December 22, 2009

more advent fun

DSC_0007{painting & glittering wooden ornaments}


DSC_0022 {making a snack for the birds :: pipe cleaners & plain Cheerios, hung outside on the trees}

DSC_0027{making ornaments for decorating & giving :: glass ornaments w/tops removed, acrylic paint dropped in & swirled around}

We also continue with our advent calendar of activities; some of what we’ve done recently~

chosen items for families around the world through the gift catalogs of World Vision & Gospel for Asia

snuggled up in PJs and read a book together

given the gift of laughter by telling jokes

gone out to eat as a family (a treat!) and given an extra tip to our waitress

enjoyed a movie together as a family

given the gift of our time by making a ‘coupon’ to serve another

surprised a neighbor with flowers on their doorstep


Hope the Advent season has been an enjoyable one for your family!


December 17, 2009

gifts of the season

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A kitchen full of the season’s sights, sounds and smells…true gifts of Christmas ::

siblings exchanging decorating ideas

gingerbread filling our senses

just as much icing in mouths as on cookies

a new Christmas CD to enjoy (one of Mama’s birthday presents last month)

family togetherness, including our home-for-a-visit nineteen yr-old

full hearts celebrating His coming



December 15, 2009

to stir the soul

I am consistently amazed by the minds of young children :: the questions that arise from their understanding of whatever is being presented causes me to think, to reflect. I’m not only referring to my little ones, but also the many children I’ve had the privilege of teaching through the years. Truly a sight to behold.

Today in the midst of baking gingerbread cookies, pondering the Nativity story…a few of these questions stirred my soul.

“Mom, do you think Jesus missed heaven while he was here on earth?”

“Do you think he was really excited to go back after 33 years of being gone?”


Hands stop the mixer from stirring as this soul feels just as jumbled as the dough…

Oh, my.

I understand the feeling of longing for home, of being away from the place that represents comfort, peace, familiarity. Of wanting so much to return to the place where I belong. Home is dear to me; and while I enjoy travel and seeing new sites…home is often on my mind even then.

But that is not the story of our Christ. He wasn’t just here to visit and take in new surroundings, to collect snapshots. This was a mission He had been waiting to fulfill, one that involved much suffering, much pain. When all was complete, was He ready & excited for the journey home?

I answer my little one with a yes.

Yes…..I’m thinking he was ready to be home; and what a gift that He came.

photo credit


December 10, 2009


To you Jesus, the One and Only

explaining Your story to young minds and hearts pauses me, moves me to contemplation.

You left the glory of heaven.  You came to earth.

little ones ask ‘why?’ and I explain :: but this heart is stirred, watery-eyes accompany my mind’s race to understand such profound love.

You promised to come :: and You did.



I am amazed and stunned really.  The greatest story ever told still rocks my world, still leaves me speechless. Once again we pause to reflect on Your coming into obscure surroundings and situations.  A humble entrance into a world that would both embrace and reject You.

will both accept and deny You.

I simply respond with adoration :: not always consistent or fervent, this act of worship. And I have no words fitting for such sacrifice…

…but perhaps maybe just that I love you and that I thank you.

simple adoration.


December 9, 2009

peanut butter goodness


I am really enjoying the new ‘toy’ in my kitchen, the VitaMix high performance blender :: a long-awaited & saved for treat!   Daily we’re whipping up smoothies, soup has been cooked in it, and the children really wanted to make peanut butter…so we did!  Just roasted peanuts with a little extra canola oil added in. 

Jordyn, our 6-yr old, commented that ‘it tastes just like real peanut butter!’.

Um, sweetie…it is!


December 8, 2009

candy trees and other treats


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Candy Trees to give away!  As part of our Advent celebrations, we made these to share with those in our community who serve us, such as our grocery cashiers, the lady who delivers our mail, our church secretary, etc.  Very simple & easy ::

red & green chenille stems

holiday wrapped candy (these were Crunch chocolates, but could use Reese’s cups or other)

yellow cardstock or construction paper cut into little star shapes (could use a punch or even star shaped stickers?; I used my Cricut machine to cut ours)

Twist the chenille around a pencil or around a finger.  You could press one end into the candy, but we used hot glue.  Add the star with glue and voila!  A simple & fun craft.

We also found some fun little online activities ::  trim a tree or make a custom made e-card to send (you can even add music)!


December 7, 2009

advent celebrations

DSC_0050This year we decided to do a countdown until Christmas Day as a part of Advent :: a string of envelopes marking the passing of time, each with a card explaining an activity we’ll do to keep focused on the ‘reason for the season’. What fun we’re having! This simple tool helped me to prioritize the many, many ideas I had floating through my head and to plan them out. All other thoughts were put to rest for another year.

Each day we open a card during morning basket time. There is a short focus on a theme of the season, such as sharing or giving, and then we have a craft or activity to complete. I opted for some quick & easy ideas some days and others have more time & effort required.

DSC_0051Practical and fun is what I was aiming for :: ideas that could work for a 4-yr old or an 11-yr old, and the 6-yr old in between! So far we’ve….

~prayed for those who may feel alone this season, may Jesus be near to them

~given the gift of a smile

~bought a gift for our Angel Tree sponsor child {our church is participating in this program}

~given the gift of a hug

~written notes of appreciation (or draw a picture) for someone in our family

~shared a special something with a family member

~shared the gift of a Christmas carol with someone—over the phone, at home or somewhere else

~made a treat for those in our community who serve us; example~the lady who delivers our mail

The activities or crafts that have been a part of our celebration (such as the treat mentioned in the last idea)?….well, I’ll share those in another post!


December 4, 2009

granola goodness


Oh yum

the nut & seed granola recipe from Feeding the Whole Family cookbook (available here from Google books; page 81) is SO delicious!  We’ve enjoyed it on ice cream, yogurt or simply plain.  This recipe is sure to be repeated often; fortunately my 11-yr old can handle doing this herself and I’ve dubbed her the ‘granola queen’.  The eight cups the recipes makes was gone fairly quickly so we’ll probably double it in the future.

A great snack!

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