Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas chefs

presents and cake!

Here are some photos of Kate opening her gifts with her faithful sidekick, Laura helping out.

A birthday hug from Daddy before he leaves for work.

Time for cake! This is the first time she has ever chocolate or cake. She tasted the icing and tried to swallow some of the smaller crumbs. But most of all she just enjoyed squishing it between her fingers and making a lovely mess.

Happy Third Birthday, Kate. We love you! ♥

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kate turns three!

more photos to follow later in the weekend...we haven't had the party yet!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas book countdown

Last year, in all the craziness of a new baby, homeschooling and taking care of Kate, Christmas came at me like a freight train and I barely managed to remember my own name. This year is better but after struggling through this relentless bronchial cold for the last three weeks I still feel slow to accomplish much Christmas fun. I do not feel guilty however, I simply do what I can, when I can. Enter gift wrap and Christmas books.
Last year in the insanity of life, I simply wrapped all our Christmas books which I do not keep out all year round, and we tried to open one and read it before bed each night until Christmas. I think there was a backlog at one point of books needing to be read but with all the Christmas specials on tv, it's hard to fit it all in some evenings.
This year, so far, Seth has read several of them to himself since my voice was so weak and congested for so long. But since he is now a great reader, it's worked out well. So here are the books to date. Some are still wrapped and waiting to be picked. I did not number them so he's free to pick whatever strikes his fancy.

And here are some of the books that have already been opened and read together. I should have taken a photo of all the titles before we wrapped them but it didn't work out that way. For now, you can see most of the titles on my Library Thing list.

And this is the latest addition to the collection which I just found at Michael's a week ago. It's a very simple and humorous story of a goose trying to get a star from the sky for the animals' Christmas tree. Nothing profound, just nicely done. To see inside the book at Amazon go to Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star.

A few weeks ago I checked in at Barefoot Voyage and saw that Richele had the same idea this year, but with much nicer paper and a cute numbering system for each book.


Part of a Christmas project that is still under wraps, but can you smell the cinnamon and cloves?
sniff, sniff...mmmm

Friday, December 10, 2010

at play

Kate's Sunday School teacher, Kim does a wonderful job each week and provides me with many ideas that I would never have thought to try with Kate. The bows are one of Kim's play activities from Sunday School for Kate so I thought I would give her some at home to play with as well. The tissue paper was the icing on the cake. :)

Isn't she a doll? ♥

books books books

I realized about a week ago while searching in some old posts that my blog posts in the past regularly featured books and somewhere along the way in the last year I stopped posting about books much, which of course is strange considering I read incessantly and constantly. :)
So brace yourselves, you're about to see me try to make up for this neglect in the days to come.
I first heard this book mentioned during a discussion time completing a Desiring God conference. You can find a video link here. Douglas Wilson has a witty sense of humor so don't expect the discussion to be dry and boring. If anything, you'll wish it went longer.
Anyways, after watching that video, I put the book Heaven Misplaced on my list of books to read. After waiting a while for the paperback to come out, I went ahead and ordered the hardcover when the price dropped. I love this book and after a slow start, I have picked it up along with my Bible to read and study as often as possible. This morning I started the last chapter and I plan to finish the book this evening. However, I have much I want to re-read and study further so I don't expect to be really be done the book soon. Douglas Wilson is a believer in historic optimism, which is also known as postmillenialism. I came into the book unsure, but willing to adopt this view of God's plan for the world and I believe that I am more certain that this provides a more complete and exegetical position than other pre- or a-millennial views. Pastor Wilson works through various aspects of Christ's birth, like the appearance of the star and what it indicated, as well as discussing phrases found in the OT and NT like, "coming on the clouds" and when that occurred. I also like how he shows a need to study a NT passage in light of the OT meaning. And being a classical educator, he explains the necessity of being familiar with Roman history in order to aid in understanding the NT. Wilson is not a full-preterist, meaning he still believes that there are future events prophesied that have not occurred but it looks nothing like typical evangelical end-times prophecy, aka most, if not all strands of dispensationalism. I would encourage you to get a copy of this brief but meaty book and read it with an open mind and Bible. It is available in paperback from the link I provided.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

faith-full holiday

Along with all the laughter, memories, jokes, conversations, and good food, offenses will come.

Patience will run short.

Fatigue will settle in.

Someone will most likely get sick. Loud crying will echo throughout the house.

There will be spankings and rumors of spankings.

And then the end will come.

We tend to anticipate the joys of Thanksgiving and Christmas, without remembering the tensions that accompany sinners wherever we go.

Our celebrations always bring with them difficulties, because we by nature are difficult to get along with.

So, how shall we then live, given our own weaknesses and failures?

Read the rest here

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Christmas candy rolls

In another lifetime I was an elementary schoolteacher who taught a small class of fourth grade students at a Messianic Jewish school in urban Philadelphia. We celebrated Hanukkah that year by singing to some residents at a nearby retirement home and handing out candy rolls made by my class. It was a busy day of cutting and wrapping and filling and bow-tying. An assembly line was set up and the students took each of their jobs very seriously but I do remember having lots of fun as we worked. This post today is showing you what we made that day to share with some Jewish old folks, but using different wrapping paper and candy. :)

Start with a good mix of individually wrapped candies. I used some chocolate balls this time and found them almost impossible to keep inside as I worked. So I would probably look for other shaped candies that can be packed tightly against each other. Sugar-free candy is also a possibility for those with sugar restrictions.

Take your empty toilet roll(paper towel and wrapping paper rolls can be cut too)and wrap it with a square piece of wrapping paper. I find this is a great way to use up old wrapping paper and scraps leftover from other years.

The size of the paper does not need to be precise, just make sure you have about an inch of paper on each end to tuck inside the roll. And of course, tape the wrapping paper along the seam so it doesn't come undone.

Including a Christmas message or Bible verse is not necessary but can provide something to keep long after the candy is gone. I am experimenting with some new stamps and ink pads so pardon my doodles.

So I just tuck the slip of paper inside first and then fill up the rest of the roll with candy.

Then using clear cellophane wrap usually found with other rolls of gift wrap, wrap the roll up tightly and secure with either a sticker or tape. Make sure you have about 5-6 inches of cellophane wrap on either end to work with.

Carefully twist each end of the roll tightly. The cellophane should remain tightly twisted allowing you to wrap curling ribbon on each end.

Secure each end with ribbon and curl it for a fancier touch

Very easy to make and a treat to receive. Our church is joining with other city churches to give out soup and socks, mitts and hats to homeless people tonight. These are a great addition to any outreach ministry. The supplies are easy to collect and having a big old assembly line is great fun with a whole group. And of course as I started out by telling you, these candy rolls can be made for any reason or holiday. Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

the search is over...

well at least for tonight. :)

What can I say, he loves to read in bed.

How you know you're raising a reader

the gift of tea

A constant companion during my recent time of sickness and discouragement. The tea chest was a gift from my sister Beth, many years ago. It is a treat to open its beautiful lid and select a tea from a velvety pocket. I keep it well stocked for friends and family. The heavy mug bearing the steaming liquid is a gift enjoyed over and over each day and night. Just another reason to give simple thanks.

snowy garden

My mom's neighbor in Pennsylvania, Tim is a very dedicated gardener and also very generous. Earlier this summer he gave my mom several strawberry plants and she brought one of them across the border to me in a huge metal coffee can. When I was home three weeks ago, Tim popped in the back door with extra bags of bread rolls and in between bits of conversation I managed to ask him what variety the plants were. He said they were an Everbearing strawberry called Tribute which can produce strawberries in the fall. Mine was planted mid-summer and has sent runners everywhere. So I have some reading up to do and maybe we'll have a few backyard strawberries next year!

Also bearing the colder weather well is the parsley. I keep forgetting to go out and cut it and it keeps peeking through the icy crystals and scattered leaves that keep trying to bury it.

And that's the garden as it prepares to go into its winter sleep. Rest well, dear dirt. See you in the spring! :)

in His hands

My heart is full of thanks for all the care and concern you poured out on me in the last week. The phone calls, the comments, and the emails have brought me much encouragement. I'm still struggling with my chest cough and my voice is not very strong but I am well in spirit and for that I am so thankful. I took refuge in the Psalms and also in Moses' blessing to Israel.

Indeed, He loves His people; all His holy ones are in His hands.

What a wonder that He loves us and sent His Son to show us Himself! I am so happy to be able to rejoice in all His gifts! May you also rejoice in the Son, Jesus Christ, this Christmas season.