. 
  • Remove onto cooling racks. 
  • When cooled, roll into confectioner's sugar. YUM! 
  •   
    I really like to enjoy one with my morning coffee!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December 4 - Luke 1:32


"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.."
Luke 1:32

Hello December


'tis the season for busy and it's already caught me off guard!  My prayer is to truly remember among the hustle and bustle of our days to pause and find His meaningful around me.

Remember to lace it all with a slow outlook for a

 Slowlaced Christmas!

November went fairly well and I managed to accomplish everything I had planned, but was not able to make-up from October as I had hoped.  

update from November:

-:- memorial service for infant/stillborn loss - I've been invited for 11 years and never gone.
-:- welcome husband home at the airport
-:- Disney day with husband/daddy


-:- create daily rhythms cards


 -:- brown bag Thanksgiving donation

-:- Operation Christmas Child boxes
-:- Thanksgiving
-:- holiday shopping
-:- mail off packages
-:- Slow + Sacred Advent planning

December plans:

-:- December photo project
-:- deck the halls!  (decorate & tree)
-:- attend annual Christmas Tea
-:- Christmas Lights at the zoo
-:- finish shopping

-:- wrap gifts
-:- attend family gatherings

-:- Journey to Bethlehem dinner
-:- snowman day on the first big snowfall

-:- plan something fun for New Year's Eve

Monday, December 3, 2018

Little bits about me - Holiday


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  We've decked our halls and are slowly seeking more JOY to fill our hearts.  The tears still easily fall at times, and the waves of grief crash hard, but there is HOPE in the journey moving forward that each new sunrise brings forth.  LOVE binds us together and FAITH carries us.


 

 1.  Candy Canes - Yes or No?  I always buy some, but I don't enjoy eating them.  Not a big fan of peppermint candy, but love the red and white swirls.

 2.  Christmas morning early riser or sleep in?  My personal choice would be to sleep in!  ...but as having children changes the desires of my heart, I wake up early for them.

 3.  Did you shop on Black Friday - Yes or No?  Yes, but NOT in the stores....stayed home and did a little shopping online.

 4.  Christmas Tree up in November - Yes or No?  Usually our tree is up by the 1st of December, so yes, tree up in November.  This year my girls did most all of the decorating.

 5.  Do you get Holiday ideas from Pinterest - Yes or No?  Not usually...I have a few blog that deeply inspire me with meaning behind the decor.

 6.  Christmas Glam or Ugly Sweater?  Not really either.  I wouldn't call myself glamorous, but we dress up for some Christmas occasions and enjoy comfort with others. It's all in the gathering!  Give me some buffalo plaid pajama bottoms and some fuzzy socks and I'll be cozy for Christmas morning with my family.

 7.  Stocking Stuffers:  Wrapped or Unwrapped?  Both!  I like to toss in a few wrapped, but it all depends on how tired I am from wrapping at the moment.

 8.  Traditional or Modern Christmas Songs?  Both!  One of my favorite Christmas songs is Little Drummer Boy, but I do love Mary Did You Know - just speaks love into the season.  The first time I heard it, I knew it was going to be a favorite of mine for years to come.

 9.  Fruitcake - Yes or No? No, thank you. Not a big fan of fruitcake.  The only kind of fruit in cake that comes to mind that I like is banana bread.

10.  Is Your Christmas Shopping Finished - Yes or No?  No, not done, but I have am hoping to be done by this coming weekend. 

11.  Is there snow in December where you live?  Yes, we usually have a few snow days in December.  We've enjoyed a few white Christmas moments, but most of snow comes in January through March.

12.  Classic Show:  A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph?  Probably both, but  the Hallmark Christmas movies are heartwarming.

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