Monday, December 31, 2007
ham and bean soup - I add a can of diced tomatoes and hot sauce
homemade bread (brought by a friend)
little smokies "pig in a blanket"
vegetable tray with dip and hummus
Dr. Pepper (Brian's favorite), hot cocoa, and coffee, chocolate mint and gingerbread creamers
Candy dipped pretzel sticks, candy canes, and marshmallows
peanut butter cheesecake balls
brownies, both gluten free and regular
a snowflake cutting contest
maybe some Christmas charades or BOGGLE
a movie for the kids
countdown to midnight with noisemakers, glow bracelets, and, weather permitting, sparklers
What are your plans?
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I've set two new traps today. They'd better catch that mouse. I try to be a humane person. I even tried a live trap (they've worked before). But I'm warning that mouse. If those traps don't humanely end his life soon, I'm going to resort to those horrendous glue traps. And I'm going to try not to feel guilty about it.
I was telling a friend about my problem (after I screamed "Get out! I HATE YOU!!" in her ear while I was on the phone with her because that stupid mouse ran past), and she told me that her brother-in-law had used a glue trap and didn't know how to kill the mouse, so he took it out and tried running over it with his car. But, of course, the trap stuck to his tire and every time he drove, it bumped...
Meanwhile, Anna Kate's imploring, "No, Mommy, don't kill it. I want it for a pet."
I want it dead.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Rose is in LOVE with Kehya Cause (Santa Clause). She is delighted to see him in any form. The Christmas Parade(more like a candy toss really) we saw a couple of weekends ago had a live Santa at the end. She begged, "I go with Santa Claus?" I respond, "He has to go to his house to work on your presents." "Oh. I go to his home? I go see Rudolph? Please, Mommy, please?" In Walmart the day after that, she was pleased to firmly plant herself on Santa's empty lap and lucky for her, no one else was around, because she had no intention of leaving. When it was finally time for him to go, she said "I go in Santa's car?"
And today, Anna Kate finally explained to me why it is that we get presents on Jesus' birthday:
"I'm so excited that Christmas is here and we get presents -
because it's Jesus' birthday, and Jesus is up in heaven, and Santa Claus doesn't
have enough magic to get his reindeer to fly up to heaven."
I'd always wondered about that. ;^)
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
these are just a few - the others, having been played with recently, are scattered.
A while back, Brian also shared this from from Al Sanders' Crisis in Morality:
"Max Jukes, the atheist, lived a godless life. He married an ungodly girl, and from the union there were 310 who died as paupers, 150 were criminals, 7 were murderers, 100 were drunkards, and more than half of the women were prostitutes. His 540 descendants cost the State one and a quarter million dollars.
"But, praise the Lord, it works both ways! There is a record of a great American man of God, Jonathan Edwards. He lived at the same time as Max Jukes, but he married a godly girl. An investigation was made of 1,394 known descendants of Jonathan Edwards of which 13 became college presidents, 65 college professors, 3 United States senators, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 preachers and missionaries, 60 authors of prominence, one a vice-president of the United States, 80 became public officials in other capacities, 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries. His descendants did not cost the state a single penny. 'The memory of the just is blessed' (Prov. 10:7)."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This year we had 11 kids (including mine) at our birthday party for Jesus. We had streamers, the "happy birthday" sign, and balloons. First we played charades by drawing an action form a hat to either act out a portion of the nativity story or a winter/Christmas pastime like ice skating or putting the star on the top of the tree. Then the children dove into a basket of scarves, oversize vest, crowns, and other accessories and acted out a part in a living nativity. After some hot dogs, mandarin oranges, cheese puffs, and not-so-hot cocoa with candy cane stirrers, we lit the candles on our cupcakes, sang "Happy Birthday", and blew out the candles. Then we read The Legend of the Candy Cane and made these simple pipe cleaner candy cane ornaments.
Can you believe that today, I walked into the UPS Store and right up to the counter to mail my box? No wait. I was sure that I was going to be entertaining three antsy kids in a half hour line, but no. No line. This is a great blessing in my life. One I surely don't deserve, because I deserve to be taught patience at every turn. I HATE WAITING. In line, at stop lights, at stop signs for that matter, for my two year old to get her shoes put on the third time so that we can get out the door. Yeah, no line at the UPS store the week before Christmas is a red letter day for me, folks.
On to packages. I like to decorate my boxes that I'm mailing. I cover them with magazine pictures. All blue flowers for my mother, lacy hearts and roses for Valentine's Day, or, in this case, Christmas wreaths and florals. It just gives an extra special touch. I was in a hurry today, so this example is rather sparse, but you get the idea. Martha Stewart Living or old Victoria magazines (if I can bear to cut one, sometimes I have duplicate copies), a pair of decorative edge scissors and lots of packaging tape are all you need. They look best completely covered in a collage, but this simplified version is still a step above ordinary.
Monday, December 17, 2007
On another note, you can often be rescued from expensive gift exchanges outside of your family by suggesting a white elephant exchange. Everyone else will be relieved too.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursdays are our date night. I have an angelic mother in law that not only watches my kids that night, but also keeps them overnight and even does schoolwork with them ( and loves it all).
With Brian feeling better lately, we've been doing more again instead of just renting a DVD and crashing at home. Last night was great! We had a $25 gift card to Chili's from my mother, so after ordering two drinks (splurge), two salads, and splitting an entree consisting of two half racks of baby back ribs (yum) and two sides of mashed potatoes, we came out paying only about $2 for our food and a $6 tip. Then...I had a Best Buy rewards coupon good for $5-5000. We were nearby, so we figured it could be fun finding out what we could get with just $5 (which is, of course, what it turned out to be worth). Now I know. Magnetic photo frames. Or maybe a couple of batteries. But then genius struck and we headed for the candy at the front. And with our reward cash we scored a bag of Ghirardelli assorted chocolate squares and a Cherry Coke. Free chocolate. I love Best Buy!
We ended our date wwith a 20 minute stroll around the mall to see the decorations (Brian's idea). Neither of us could remember the last time we'd been to the mall. I remember being there a year ago... Anyway, it's really beautiful - they've remodeled. And....we got his mom's Christmas present. Splurged a bit from our eensy weensy budget, but she's gonna love it.
And I'm still lovin' the chocolate.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
2. Real or artificial tree? I prefer real, but I use artificial -cheaper and easier
3. When do you put up the tree---Thanksgiving or day after? Usually the day after Thanksgiving but this year I think Dec. 1
4. When do you take the tree down? Soon after New Year’s.
5. Do you like eggnog? love it!
6. Favorite gift you received as a child? hmm... Barbies, my Cabbage Patch doll?
7. Do you have a nativity scene? one for every room, a cloth one for playing with - and a few extras! :^)
8. Hardest person to buy for? my father-in-law and brother-in-law
9. Easiest person to buy for? my mother and kids
10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? can't think of any
11. Christmas Cards...snail mail or e-mail? both. I love real mail, but enjoy e-mail too
12. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas and the Nutcracker ballet
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? the after-Christmas sales
14. Have you ever 'recycled' a Christmas present? I'll never tell
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies and my grandma's ham dinner
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? clear usually
17. Favorite Christmas song? Just one? "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella", "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day", the Nutcracker, and The Messiah are big favorites - but I love almost all of it
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? both. I enjoy travelling to spend a week with family somewhere, but don't like Christmas Day travel
19. Can you name Santa's reindeer? of course
20. Do you have an angel or a star on top of your tree? that is a loaded question at our house - we have both - right now my tree has an angel, but all the little trees have stars
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? both
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? being broke :^)
23. Shopping...mall or online? online and in other stores...I try to stay away from the mall, haven't been there in months
24. Do you decorate outside for Christmas or just inside (or at all)? Both.
25. Favorite Christmas cookie? Ha! Russian teacakes, peppermint puffs, does nutroll count?...I love cookies!
26. Do you own Christmas clothing or jewelry? A few sweaters and a new pair of Christmas earrings each year (usually). This year I got new jingle bell earrings. I also have Christmas pins, and at least one bracelet. Oh, and I have Christmas sneakers too.
27. Do you believe in Santa? If it means that I get presents, I do.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Okay, my quick last-minute recipes off the top of my head:
- Grilled chicken salads - grilled chicken strips (Aldi's version is $8 for 2 lbs.), bagged salad, real bacon bits, sunflower seeds, cheddar cheese, croutons, and, if there's time, hard boiled eggs
- Use the same strips for Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Yellow Rice
- Tuna melts - tuna salad on hamburger bun halves, or in hot dogs buns, topped with cheese food slices, and broiled a couple of minutes, served with applesauce - I do this if we have leftover gluten free breaad or buns.
- Broccoli Cheese Rice w/ Chicken - instant rice, melt Velveeta in it, make some frozen broccoli in some chicken buillion broth, stir that in, and add leftover chicken, chicken strips, etc., if desired Great with apple alices.
- Spaghetti and frozen meatballs (I use Aldi's turkey meatballs. they appear to be gluten free, haven't officially checked). Salad, garlic bread (butter bread, sprinkle with garlic powder and parmesan cheese, broil lightly), pickles
- If you have three minutes earlier in the day, make Teryaki Chicken in the slowcooker. I bottle teryaki sauce, One 2 1/2- 3 Lb bag frozen chicken breasts or tenderloins, one can crushed or chunk pineapple. Dump in. High 4-6 hrs, low 8-10?, oven 350 degrees: about I hour. Great for putting in before church on Sunday morning. Serve over instant rice, with bagged salad.
- Pasta Alfredo with Kielbasa. Thaw 1lb of kielbasa while cooking pasta, stir in jar of Alfredo sauce, then diced kielbasa. Serve with salad. (See a theme here. Salads are handy, and can always be picked up by Dad on the way home.)
- Chili cheese dip. Velveeta or block of cream cheese, can of chili with beans - melt together in microwave and serve with tortilla chips. Serve with peaches, if that makes you feel better about having a balanced meal. Remember, this is last minute stuff.
Note: for cheap gluten free pasta, I buy thin rice noodles at the Asain store. Try different varieties until you find one you like. They look clear when cooked, but don't taste weird in a dish with sauce. I like the ones made with rice and corn flour.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
But I wonder about something. The Body ought to respond to a member that is wounded. It doesn't always, and that is a terrible thing. If a finger gets cut, someone needs to get stitches and a bandage and take care of it without delay. Some local bodies of believers are terrible at even first aid. I'm grateful to be part of one that takes care of these things. But, individually, as members of this body, are we often only aware of acute needs. I know that I have a natural inclination to gravitate toward people in need, but sometimes neglect them when things regain a more even keel. And I believe that I, and other members like me, may be doing a great disservice to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We care for fingers that cut and bleed, but don't notice them drying and cracking for lack of moisturizer. We don't notice the high cholesterol until the heart attack. We overlook the person, until the cancer.
I Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ...14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. ...18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
We are to use our gifts to encourage the Body:
Ephesians 4: 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Sometimes we're too busy until we're confronted with an emergency. The more excellent way ? Selfless love.
I John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.... 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
So who, in your local body, do you need to make time for this Christmas?
That said, these are yummy. Here's the recipe:
3/4 c butter flavored Crisco
1 1/4 c brown sugar
2 1/4 bean or rice flour (I use my rice flour blend)
1 1/4 t xanthan
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 c chocolate chips
1 c chopped walnuts (opt)
1) Cream crisco and sugar. Add eggs & vanilla. Beat until smooth.
2) Add flour, xanthan, soda, salt, and powder; mix well. Stir in chips and nuts.
3) Drop by T on to ungreased sheet.
4) Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
*Bars: Press into 9x13. 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut.
Makes 30 cookies
Sunday, December 02, 2007
We're enjoying Christmas. We had our first pajama Christmas lights ride last night, but it was a little too late for Rose. She conked out before we got to the subdivision I'd targeted. Anna Kate and Ethan, however, were thrilled. The children enjoyed painting stained-glass type ornaments earlier today. And tonight after our second Jesse tree devotions, we enjoyed a peppermint ice cream cone to the light of our tree and the sound of the PBS station playing the three tenors in the background and asking for donations to help support more of that programming. I must say it was interesting hearing them sing "Jingle Bells", not quite what I expected, but I love to hear "Silent Night" in German and it suited them better.
And did you see the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on CBS - Picture of Hollis Woods? Looooved it! I love Hallmark movies - the only thing I have against them is that I get nothing done in the commercial breaks - because I love them too! I didn't see my favorite commercial tonight, though. The one where the dad walks across the snow my lantern-light to read the Hallmark card from his now grown daughter who was missing that walk with him. I always cry my eyes out. And I like crying my eyes out over books and movies and sappy commercials, don't you?
I'm hoping everyone here will be better tomorrow. Anna Kate had a stomach virus on Friday, so we watched movies all day, then Brian felt terrible all weekend.
Here's a great Christmas gift idea! For $30 a month you can mail 5 New Testaments each month to Christians in restricted areas. For more details: http://www.biblesunbound.com/qry/mc_home.taf
Saturday, December 01, 2007
- A set of five tools - a hammer, phillips and regular screwdriver, pliers, wrench, and hammer to replace the plastic tools in Ethan's toolbox, so he can really help Dad - $4
- A few "decorate it yourself" travel coffee mugs. One for Pa maybe, and Daddy, and one to surprise Ethan with his own. My kids all love coffee. Even the two year old.
- "build a bear" size outfits
- 2 plastic mermaids to replace the broken ones in the under the sea castle playset that Rosie loves - $1
- 12 inch doll outfits
- dress up accessories such as Ninja weapons and a pirate set with earring, hook glove, and patch, for the stocking (they take up lots of space for the money!)
- glow bracelets in red and green for Christmas travel or evening parades - glow bracelets can save your life when you're travelling at night, but before bedtime.
- Christmas tights
- a "learn-to-make balloon shapes"kit with a mini pump, long balloons, and instructions for several things - $1
- A set of Santa's-sleigh-size jingle bells for Polar Express ornaments - $1
- paint-your-own ornaments craft sets
- a miniature silver tree, 20 colored lights (yes, from China, got to go donate!), a mini garland and star, and twelve little colored drum ornaments - $4. The delight my children took in decorating it, plugging it in in the playroom, and giving a stout rendition of "O Christmas Tree" in the tradition of Charlie Brown - priceless. Oh, and the silver branches with the colored lights make it look like a rainbow tree. It really looks lovely - much better than expected.
Update: I know that most of us don't have a ton of extra money left over for donations, but donating $1 to VOM for a Christmas Care Pack to China per string of Christmas lights you buy is really quite painless ( I just did it for the lights I bought yesterday) - and you may be helping the family of a Christian prisoner that made those very lights! Go here and donate now!!