Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Reflections

A few of my favorite things about Christmas 2015...
Miss E's excitement about everything "Cissmas"- it was all new to her this year (since she doesn't remember last year) so every tall tree in the store or at church was just amazing!
Hearing DJ say it was his best Christmas ever.
So much good food- (I haven't had to cook much the last few days, since I overdid before Christmas)
Using the kids' great-great Grandma's white rose dishes and their great Grandma's silver at our Christmas brunch.
Playing table games with the family- we got a new one for Christmas called Carcassonne, it's pretty fun so far.
My grandparents good example!  Even though my Grandpa is now in the nursing home my Grandma faithfully goes there twice a day to help him eat his meals.  They have been married for 62 years now and their faithfulness is a great example to us all.

Good visits and relaxing times with our family.  We are very blessed.
Our Christmas day service at church was really worshipful- we always end our service with the Hallelujah Chorus, sung by anyone who wants to join the choir on stage, and it's my favorite part of Christmas morning each year.
And He shall reign forever and ever!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

De-stressing Christmas

I'm writing this post to remind myself next year not to make Christmas so complicated.
It doesn't have to be liked 100 times on Pinterest or featured on someone's blog.
All it has to do is bring glory to the One whose birthday we are celebrating and provide a sense of security and good memories for our children.  If Mom is stressed nobody's happy, and this mom seems to be fairly easily stressed these days...

Maybe I'll try these ideas next year--
(I'm writing them here so I'll remember)
No shopping for gifts online, spending hours researching reviews and trying to get something "just perfect".   Just go to town with Andy one evening and buy everyone something.
The decorations do not need to be trendy or photo worthy.  Just warm and welcoming.
Store bought snacks are fine.  Don't stress about making 5 types of Christmas cookies.
Play lots of music- Christmas music always puts me in a better mood, and playing it myself on the piano is even better.
Spend some extra time in Bible study, this month our pastor has been doing a series of sermons on Christmas from Mary's point of view and I have really appreciated them, maybe look them up and listen again online?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Peace

Christmas is just feeling like TOO MUCH this year.  Maybe it's the enormous amount of presents I just finished wrapping, (trying to make sure that everyone received the same amount) or maybe it's all the sugary sweet candy and cookies I still need to make, or maybe it's all the Christmas concerts and programs and practices, I don't know.  But I just feel done in.  And we still have a ways to go.
The trouble is, these are all good and nice things, things that I don't want to get rid of, but I just feel overwhelmed.  Probably at least some of you can relate?  Maybe next year somehow I will try to make things a little more simple.  But probably around the end of October I will be so excited for Christmas that things will go crazy again...  Sigh.
It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, from heaven's all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come with peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats o'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains they bend on hovering wing:
And ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.

And ye, beneath life's crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow,
Look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.
(was this verse written for me??)

For lo, the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.
~Edmund H. Sears~
The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:17-18
That sounds nice- I am looking forward to it, how about you?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Peppernuts and Tea

So how is your Christmas season going?  Are you incredibly busy and can't find time for everything?  That's how I felt last week, but this week I think I'll have time to do a little baking.

This morning Miss E and I baked our peppernuts.
This year we made them gluten free, they turned out a little different, but still pretty good!

Usually I don't like all white decorating, but this year with the crazy busyness of the season all white is looking very peaceful to me. 

This sweet little teacup candle was a gift from my Grandma.

Peppernuts are the most traditional of all our Christmas foods.  My family has been making them every year for hundreds of years.  My family all came to America from Prussia, Russia, and Switzerland, but peppernuts are still made today in the Netherlands, which I find very interesting because my family originates from there hundreds of years before they went to Prussia and Russia.  It's quite something that they brought their favorite foods with them no matter what country they went to.  No wonder I have such a hard time breaking with tradition!

I hope you have a little time to savor the season this week as well.  Life goes by so quickly, and the older I get the more I realize we need to enjoy each little moment!
I am joining No Place Like Home

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Answer for All the World's Problems

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming
As men of old have sung.
It came, a Flow'ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-spent was the night.
Isaiah 'twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright
She bore to men a Savior
When half-spent was the night.
This Flow'r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load.
~German Carol from the 16th Century~

I am joining--

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Comfort and Joy

The day after Thanksgiving we had a beautiful ice storm come through,
which set the mood perfectly for lots of Christmas decorating.

So come around and take a look at our home, all decked out for Christmas!

This morning on the radio I heard the Christmas carol, "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" and it got me wondering, what does that title even mean, and where does that song come from?

A little quick research showed me that the song is one of our oldest Christmas carols, dating back to the 1500s.  The word rest back then meant "to keep or cause to remain" and the word merry meant "pleasant, bountiful or prosperous".  So you could rephrase the first line to: God cause you to remain pleasant, gentlemen.

Really, resting and remaining in God is the only way to have genuine long lasting happiness. Complete trust in Him is the only way!

(Someone was helping me decorate- he wanted the village to be safe, I guess!)

"God rest ye merry, Gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas day

To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O Tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!"

I hope you all have the comfort and joy that comes from knowing Jesus!

I am joining for No Place Like Home and Home and Garden Thursday

Friday, November 27, 2015

Welcome to Winter

We are having a cozy Thanksgiving weekend at home this year, since we are getting freezing rain on and off.  It didn't seem to bother this squirrel though, since he was busy eating this hedgeapple he held real still so I could get his picture.

The last few roses, covered in ice.

The house is a wreck, as I'm deep in Christmas decorating.  Thankfully we had enough leftovers from yesterday I didn't have to cook much today.  It's been a good time of doing puzzles, playing with old forgotten toys, and watching movies.  We have lots to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Red Transferware Thanksgiving

The food has been prepared, the table is set, and we are ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow!
Each place setting is a different pattern of red transferware.
I started collecting red transferware dishes about 15 years ago, and now have enough
for our 8 member family, plus a few extra. (:

For a centerpiece this year I went simple and rustic, with deer antlers, leaves, pumpkins, and candles.

This Pilgrim platter was a gift from my Mom this year and will hold lots of turkey tomorrow.

Awhile back I bought these fun Pilgrim and Indian placecard holders at a yard sale,
they are fun to pull out every year.

I hope everyone is hungry tomorrow!  Something different we did this year was let each person choose a side dish to go along with the turkey.  So here's our menu:
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Cornbread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Tuna Pasta Salad
Red Cinnamon Pickles
Cranberry Bread
Corn Muffins
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Cake

Makes me hungry just thinking about it!
I am including the recipe for Cranberry Bread below (pictured above), it is a yearly favorite around here, and can easily be made gluten free by substituting gluten free flour.  You can also easily double or triple it.
Cranberry Bread
1 egg
1/2 c. orange juice
2 T. melted butter
2 T. hot water
2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sugar
1 c. raw whole cranberries
Beat together first four ingredients, then blend in remaining dry ingredients.  Gently stir in cranberries.  Pour into greased loaf pan.  Bake at 325 for 60 min.  Let cool 15 min. before removing from pan.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What a Trip

This last weekend we went out to Colorado to visit Andy's side of the family.  One day we took a little trip over to Utah to see Arches National Park.  It was a beautiful day, not too cold, and just perfect for hiking to see a few of the arches. 

It had snowed a day or two before, and the snow with the red rocks was just beautiful.  We really enjoyed our time there.  This is Landscape Arch below, it was my favorite one.  Part of this one broke off back in 1991 while people were underneath.  That would be scary.
It was good to see all the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins again!

Then came the trip home...  It was definitely one of our most adventurous trips.  First we had to cross the mountains, where it was snowing.  The roads were wet and slushy most of the way, but part of the time they were more snow packed.  Miss E threw up all over her clothes and blanket about half an hour after we left.  At Vail pass there was a wreck so we had to wait 30 minutes there.  The sun was peeking through the clouds on the snow covered mountains and it was really beautiful.  The picture is not nearly as good as it was in real life.

As we came out of the mountains we got ahead of the snowstorm, but then we ran into the thunderstorms.  The sky across the plains of Colorado was really pretty, you could see just where the storms were- no need for radar out there!  As we were coming into Kansas this thunderstorm was building up and I told Andy, Colorado might have mountains, but we have clouds!  Famous last words...

Because a few minutes later this tornado came out of those beautiful clouds!
We pulled over to the side of I-70 and watched it cross the interstate.  It was really amazing.  After living here for 27 years this was the first tornado I've ever seen.  It was probably about 5 miles away.  Thankfully it didn't hurt anyone, it was pretty small as far as tornadoes go.
All of that made the trip take about 14 hours instead of the usual 12.  We were all very glad to be back, and thankful to God for getting us safely home!

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