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Showing posts from 2014

A Christmas of Peace, Joy and Family

Well I am a little late getting our Christmas post up. That is because we have been spending so much time with family that I just haven't made the time. And family was what it was definitely all about this Christmas.


I typed this big ol' post with a play-by-play of everything we have done over the past several days and it was just a run on of blah, blah, blah. What I really wanted to say through all of it is that this was the best Christmas we have ever experienced. It was simple and stress free and full of family and food and fun. And that's all we needed. We had dinner at my parents' on Christmas Eve and exchanged gifts and then had a relaxing Christmas Day at home with family coming and going as they could. I let everyone know that I would be fixing a big breakfast and a big dinner that were both open to whomever was available. The house was full with guests for breakfast, but it was just a few of us for dinner as everyone had somewhere else they had to be. Rick, E…

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Day 10 Garlands

We will be adorning our Christmas tree with two kinds of garlands this year: A dried apple slice garland and a popcorn garland.

Right now I have my apple slices drying out.


They should be ready for us to string on December 23rd, like this:


 It will look something like this when we are done.


And, of course, for popcorn garlands we will just pop a few bags of popcorn, string them and hang them.



A Letter to Eli on His Birthday

Dear Boogie ...

Today was your birthday and it was a great day, don't you think? It started out a little shaky when you immediately started crying when I woke you up to tell you 'Happy Birthday'. You said you were sad because you were no longer 10, because it was a great year. Your 10th year was a great year, and every year before it. But I gently reminded you that it is time to start building memories in a new decade. Your reaction was just like you ... you are not someone who is ready to move onto the next phase of your life. You are always content being right where you are.

That's one of the things I love most about you. Nobody in the world appreciates the every day the way that you do. And holidays and special events are just icing, days intended just for family. Today we had your perfect day. You slept late, ate all your favorite foods (the same things you eat every other day), played video games with your sister and then your daddy and brother later in the day, …

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Day 9 Ball and Burlap Tree

I hope you have been enjoying this 12 Days of a Simple Christmas reposted series. Again, these were a series of posts from 2010 when we decided to spend only the few days before Christmas preparing for it, just like in the olden days. It was a meaningful Christmas, definitely, and one I won't ever forget. As I looked at this post my heart melted. Look at how tiny Eli and Brynne were!!! Today is Eli's 11th birthday, so reposting this is especially emotional for me. Here is what I wrote in 2010 ...

I had it in my heart to get a Ball and Burlap Christmas tree this year. (Honestly, I didn't even know what they were until I came across one as being a Christmas tradition of old.) What is a Ball and Burlap tree? It's a tree that has been dug out of the ground, roots and all, instead of cut. The roots are bound in a ball and wrapped in burlap. After it is used as a Christmas tree, it can be replanted. Something excited me about the idea of letting our Christmas tree continue …

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Day 8 Luminaries

Instead of paying the electric company to light the outside of our home, this year we are making luminaries to place on our sidewalk, front porch and doorstep.

I purchased half-pint mason jars. We are covering them with Christmas tissue paper and decoupage glue. Then we will just add a tea light to each one and put them out on Christmas Eve to light the way for the Christ child.




The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisted) ~ Day 7 Lacey Candles

Since making Bayberry candles would be a challenge, I found an alternative so that we can still get in some candle making which was a tradition in Colonial days. These lacey candles are not difficult and turn out beautiful!


Complete instructions can be found at this Taste of Home site.

Here are a few tips from me.
I used small milk cartons I got out of the trash at my son's elementary school. I just rinsed them out, cut the tops off and let them dry completely.I used two, 1-lb. blocks of paraffin wax and pre-made 3 1/2" wicks with tabs (instead of "tapers"). This made eight candles using small milk cartons.To put in the wicks, I hot glued them to the bottom of the milk carton. To melt the wax, I just put the blocks in an oven-safe pan, on a pizza pan, and melt at 225 degrees.I actually filled the milk carton about 3/4 full with crushed ice and then poured wax until the ice was just covered.We also added glitter over the ice before we poured in the wax to give them …

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Day 6 Pomanders

One natural way to decorate your tree is with fruit! We will be making dried orange slices to put on our tree, apple slice garlands and pomanders.

To make pomanders, you just take a whole orange, decorate it with whole cloves and ribbons and you're done.




These always smell so good and look even better. Make sure you hang them on a sturdy branch on the tree!

Random 5

1. Unlike the usual me, I an REALLY feeling the Christmas spirit this year! I can't remember the last time I felt this way. Even with my Christmas spirit, I am still not a huge fan of Christmas music. Instead, I have been listening to Pandora, to a channel I created myself using the search of "How He Loves David Crowder Band". That is one of my very favorite songs ever. It brings me to tears and causes me to stop what I am doing and close my eyes and worship God, even in the bathroom in the middle of flat ironing my hair. Every song that comes up under that search could be a Christmas song, to me, as they tell of Jesus' love and redemption. That is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

2. Dawson had a doctor's appointment this week for a recent issue that is going to require some outpatient surgery in the next few months. The news about the potential problems should he not have the surgery was a crushing blow to him. Everything should be all right, but we would app…

Tuesday Coffee Chat ~ Christmas Eve

I came across another weekly linky called Tuesday Coffee Chat hosted by Leslie at Time Out for Mom. I realize it's Thursday afternoon, but this linky involves drinking coffee and answering a themed question every week. So, I'm in.

This week's question is ....

What does Christmas Eve look like in your home?
Our Christmas Eve has changed in the past 5 years. When we lived in Oklahoma we always spent Christmas Eve at our house celebrating with Rick's sister and her family. Our tradition was to eat Mexican food, therefore a little Feliz Navidad celebration even though we are not of Spanish speaking descent. It was just fun! We had the most amazing enchiladas and salsa made by Julie and I provided the tacos and guac. After eating we would watch Christmas Vacation and then the kids would open gifts.

Now that we are in Missouri, they are four hours away so Christmas Eve is not possible with them. We now spend Christmas Eve with my family. If we have Christmas Eve dinner at ou…

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Day 5 Salt Dough Ornaments

First of all, be still my heart .... look at how adorable my little Brynney was in 2010. I want to reach into that picture and gobble her up!!!


I had originally planned to make sugar cookie ornaments for the tree. But then I got to thinking about the four puppies and what they would do to a tree full of sugar cookies. Sooooo, I switched my thinking to Salt Dough.

On Monday I whipped up two batches of Salt Dough, got out the tin of Christmas cookie cutters and put my two little elves to work. They made stars, snowflakes, gingerbread men, reindeer, stockings (one for each member of our family), snowmen and other things.

And then they will be painted, starting today.

So far we have made a couple of batches of crystal ornaments and salt dough ornaments. Paper ornaments are next. Today, tomorrow and Friday we are going to spend all day making ornaments. Things are coming along nicely!

** The only picture I have of these ornaments was on our tree and it is so far away you can't even see…

Wednesday Hodgepodge

We are on Christmas break so I am sitting on the couch, covered in dogs, with a cup of coffee working on today's Hodgepodge questions. This might be the definition of my perfect morning.

Time Magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen? I am glad I do not have the job of choosing this person each year because I do not keep up enough with current events. I really cannot think of anyone else that should have been awarded this title this year. I mean, really, who has fought a more sacrificial fight than the Ebola volunteers? They have risked their lives in unimaginable ways, most certainly in ways that I wouldn't even consider doing. The only other person to specifically add to that list might be the Ebola survivor whose blood they are using to transfuse those in the United States who have contracted the disea…

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Day 4 Teacher's Gifts

Eli is one of those students who loves every teacher, and every teacher loves him .. even if he doesn't have them for any classes. He loves the secretaries (and never leaves for the day without hugging each of them), loves his principal and librarian and P.E. teacher and music teacher and computer teacher. He also has a speech pathologist, occupational therapist and reading specialist. Of course we give a Christmas gift to his homeroom teacher. But, he would be devastated if he didn't get to hand a gift to each of his other teachers (down to the lunchroom monitor, nurse, counselor and school instructional assistant.) That can get expensive!!  But we are grateful for them all and want to thank them for their love and care.


Here is our yearly solution, that doesn't cost much. But they are oh ... so ... good!


Spicy Pretzels
15 oz. bag pretzels 1 package  dry ranch dressing (i.e. Hidden Valley) 3/4 cup oil 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper 1/2 tsp. garlic salt 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Put …

The 12 Days of a Simple Christmas (Revisited) ~ Day 3 Crystal Ornaments

In 2010, when we celebrated our Old-Fashioned Christmas, we made all of the decorations for our tree. Our favorites were the Crystal Ornaments. They are easy to make and really beautiful!

We will be making all of our decorations for our Christmas tree this year. One type of ornament that we will be mass-producing is crystal ornaments made from pipe cleaners and Borax. I got the idea from Nature Mom's Blog (go there for step-by-step instructions), and I can't wait to adorn our tree with them!




In addition to these styles, I also want to make lots of silver snowflakes.


Not only are we doing these for our tree, but we are making several of them for Brynne to barter at her bartering table at Homeschool Coop this Friday.

(We have actually made these ornaments a couple of times since then. They are easy, pretty, and lots of fun. My favorites were white pipe cleaners twisted into spirals. They looked like icicles.)