Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas!!!! The day has finally arrived. I'm still waiting for my dear husband to awake and see what Santa brought. Yes, Santa still visits our home every year.. It's a little different now that our children are grown, but he comes just the same. Everyone here including Rosey, and Sissy (the two dogs) and Sylvester (our cat) get a gift.. If you spend the night on Christmas Eve at our house. Santa will leave you a gift..
Our Tree is lit, the food is all made, and yes, I still have some dishes to do before starting on the dinner for this afternoon.. all is well.. just a little quiet.. I really do love everything about the Christmas, the shopping, decorating, cooking and baking, even the wrapping.. but I really love the noise of it.. the sound.. the joy that fills the air with the singing of Carols, the bell ringer at the local stores and malls.. the oohs and ahhhhh's of delighted gift openers, and the squeals of excitement and laughter as a child see's that Santa made a stop at their house. I love the sound of wrapping paper ripping.. and laughter.. I love the sounds of Christmas..
Right now our house is quiet.. only two of us and the animals.. I'm the only one awake.. it is silent.. I love the silence too.. it reminds me of my Papa's favorite Christmas Carol/hymn.. Silent night.. (Silent Night... Holy night.. all is calm all is bright..) my house is calm and bright.. soon enough the sounds will start.. water running for dishes, pans banging as the ham and baked beans are prepped and readied for baking.. Christmas music wafting through the house.. tables being put up, and chairs being hauled in... front doors opening and kids traipsing with boots, boxes, and bags yelling Merry Christmas Grandma... there will be those highly anticipated phone calls from loved ones far away.. then there will be yelling out from the back room where the ps2 sits poised for any and all players of action packed thrill games.. there will be the sounds of Christmas movies, and discussions about going to the movies after dinner if the roads aren't bad.. yes, the sounds are Christmas are wonderful.. I'm resting now.. getting ready for the day.. full of sounds, laughter, Joy, Love, family, and friends.. But for right now.. I'm singing my Papa's favorite Christmas carol ... Silent night.. Holy night.. all is calm, all is bright, round yon virgin, mother and child, Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace..
Thank you God for that Silent, Holy, Night.. thank you for the First, and the Best Christmas gift.. Thank you for the sounds, the sights, the Mayhem that accompanies Christmas ... Thank you for the Love you showed us on that Silent Holy night long ago..
Merry Christmas to you and to your family...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Today I Remembered Why I Love Christmas...

Today I finally slowed down for a few minutes.. well, to be honest, I slowed down for the day.. Today I again remembered why I LOVE Christmas. This seems to happen every year. Some years I remember sooner.. some years later.. but This year it was today.. or rather it was yesterday.. Sunday.. the day of our Christmas/Worship service at Church. There will be a Christmas eve service.. I really want to try and be there, but the Sunday before Christmas is usually the only Christmas service I get to attend. We have husbands family Party on Christmas eve..

OK, back to why I Love Christmas... It's all about that Baby.. 

 This year I got busy.. seems like I got busy way back in October, and just got all busy with preparations for Christmas.. goodness knows WE MUST PREPARE... and being the woman/mom/wife/preparer... it is my job to get the lists going.. lists of who wants what for Christmas, when are we gathering, where are we gathering, lists of friends and family and gifts we want to buy or make for them, lists of parties, and outings, class get-togethers, and meetings.. lists of food to buy, food to cook, food to bake, and take..

 then there is the actual going out and buying the gifts, wrapping, and oh my goodness decorating,, but first there is the cleaning.. then decorating.. Where to put the stuff that must be moved... how do I accommodate 10 people for dinner at the table that seats 4... who works, what time?.. 

then there are the birthdays.. more gifts, boxes, bags..what restaurant are we going to, then there are all the things I want to do for others.. the good things, the wonderful things.. there are Christmas clothes to get ready.. Preparation..

Then there are the things we can't prepare for... some good, some not so good.. stress, illness, surprise gatherings, forgotten meetings, family turmoil, short bouts of grief for those no longer with us, forgotten ingredients, menu changes, gathering changes, and not enough hours in the day..

There always seems to be so much I want to do.. so many activities I want to participate in that just don't work out.. I want to start making beautiful Christmas gifts in January.. and have them done in Nov.. stuff like homemade Christmas stockings for each grandchild. I managed to get one done out of the 5 I have always wanted to do.. there would be quilts for each child and grandchild.. (I'm still working on the quilt that our youngest daughter was getting for graduation.. she is 36.. oops)

I want to cross stitch wonderful things for each friends walls.. take awesome pictures and make everyone a 12 month calender with a beautiful photo on each month.. 
(I didn't even manage a photo Christmas card this year) 

 I want to have 100 Christmas shoe boxes done for Samaritans' Purse "Christmas shoe box program"..(I did 2) I want to give $500 to Missions work, and the Salvation Army.. (I gave what I could when I could) 

 I want my house to look like a Christmas wonderland, and smell like one too..
 (it looks and smells, but I'm not quite sure like what) 

 I want the perfect tree and the presents under it to be perfectly wrapped with bows I make myself.. (I'm seriously thinking at this point about just tossing each gift in a wal-mart bag and calling it good)

 I want to show up to every party I wish to attend perfectly primped and dressed to the 9's... 

(I noticed at Church yesterday morning that my black pants looked like I'd rolled in lint.. and my really cool Christmas knitted vest has loose strings.. loose strings should NEVER be cut on a knitted vest.. cause when you get home you are unraveling)..

 I was unraveling.. I do it every year..

My stuff, My plans, just never seem to work out.. I try.. I really do.. and I do get a lot of things done. Oh my, I just noticed my Christmas soap dispensers are sitting on the back porch.. I can see them from here.. oh well... see, Not prepared... how will life go on with no Santa soap dispenser in the bathroom... ??????

So you see while making lists, and trying to Prepare for Christmas.. I just end up getting unraveled.. I'm still missing the Miracle whip after 85 trips last week to the grocery store.. I am still short on a gift or two.. and am going to rob Peter to make Paul happy.. A family turmoil is in the works and I'm trying to figure out how I will handle it with Love, patience, and forgiveness.. I'm unraveling.. rather quickly these last few days.
So when I got to Church yesterday.. Sunday.. the day of Christmas music and special Worship.. (I sing in the Choir and we were participating in a mini Christmas musical program) I was linty and unraveling... physically and mentally..

then I remembered, as I sang, just why I LOVE Christmas..

It's that Baby... It's Jesus.. It's all about Him... It's ALL about celebrating the birth of My Savior.. My King, My Redeemer, My Deliverer, My Rock, My Provider, My Firm Foundation, My Source, My Comfort, My Joy, My Peace... It's ALL about that Baby...

Today.. my list is still full of things to do.. I may get them all done, probably not.. but it's OK.. cause yesterday I remembered that Christmas is NOT about gifts, boxes, bags, dinners, meetings, gatherings, parties, decorations, or Clothes.. It's ALL about the BABY JESUS...

Yesterday, I remembered.. and relaxed.. I read the paper, watched my Favorite Christmas movie, ate some Popcorn and recalled the morning Worship Service.. I remembered my favorite thing about Christmas is Jesus.. 

 so my gift to you dear reader, Is Jesus.. cause when we take away all the stuff... there would be No Christmas without Jesus.

For There is born to you this day, in the city of David
a Savior who is Christ The Lord. Luke 2:11
She shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
For He shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's Recipe Request: French Toast Bake

French Toast Bake
I have only made this recipe a couple of times. It's very good and sweet. It doesn't need to have syrup. I have found that in the 3qt oval corningware casserole dish I make it in, I can add a full loaf of bread. (this makes sure all the egg mixture is absorbed) Then when baking it, watch the sides and bottom. They seem to brown much faster. While the top stays gooey for a long time. You may want to adjust your oven temp. to 350 and cook longer. Remember that This is not done until the top is firm when shaken. Enjoy !!!
Preheat the oven 400... grease a 9 x 13 cake pan or a 3 qt. casserole dish.
12- Slices of day old bread cubed
(this is a great recipe for Texas toast bread or any thick bread, I would fill the pan you are using with bread since all the egg mixture needs to be absorbed)
5- large eggs beaten
2- 1/2 cups milk
1- cup brown sugar divided
1- teaspoon vanilla
1/2- teaspoon nutmeg
1/4- cup butter melted
2- cups blueberries (optional)
  1. Cube the bread and place in a greased pan or casserole dish.
  2. mix together well the beaten eggs, milk, 3/4- cup brown sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.
  3. pour this mixture over the bread. try to cover as much of the bread while pouring as you can.
  4. cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking
  6. combine: 1/4 cup of melted butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar
  7. drizzle the butter/brown sugar mixture over the top of the bread.

Bake at 400 about 25-35 minutes or until no longer gooey looking.


May Add the Optional Blueberries now, sprinkle over the top and bake another 10 minutes. A good way to check for doneness is to take a fork and fold back the top, if it's still doughy looking it needs to cook a little longer..

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Time To Make Some Christmas Cookies...

this photo is of My favorite Cookie making bowl.. My parents had it long before I came along. whenever it was cookie making day, mom would take out this old bowl and we knew cookies were coming..

Oh My Yes.... It's Time to Make Some Christmas cookies.. The other day I read a post that asked about your favorite Christmas cookie.. I loved the answer of one person who stated" I love the ones with sprinkles and icing, and nuts, and raisins, and chocolate... oh I love them All " LOL my sentiments exactly.. I love them all.. the simple sugar cookies, to the fancy, takes half a day to shape them, cookies.. I thought I would share one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes with you today.. I love them.. I started making them as a young girl at home.. they are my husbands favorites.. I won't make them today. I still have way to much stuff that needs to be finished today.. but this weekend.. Yes, this weekend the pots and pans, bowls and beaters, will come out.. the counter will be layered with chocolate chips, maraschino cherries, flour, sugar, measuring cups and spoon... with nuts, and all forms of cookie type decorations.. This weekend will start my Cookie baking... the big ones, small ones.. the bars, and stars.. the dipped in chocolate, rolled in powdered sugar ones.. then the candy making will start.. but wait.. we'll leave that for another day.. today I'm thinking Cookies.... warm out of the oven.. Cookies...
My husbands favorite..

Cherry Winks:
preheat oven 375..
  • 2 - 1/2 cups sifted flour.. I use self rising.. (if you use self rising you may omit the baking powder, baking soda, and the salt.)
  • 1- tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 - tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2- tsp. salt
  • 3/4- cup softened butter (margarine is fine)
  • 1- cup white sugar
  • 2- eggs-beaten
  • 2- Tablespoons milk
  • 1- tsp. vanilla
  • 1- cup chopped walnuts
  • 1- cup finely chopped and pitted dates (optional)
  • 1/3- cup finely chopped maraschino cherries
  • 2- 1/2- cups of corn flakes crushed
  • 12- maraschino cherries cut into quarters.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and Set aside.. in a large bowl blend butter, sugar. add eggs and stir well. Stir in the milk and vanilla. add the dry ingredients and mix, then add the nuts, chopped dates, and chopped cherries and mix well.

Crush the Corn flakes.. I do it in a Ziploc gallon bag and use a rolling pin.. make sure they are crushed. then pour them in a bowl.

shape the dough into balls and roll in the crushed corn flakes. place on a greased baking sheet. then place 1/4 cherry piece on the top of each cookie.

bake at 375 for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden brown. remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. store in an airtight container. if you have trouble removing the cookies from the sheet, allow them to cool for a couple of minutes then try again.

take two warm cookies, get a big glass of cold milk.. and enjoy..

Merry Christmas.. Let's make some Cookies...

Today We Should All Hold A Hand....

I just had to share this photo with you.. I won't tell you who this is, or where it is.. but how precious is this. I think far to often in the last few years the only news on the two war fronts is filled with the negative. I Know that "Bad" news sells.. It's what makes folks tune in.. A celebrity is found immersed in a scandal, Some big time banking executive is found to have embezzled millions from clients.. A group of Americans are arrested in Pakistan after they are caught meeting with known terrorists.. Frankly I'm so tired of it.. Listening to News of withdrawal and then troop surges.. the listing of those who were killed by IED's, another bomb set off in a market or mosque. As some of you know, I've been a member of a Troop Support group in our area for the past 6 1/2 years.. I have read letters and heard Troop after Troop tell me about all the GOOD things we are doing and accomplishing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Did you hear me.. Good Things !!! Schools rebuilt and used again.. Dr.'s with real offices that are stocked with medical supplies, villages that are once again free of radical leaders and snipers, places where the infrastructure of the area has been restored.. electricity that works, water that runs.. etc... Good things.. Don't worry they won't clutter up your morning paper, or your favorite TV news channel.. They won't be mentioned.. They aren't BAD enough.. they aren't Negative enough.. They don't fit into the liberal media's idea of news.. (OK, let me say it, I know all news agency's are not liberal and liberal is not necessarily bad, I'm just making an observation of what I've seen.) You will never see this photo or any like it.. You will never hear the story about the Iraqi dad who ran his bleeding son to a security checkpoint, facing guns, falling to his knees as he hands his son to strangers.. knowing they will take care of him and at the same time not knowing if he will see him again or where he will be taken, just trusting in the good of the Americans he has met... you won't see those Soldiers acting like the child is their own, racing him to a helicopter where he will be transported to a medical facility that will save his life.. you won't hear about the soldiers who return to that same spot, find dad and take him the 3 hours to where his son is..and you won't hear about those who made sure there was an interpretur at the hospital who could translate all the Dr. had to say to an anxious father. (it was his only son) you won't see the stories of the Troops that stand in line for hours when they hear blood donations are needed, you won't see them sharing toys and candy with the local children.. you won't see them making calls back home asking for special heart surgery for a young boy.. or facial surgery a young girl. Nope you won't see those pictures.. But you will see this one.. This precious picture.. this picture of a Troop.. holding hands with a young child.. like he has done countless times with his parents, or siblings, or even his own children.. Holding hands, showing caring, kindness, gentleness, Mercy, compassion.. these good things, you won't ever see them on the news.. Maybe someday.. someday when we all decide that Good News does play well. Someday when we all decide that Good is what we want to hear and see.. what we want to know about.. We will no longer desire to see the evil man can do.. but will look to see the good... maybe someday we will see the good because we will all finally acknowledge the good in ourselves.. Let's start today.. find someone, hold their hand.. show them kindness.. gentleness, mercy and compassion.. Today.. hold a hand.. and remember something good..

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's December already??? How Did That Happen

It's December Already???? How did that Happen? Hey, it was just August a few minutes ago. August I say.. and I was warm and the flowers were pretty, and the fan was great, and the birds sang, and the Cotton sheets were comfy.. and the BBQ grill with slabs of ribs was smoking.. So how in the world did I wake up to December? I have done the major cleaning, decorated our front porch with lights and a snowman, prepared and served Thanksgiving dinner, made fudge for my adopted Troops, gotten out the Christmas cards, and swapped out all my summer duds for winter ones.. But December? already.. Where did the time go? There is so much to do.. I did go shopping on BLACK Friday. (that's not happening again) but I'm just not ready for December.. I have to bake cookies, and dig out the Christmas decorations, then I have to put those decorations up.. I have to shop... for everyone! oh I have finished up a person or two.. but I still have lots to do. Then there is Christmas dinner to plan. Church events, like the Brunch Saturday, to prepare for. I'm decorating a Table with my Christmas china and a tree.. I may forgo the tree.. I still have to dig out my china, napkins, and tablecloth.. iron them, and oh yes, the napkin holders.. yep.. I have to get busy.. Then there are the December birthdays.. all of them... let's see oldest daughter, two grandsons, a couple of Aunts, cousin, nieces, best friend... goodness.. who has their kids in December and around Christmas to boot? There is still salt to be purchased for the driveway and the porch.. snow shovels to dig out.. hey where are my boots? I ordered some of those cool strap things with metal spikes in them that you can strap on your shoes/boots so you can walk on the ice. My biggest fear in the winter.. is falling.. yep, December=Winter. I'm not ready.. my mind and heart are still sitting in August.. warm breezes, deer in our field, Car rides with the windows rolled down. Well it's time to switch gears, to get out the old winter coat, gloves, mittens, hat, fur hat, face coverings, snowmobile suit, and boots. It's time to bake cookies, and make fudge and peanut brittle.. it's time to start watching all my favorite Christmas movies (I did so Sunday) and play all my favorite Christmas music (been doing that since before Thanksgiving) .. yep, Christmas is my favorite time.. I love the lights, tree, decorations, music, food, hearing from loved ones.. I just wasn't ready for it to be December.. not yet... but now that it's here.. Welcome!!!!