Friday, December 31, 2010

Marshmallow Hot Tub

One aspect of the holidays for me is more time spent in the kitchen baking. Although, the boys were sick quite a bit this year, the 2 youngest had a couple of good days that they were well enough to help out a little.
He cracked me up when he was stirring this! He said, "Holy cow, it's a marshmallow hot tub!"

Christmas Cuddles

 Every Christmas, we get out our collection of Christmas books. We love these stories, and try to add a new one each year. Most of them are stories about the reason we celebrate, Jesus, while a few are just fun stories that make us laugh, and 1 of them is a seek and find book.
Whatever their title, they all serve the same purpose for us. They create a reason to be together, cuddle and find solitude.

This year, these books were read more than ever. Our family has been sick, off and on, for the past 3 weeks. So, we've had many opportunities to cuddle and spend time reading.

All of the boys were sick the week of Christmas, and not able to attend a Christmas Eve service. So, instead, we were home. Part of our evening included gathering around Grandad, and listening as he read to us. He read stories reminiscent of the first Christmas, when our Lord, and Saviour was born. It was a wonderful way to bring the day to a close, and sent us all to bed thinking of a night long ago.

Brother's Store

We've been doing this for 3 years now, and the boys LOVE it! I read about this idea, I believe in a Family Fun magazine, and decided to try it. I'm so glad I did! It's become a tradition in our home. The boys get so excited on Christmas Eve, knowing that they get to "shop" for each other.
All throughout the year, I pick up items that I know each boy will like (at discounted prices). I then store them away, in a box that the boys do not know about. On Christmas Eve, I set up the guest room as a "store", with 4-6 items to choose from. 3 of the boys (the 3 whose gifts aren't out) then come in and shop for their 1 brother. The boys wrap their gifts right then. We do this 4 seperate times, until all brothers have a gift to give to each other.
The boys pay $2 per gift (cash that we later use for roller skating and bowling). While this cost may seem trivial, it does give them ownership over the gift. They give the gift with the knowledge that they picked it out and paid something for it.

shopping for 1 brother

some gifts are wrapped

each boy labels the gifts they're giving

some gifts are placed in bags

gifts are then placed by the giver near the tree

all gifts are given with much joy...

...and received  with much thankfulness

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Morning Sticky Buns

I've had a couple of requests for this recipe. It's a great recipe from a Gooseberry Patch cookbook. I've made it the past few years on or around Christmas, but it's a wonderful recipe for anytime of the year. It's very easy and very yummy!
I love the fact that all of the prep work is done the night before, making the morning an ingredient and stress free time.
If you give it a try, let me know how you like it. :-)

Christmas Morning Sticky Buns
1 pkg. frozen rolls (16-20)
1 small pkg. powdered butterscotch pudding (the type you boil, NOT instant)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Place frozen rolls in a lightly greased bundt pan. Combine pudding mix, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Sprinkle powdered mixture over the frozen dough in the pan. Pour melted butter over the mixture, as evenly as possible. Cover the bundt pan with a towel or foil, and allow to sit out all night. In the morning, uncover, and bake at 350 for 25-30 mins., or until lightly browned. Gently invert bundt pan onto large plate, being careful, as "sticky goo" will run out. Serve warm.

***When I make this, I buy the frozen rolls that are in an aluminum pan, skipping the step of the bundt pan and inverting (as well as the clean up afterwards). Also, right before I bake the rolls, I place 3 to 4 dallops of butter on top. I find this insures that the powdered mixture becomes gooey.

1 with chopped pralines and 1 without, how the boys like it ;-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Saviour is Born

 ... gatherings, decorating, baking, buying, wrapping, a room that looks like Santa's workshop exploded, giving, festive music, lights, spicy and sweet scents, a kitchen where you can't see the counter tops for the baking ingredients, reading special Christmas books, candlelight, countdown and excitement...

All of these things come to mind when I think of the Christmas season.  I admit that I love all of these aspects of Christmastime. But, there is 1 aspect that I treasure most of all.

In the midst of the busyness of this season I am so grateful for the moments that I get to sit next to the fire, sip my coffee and spend time in God's Word. I treasure this time of listening to Him, as He speaks to me through His word. He's reminded me over and over again that we only celebrate because He loves us so much, that He chose to provide a way for us to know Him.

He came humbly, as a baby.
He knew that one day He'd pay the penalty for our sin.
He was born to die.

I've heard the story of Christ's birth my entire life. With each passing year though, the awesomeness and wonder of His coming becomes more glorious to me.

There's a song that I love... it's by This Hope... and it says:

"Do you know Him better than you did last year?
Is this song a little brighter, filled with Christmas cheer?
When you hear "Joy to the World", does it make you want to sing?
Does your heart want to celebrate the season?
Are you walkin', talkin', captivated with the Reason?
Singin' glory in the highest, it's Christmas time again!"

It's a fun, upbeat song... not your average "reflective" piece. However, the lyrics ring true for me. They're a great reminder that Christ is the reason we celebrate.

I will continue to treasure my time with God by the fireplace, as well as all of the other festivities that come with this wonderful season.

And, as I read my mug, "A Saviour is Born", I will reflect on the miraculous birth of a tiny baby, be ever grateful for the awesome privilege of knowing Him, and be reminded of the promise that He is coming again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Little Venting about Stink Bugs...

I usually try and find the positive in most things. Even when I'm frustrated with something, I try and "flip" my thinking, so to speak, look at the upside.

There is one thing though that I've simply not been able to find an upside to ...


Seriously, what is their purpose????

I thought that with cold weather that stink bugs would no longer be crawling my walls and hanging around on my ceilings. I thought that I'd be done with them until early spring, when they emerged and found their way back into my home.

I was wrong.

What is that, you ask?

Why, that's my angel tree topper... with a stink bug stuck in the netting of the skirt! These bugs have messed with the wrong lady. It's one thing to crawl on my walls, but hang out on my Christmas decorations?? Oh, no.. I won't have it.

So, I leave you with this ...
DEATH TO STINK BUGS!!!! ... and may you have a wonderful Christmas week.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cherry Taste, without the Cherry!

I love the flavor of chocolate covered cherries.

However, I do not like cherries.

I know... that doesn't really add up, but it's true. My method of eating a chocolate covered cherry is to eat the surrounding chocolate and drink the cherry flavored filling.
I throw away the cherry.

Well, no longer do I have to waste cherries!
 (I know you're all relieved. :-) )

I'm not sure whether this is the first year these are available, or whether they've been around and I've been out of the loop. Either way, I've found them now!!

These Cherry Cordial M&M's are YUMMY! If you like the taste of chocolate covered cherries, you've got to try them!

Gingerbread Boys

We had our children's church Christmas program last weekend. The set consisted of many boxes, as the play was set in an attic. Well, there were boxes and pieces of cardboard left over afterwards, and the church did not need them. So, I brought them home and let the boys go at it today!

They spent most of the day creating, and then pretending and playing in their creation.

It's amazing what cardboard, construction paper, and creativity turns in to!


room 1.... a little Christmas tree, a "fireplace" (paper with a flashlight behind it) and a TV

room 2.... a TV and a game system

room 3... pictures and a light to read by

...the view looking out...

4 creative and content gingerbread boys :-)

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