Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas reflections

Here's a peak into our home this past month.

 The fireplace mantel bez the banner that fell apart. I found immense pleasure in collecting a variety of greens and berries from the woods this year.

This is probably my favorite corner of the house. A cross, a globe, the infant Jesus surrounded by those who adored him and an old hymnal opened to "Joy to the World".
This is Christmas!

Just a bit more of my obsessions with fresh greens and berries
Want your house to smell heavenly?? Try this!!!

Boxwood. There used to be two cute little bushes in front of my house. I hope they grow more branches by next summer.
He came to live here among us. Cassie plays with Baby Jesus while she eats her breakfast. She occasionally dunks him into her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. What a mess this Baby was born into. What a mess!
Cookies of course....


A birthday to celebrate! Joshua turned 7 on December 21
Brown paper packages tied up with strings

late night hours spent put the finishing touches on gifts for those I love
The biggest project by far being this Quiet Book that Angeline made for her baby sister
Perhaps I will share more about this project at a later time. Let's just say that there were hours of sisterly love invested in this project.

 While there were many things that were nearly perfect about this past month and the celebration of Jesus coming into our world, not all was as perfect as these pictures.

If I could have taken a picture of my heart.

Oh. Dear.  Goodness.

I tend to be very critical of people that get harried and stressed over the holidays.

My criticism hit home this year.  {ouch}

I am disappointed with myself.

And I wonder where I wandered off course?

What happened?

How do you cut out activities that you love and are meaningful to you?

Was it all a heart issue? Or did I actually try to do too much?

What does it mean to receive Jesus?

What does it mean to share the joy of Jesus' birth with those around us?

Maybe any kind of celebration with a family of seven is going to require some hard work and sacrifice on my part???

Maybe I should have said 'no' to a number of extra commitments that I took on for December?

I'm asking myself a lot of questions as I reflect on this past month.

I'm asking Jesus what he thinks of this mess I got myself into.

I rejoice in the fact that He came to live here among us!!

And that He speaks into the messiness of my heart.

And that He is redeeming me.

And transforming me.

soli deo gloria



Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas cookie hack

Hold on tight, folks.

What I have to say today about Christmas cookies may change your life forever.

Honestly, which of you have not done some inner groaning when the kids start dancing around the kitchen asking:

"When are we going to make REAL Christmas know....the kind that you make into all different shapes and decorate with icing and sprinkles!!!??? When, Mom, when?? Can you tell me when we're going to make them? When????!!!"

Um. I'll think about it........

What I really mean is, I hope you guys totally forget about the idea of cut-out-sugar-cookies-with-sprinkles because:

-I don't even like sugar cookies

-They take forever to make

-I don't like detail work with food (at all!)

-I'll lose a week of my life on this project
      -half a day rolling out the dough
      -half a day cutting out the cookies
      -one day baking the cookies
      -3 days icing the cookies
      -2 days cleaning up the mess

Really, kids.

Do you want a semi-sane mom or a totally insane one???

Well. It would appear that my kids prefer having sugar cookies over a semi-sane mother because they convinced me to try it again this year.

Saturday was the much anticipated day.

Mother made sure that she slept later than usual that morning, had several cups of coffee and spent a half hour alone getting groceries and played peaceful Pandora Christmas music all in a brave attempt to prepare herself for Sugar Cookie Episode 2014.

The step that I always dread the most is icing the cookies because everyone wants to help and none of us really know how to do it very well.

It's so disappointing to work for hours to make sugar cookies only to find the end results displeasing to the eye.

This is what our cookies were looking like

Truly. They were struggling. The kids and the cookies. Not to mention the mother.

That's when I had my moment of enlightenment.

I pulled out  a freezer bag, stuffed it full of frosting, cut off a corner and started squeezing

To say I was pleased with the results would be the understatement of the year.

Mother was now the one doing the happy little jig.



Kid friendly



I am sure that this hack saved us several hours of work.
And now for my second hack of the day


 We simply rolled all our scraps into a rectangle and cut out small square cookies.  I thought our little square cookies turned out darling and they saved us a ton of time as well.

And now for the last hack of the day-
How to quickly empty your icing bag
The future looks bright.
I can keep on doing cut-out-icing-sugar-cookies-with-sprinkles with my kids.
And you can too!!!

And now I can't help but add a few pictures of my littlest cheerleader and helper


Cheers to sugar cookies and big messes and happy people

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of glue guns

It is hard to know how to break this blogging fast. So pardon me as I talk about hot glue guns for a while. After I get back into better shape maybe I'll be able to write about more important issues but for now, meet my friend....

Some people preach Christ plus culture.

I preach Christ plus my glue gun. 

With these two, I can take on the world.

Seriously, this glue gun is one of my very best friends.

We have been through a lot together.

Mr. Glue Gun has been a good and faithful servant from lunch exchange creations to healing broken pumpkin stems to hair bows to pennant banners to gift wrapping to boxwood wreaths.

 I love my glue gun.

Only once has he failed me.

That pennant banner that I mentioned. Well.

Last winter I carefully and painstakingly handstitched all these letters.
It was a fun project. When it came time to assemble the banner I was having issues with sewing the fabric on to the twine, so I pulled out Mr. Gluey Gooey.
Problem solved.

I even hot glued the twine to my wooden mantle. It worked like a charm.

I was excited about adding my banner to my Christmas decor again this year.

 I pulled it out of storage, ironed out the wrinkles, pulled out the my trusty gluey friend and once again hot glued it to the mantel piece.

And now here comes the failure part.

Last winter our fireplace was basically an empty bomb shelter for mice and other small critters.


My wonderful husband made one of my wishes come true by purchasing a natural gas log insert to fill that empty space.

{this was not the failure}

I love it.
we all love it as you can see!!

 Fast forward to December 2014 -banner is hung, fire is blazing, the kids are having quiet time... 

"What just hit me on the head??" asks the startled son.

What!!??? Oh, help. Oh bother!!!

The hot glue is melting. Pieces are falling off my banner.


Any lesson to pull from this story???

Well....she says, stroking the few hair on her chinny-chin-chin....

1. Quick fixes are not always the best fixes
2. You should never become dependent on one tool or product as your savior.
3. Once hot glue has cooled, it's not a good idea to heat it up again.
4. I totally forget how to bring a blog post to an end.