Monday, December 31, 2007

This was my favorite Christmas gift

The kids surprised David and I with a gift. I had helped them buy something for David (a new coffee thermos, a german chocolate bar) and David had helped them buy something for me (new set of everyday wine glasses). But they then bought something for both of us. I only knew it was something because Hannah and Ellie asked me to take them to the store after swim club one night. I stood by the door why they went and made their purchase. Oh boy oh boy, I'm sure glad I did. This is what we opened on Christmas:



Wanna come over for movie night? I'll make popcorn.

I think this is neat

Friday, December 28, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yummy, Yummy Treats

Hear are some of the yummy treats I've been working on for Christmas.

Honey Spice Cookies
a delicious hard cookie that especially likes to be dipped in a cup of hot coffee

Ritz cracker Cookies
oh so easy, but oh so good; a little salty, a little sweet, makes them oh such a treat.

Toffee! Chocolate Fudge! Peanut Butter Fudge!

Sugar cookies
decorated awhile ago with our South Dakota friends.

Homemade Peppermint Ice Cream!
I added green food coloring this time, doesn't it look yummy?

But wait - it does get better...

Pour some into an ice-cream pail,

add some crushed candy canes,

Pour the rest of the ice-cream on top.

Add the rest of the candy-canes and mix.

And now, just look! Tempting? Oh I can't wait for Christmas day and dessert time!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This and That

I always use very hot water to wash and rinse the dishes I do in the sink. After I'm done I always dry my hands and put on lotion and I never have a problem until winter. Two weeks ago my hands became dry and red and cracked. Yuck. Every year that happens, so I took out my rubber gloves and have begun wearing them to wash and rinse the dishes. I can use much hotter water, which is nice, but I hate that I can't feel the dirt as well. Nor can I always find the silverware that hides in the bottom under the plastic liner. I never realize until I use these gloves each winter how much I wash dishes by feel. My sister in law, who has to wear gloves always due to very sensitive skin, must be use to it, but I don't know how she does it, or how the dental hygienist, or nurse gets use to it either.

Christmas shopping is all done except for Grandpa and Grandma's gift. Now it is time to get everything wrapped. David usually does a lot of that at night after the kids go to bed. He spoils me so!

Today I'll get all the groceries while Hannah and Ellie are at piano lessons. I'm hoping I'll find a candy thermometer. I've looked in about 5 stores and none have had any. It is looking like I'll skip trying to make various candy this year.

Yesterday I made the buns for Christmas dinner. We keep our house about 68 degrees and I find it hard to get my bread or buns to rise the second time during the winter. Those of you who make bread, after the first rise, and shaping to go into the pans, what do you do? My pans are cold to the touch - do you warm yours somehow prior to putting in the dough? Any tricks I should know?

The kids are working on perfecting their parts for the Christmas program. I'm trying to help them pronounce it clearly and loudly, so far they're not doing to bad.

I'm hoping to take a picture tonight after service when everyone is dressed nice for our Christmas card. My goal is to have the cards in the mail during the Christmas season, but if it falls into Epiphany, that works for me as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin,...

I'm trying to get all the pre-Christmas preparations done before Christmas.

Last Thursday night, David put up the tree and on Friday the kids helped me to decorate it.

Saturday Grandpa left us and took Grandma home from the hospital. Oh wait, I didn't tell you that. Two weeks prior, Grandma was in the hospital mainly due to a bad cold/flu bug. After going home and going back in a couple of days later and staying for a day or so due to serious bloating, we thought she was on the mend. But the Saturday after her first initial visit, she fell at home and was once more taken by ambulance to the hospital. Blood clots in both lungs and her leg were found and she promptly stayed in the hospital all last week as the doctors and nurses began to administer blood thinners and monitor the clots. Grandpa stayed with us since we live closer to the hospital than they do. It was nice to have him here, and we were sad to have him go, but oh so glad that Grandma is doing much better and can return home.

Sunday after Bible class David was called to the nursing home. A member's health was fading fast and she was taken to her eternal home 10 minutes before he arrived. That afternoon David and I put up the outside porch lights before Christmas caroling with a group at church to the shut-ins. When walking out the door, David slipped on an icy patch, and now has a very sore right ankle.

Monday after David met with the family at the funeral home, he and I went Christmas shopping and almost finished. I stayed up editing photos and uploading them to order a gift for my mother that she expects every year. That was done, but I couldn't come up with a Christmas card photo that I liked.

Today we will head to a town near the farm (Grandpa and Grandma's) for haircuts and also a stop to see how Grandma is doing. On the way through the "big city" between here and there, we'll stop and get the last couple of presents needed, that we couldn't get yesterday because the coupon is good starting today.

Tomorrow David will have a funeral in the morning, catechesis classes in the afternoon, and Advent services in the evening with a meeting afterwards. He'll be tired.

I still need to finish the Christmas card and letter, bake rolls, both buns and cinnamon, bake gingerbread cookies, and a honey spice cookies, clean the house, and on, and on. I usually decorate more for Christmas, but this year time has kept slippin' into the future. So, I'll pull out the manger scene and with the tree, call it good for this year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yep, this is Me



What Kind of Drink Are You?

You are a Pint of Beer. You're happy with who you are. Sure, you may not be the 'sophisticated' and 'refined' type, but at least you're real. You don't let the little things get to you, and you have a good time no matter what life throws at you. Keep it up.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com


Which is another reason why I enjoyed Germany so much.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thanks Mom!

I have a beautiful table (the one I wrote about in my last post) with new handmade linens.



The 99 cent poinsettias from Aldi and the candleabra from Wittenberg look extra special with my new place-mats and napkins. Thank you Mom for making them for me, I absolutely love them!

The Advent calendar (I also wrote about in the last post) is hanging on the window in the back. It is very similar to the Jesse tree which Presbytera uses, but ours isn't tracing the lineage of Jesus as much as using symbols representing the Christian faith; today we hung up the celtic cross.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Memories

Amused Momma tagged me for this meme. I've enjoyed reading hers and others who are tagged and I'm glad I get to play along.

Memory 1 : The children's Christmas program was on Christmas Eve. After it was over all the children were given a brown paper lunch bag filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges and apples and candy canes. I thought that was the neatest thing ever, well next to the great big bushel and half-bushel baskets filled with fruit, cheese, and nuts (in their shells) that my dad was given as gifts for Christmas from business associates. We ate so much fruit and cracked the various nuts with the neat dog-shaped iron nutcracker. I also liked the spreading cheese Dad would be given. It came in a crockery jar with the metal wire attached on each side to come over the top of the lid and clamp it down to seal. Mom would use one of the empty ones to store bacon grease on the stove. Last fall, I finally found one for my own bacon grease.

Memory 2: My family is a "his, hers, and ours." My mom's first marriage was blessed with 5 children; my dad's first marriage was blessed 3 children, and when mom and dad married they were blessed with me and my little sister. Yes, you counted right, ten children. But all were out of the house, most were married and with their own children when my sister and I were growing up. But usually everyone came back for Christmas; sometimes it was held on Christmas Eve after the service, sometimes Christmas Day, sometimes the week before. Mom would make a huge dinner which included ham and homemade crescent rolls (a must!), beef-n-noodles (homemade and often hand cut especially for one son), mashed potatoes and corn, pies and cookies and probably lots more I'm forgetting. It was so good. We used the good china and set the tables so nicely. Mom always made sugar cookies and my sister and I would help decorate them with colored frosting. I always thought they were so good until an older sister brought hers for dad as part of her gift. Her frosting was so scrumptious, thick and creamy, and I could never get enough. I know those cookies were suppose to be for dad, but I loved them just as much. At gift time, especially when I was little, I was the one that took the present from under the tree and brought it to Dad. He would read the name and then I would take it to that person. Mom always made food gifts for the older kids. Each son and son-in-law got a bucket (Schwan's 1.5 gallon ice-cream pail) of homemade caramel corn. Some years it was fruit pizza, (not the sugar cookie with cream cheese and fruit, but more a pie dough on a pizza pan with different pie fillings - again often homemade - spread to look like a cut pizza, with frosting on the dough that was in between each "piece"), or cookies, or jelly rolls.

Memory 3: Christmas memories I am making with my own family stem from the memories I have from being a child. Each year I make sugar cookies and have to decorate them with colored frosting, no all-white with sprinkles for me, unless it is a snowflake with white sugar crystals. I use to do this with sister-in-laws when we lived close, now a Looper friend has come the last two years to help and our children are old enough to help and have fun.
Christmas dinner includes many, if not all, of the same foods Mom made. I even have the dining room table we use to gather around, which, when there are no leaves is a circle but can stretch to seat comfortably 14+ people and all the food.
I give food gifts to many people just like Mom did. Cookies and homemade hot chocolate mix, caramel corn, homemade buns and jam, homemade cinnamon rolls, homemade candy, etc.
Two of my favorite Christmas memories from David's childhood we've added to our family's traditions. One is the advent calendar. On a large, rectangular shaped piece of burlap is a green felt Christmas tree with 5 rows of felt pockets, numbered for the first 25 days of December. Inside each pocket is a felt symbol which in some way represents the Christian faith. For example there are many crosses, an ark, stars, a lamb, the manger, an apple, the bread and the chalice, a dove, etc. The four Sunday's in advent also have a felt candle to add to the tree. Our children really love taking turns taking out the symbol, telling Dad what it is and watching him pin it onto the tree. Being a good dad, David also takes the opportunity to review and explain what the symbol means quizzing the children to see what they know.
The other memory from David's childhood we brought to our own family is the 12 days of Christmas. The children open their gifts (one from us, one from Santa) on Christmas Eve. Then starting on Christmas Day and the following days of Christmas they find one present in their stocking. The first day is always an ornament and the other days are little things like chapstick or glue or gum or a deck of cards. But they have such fun getting up each day to see what is inside their stocking. David and I have fun watching them and trying to remember to put it into their stocking the night before! If it doesn't fit in the stocking (one year we gave them their favorite bag of chips), we leave a note telling where it is hid in the house. That is almost more fun for them than pulling it out of the stocking.

There you have it, Christmas memories of Glenda. I think I'll tag some others and if you've already played, let me know, I'm far behind on blog reading. I'll tag Jenny (it will be fun to see what memories she has growing up in the same home), Laura, Uvulapie's Girl, and The Rebellious Pastor's Wife.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In God's Time

This year Pastor has chosen to focus the Advent midweek services on the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist - the Forerunner of Jesus. Last night's sermon considered the wonderful events which surrounded his conception and birth.

Pastor read from Luke chapter 1 for the two readings last evening. The first was the annunciation of John's birth and the second the birth of John the Baptist. I was able to read both readings prior to the service, so when Pastor began reading them, I was able to listen and contemplate and this verse struck me, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John." (Luke 1: 12)

"For your prayer has been heard" is the phrase that caught my ear. What prayer? He was serving as High Priest and praying for the people, but not that prayer. The prayer heard was the one he had prayed and Elizabeth had prayed their whole married life - to have children. And now, when they probably aren't praying for that due to being "advanced in years," now God is ready to fulfill that request.

A prayer that had seemed to go unheard for all these years and now to our shaded human eyes seems impossible, is now granted. When God allows us to see His viewpoint, it makes perfect sense. But we live in this veil of tears and the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh cloud our vision and obscure the true picture.

God's timing is perfect, whether we see it or not. May He grant us the faith to see and believe and confess, just as He did for Zechariah.

"And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, 'His name is John.'" (Luke 1:63)

"And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham,
to grant us that we,
being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us
from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.'" (Luke 1:67-79)