Cookie Exchange (online)

Friday we stayed home and one of the fun things we did was….make cookies!  My Sammy was SO excited he could barely stop jumping long enough to be my helper! 

Gingersnaps cooling
Gingersnaps cooling

We made Gingersnaps – one of my alltime favorite and really great anytime, but especially around the holidays!  My Mom and I use to bake these when I was younger.

1 c white sugar, 3/4 c. shortening or margarine (softened), 1/4 c. molasses, 1 egg, 2 c. flour, 2 t. baking soda, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. ginger, 1/4 t. cloves

In large bowl combine first 4 ingredients, blend well.  Stir in remaining ingredients, blend well.  Chill dough for easier handling (for quick chill, I stuck mine in the freezer!).  Lightly grease (not oil) cookie sheets.  Heat oven to 375.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set.  Cool 1-2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

My Sawyer W. said “Yum! Yum!”  We enjoyed these while watching a Christmas movie!  What a great time!

Gingersnaps waiting to be gobbled up by two precious boys!
Gingersnaps waiting to be gobbled up by two precious boys!

Sunday church

Since our new pastor has come in August 0f 2007, I don’t believe I’ve ever thought “is he on his last point yet?” – until today, that is.  Today was different.  Their was only childcare through 3 years old, so that meant Sammy was with me – and I didn’t remember that until this morning, so no prep time.  He’s been in Sunday night church with me, but that is less people and a more “relaxed” atmosphere, I guess.  I’m relaxed either way – so whatever. 

While pastor was praying at the beginning of service, we had just walked in, so we stood along the wall in the back during the prayer, and yes, I had my eyes open, scouting out a seat.  I saw a few – but then settled for a back row seat near the exit.  Smart, since eventually we had to leave twice; once for a quick talk and 2nd for a bathroom break.  What I also meant to include here was Pastor’s request that we ask to hear Father speak to us during this service.  I’m always ready for a word from Him, and even barely catching any point made, I did grab ahold of “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.”  I’m expecting Him to!  But really, as a Momma, that was encouraging, as sometimes I don’t think I’m doing so well with the Momma gig.

So after one of the worship songs (which is the song our worship leader usually prayes after), my son YELLS “stop that!  That’s too loud!”  Yes, I almost died.  But that would have left more of a problem.  So I sat him down to comfort him and ask him not to yell.   No doubt, their are some Sr. Adults close by who would echo the same sentiment, but in hushed tones!  It took me a few minutes to get over my embarassment, then realizing, I didn’t need to be embarassed.  This is life.  He also followed a prayer with a LOUD “AMEN!” at the end.  This is his favorite part of the prayer at the dinner table.  Truth be told, I held my breath after every song or prayer until it was over.  In fact, I asked Father to PLEASE pour out his grace upon us and I envisioned 2 huge pitchers being poured out over each of us! 

After a few other minor incidents, I took him outside and we had a chat.   He knew better on a few other things and I empathized with him that it was new and challenging, but I expected him to sit (and not lay in the middle of the isle) and be quiet (stop yawning outloud!).  His reward for trying harder would be….Skittles.  I was willing to do near anything to get us to the end.  I LOVE being in church and I wanted to have the grace and much needed patience to endure this challenge! 

A few other things he did were rather marvelous, as he completed two thoughts someone was speaking about – and it was because I’ve taught him these things at home.  One being that Christmas is about Jesus (sometimes he says God).  I can’t remember what the other was as I was trying to remember to breathe.

While praying about our building campaign commitment and after turning it in, I had asked Father to bless us abundantly spiritually before he chose to bless us financially.  And I meant it.  And it’s not the we couldn’t use the financial blessings, b/c we could.  But it means everything to me for us to spiritually get it, no only as individuals, but as a family.  But also as individuals.  A few nights ago I believe I saw the “first fruits” of Sammy “getting it.”  He was telling me about how the kids in his class at school say he’s mean (which, I rarely ever see meanness from him) – so I asked him “why?”  He said it was because he takes toys away (which he does have a problem with at home, taking toys away from SW).  I said “well, I can see why they might say that.”  And then he said “But Momma, I don’t want to do it, but I do it!  I don’t want to take toys away, but I do it anyway!”  WOW!  Isn’t that what Paul talks about (somewhere…) that he does what he doesn’t want to do and what he should do, he doesn’t!??  So I suggested to Sammy that we pray and ask Father to help him – and we did.  The next day he was in timeout (unusual) when I came to pick him up at MDO.  I got down on his level and asked him why and his  lip quivered when he said “Momma, I was taking toys away all day long!”  And then he broke down crying.  I was sad for him and he was disappointed in himself.  But he’s getting it. 

I see some other spiritual fruit coming down the road (what a visual!)…it’s going to be harder to spot my own, but that’s ok.  He won’t let me down!

Go Tell It on the Mountain

My Sammy rarely sings.  I don’t know what happened after the age of 2 when he would sweetly sing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”  During the holidays I like to break into “Go Tell It on A Mountain.”  Yesterday I finally got Sammy to sing along with me.  And then came his version “Go!  Tell it through the bat cave!” (to which I added) “Over the hill and down the road! Go!  Tell it through the bat cave, that Jesus Christ is born!”  The “bat cave” has (I don’t think) anything to do with batman.  He knows who batman is, but we don’t watch it.  But when we go to Kilgore the back way, it’s called the “bat cave” because on one stretch the trees are so beautifully canopied over it, it does kindof resemble a cave.  I love his version and creativity.  He also likes to sing “Jesus Christ is in the bat cave!”  Yes, Sammy, He is, because He is everywhere!

 

Speaking of batman, about a month ago we were in one of our local Goodwill stores; I was searching for some  jeans for Sammy.  But what we find are Superman and Batman, each $3.  We don’t buy toys often so this was a given to purchase.  While Tony and I were out shopping last week I see these two packaged together (the same exact toys) – they retail for $49.99!  I could not believe my eyes – in fact, I bent down to read the small print to make sure they were over the right price.  Yes.  What a bargain!  We would have NEVER purchased those for that amount.  I’m happy for Sammy he was able to have them for such a deal!

Captured by God’s Love

Last Sunday my Sammy came home with this precious necklace (for me) that says “I Love Jesus.” It was meaningful to me not only because he gave it to me, but because of what it said and that he gave it to me. It is my heart’s desire that my love for Jesus comes through and that others feel that love, despite my many, many, many mistakes.

So this morning I was up early enough to have some (alone time) with God. Going to Him with a particular need, I said “Father, what are we going to do about that.” Immediately came to mind the verse “Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Prov. 3:3) I hugged that verse, if you know what I mean. I DID need to not allow love nor faithfulness leave me – and to put them around my neck (to be displayed through my actions/words) and write them on my heart (remember; cling to; inner determination and fortitude).

So this morning Sammy brings me my necklace. And my verse came to mind – as my necklace “I Love Jesus”, was now bound around my neck. Loved it.

God again loved on me through what I considered a miracle. I had dropped off (old) black and white negatives last Thursday at Walmart. They are of my grandparents and it was hard relinquishing them. At the last minute I said “Hey! Let’s put them on a CD!” Anyhow, long story short. They weren’t suppose to arrive until the 28th – thus delaying on of my mother’s gifts (gasp!). I did not know of such a delay when I dropped them off. I sent up a quick prayer, for He is in all things. I made a call – no luck. So I’ll have to wait and stick a note in a giftbox for my mom. He came through – with photos. Photos. Inconsequential, or seemingly in the scheme of life. But He did it for me and I KNOW He’s ecstatic over delighting me with this surprise! Photos. Part of me is perplexed by His care – but the other part of me totally gets it. He’s in charge. Even if that hadn’t come through early, He knows that I know He’s in charge. Grace. Pure Grace. And He knows that in light of His ability to pull off early delivered photos, He’s speaking volumes to me about the other things on my heart I want to give up hope on. So I’ll give those seemingly hopeless things/thoughts/desires to Him – and wait. Knowing He can and He will when it’s time. And even if He doesn’t, He knows I’ll still believe in Him, on Him, and proclaim His faithfulness to all generations.

Shopping Day

I have 5 minutes at the computer – I’m about to zonk out!  I’ve been going since 7am this morning, and could keep going if my ‘ole body would let me! There’s still plenty to do!

Today Tony and I farmed out the kids so we could go shopping.  We had the best time shopping for our boys.  It was good that I had some ideas – most worked and we are both pleased with what we purchased.  I still have a warm up outfit to complete for SW, but Sammy is done.  Still need stocking stuffers, but that will be a quick grab next Monday when Tony’s home with the kids.  By the time we got to Walmart, I was near brain-dead and had misplaced my list at Target. 

The kids had a great time today – Sammy at Auntie’s and SW at MeMe’s.  MeMe has a new dog – a 2 month old Schnauzer named Max.  He is adorable.  Sammy got to visit with him and take him on his leash when we picked up SW.  It is such a God thing that my mom and Auntie live a block from each other.  When I see God, I’m going to ask Him “How’d ya do that???”  True Blessing. 

I was saved this evening by a casserole and garlic bread Tony brought home from something the other day.  I threw a salad with it and we had full tummies.  Thank you, Father!  From my Mom’s neighbor, I also received a food box today that has EVERYTHING I need for a meal I’m making tomorrow – by everything, I mean a chicken (for my spinach chicken enchiladas) and dry pinto beans (for my refried beans without the refry).  I have everything else.  And I actually have those things as well, but I’m also making the same thing for Tony’s shift this weekend.  My box also contained flour and sugar, a loaf of bread, a large can of yams, and I think 2 oranges.  I told Mrs. Charlotte she was Jesus with skin on!

Sammy and I finally put the lights on the tree tonight – I was very tired and started off snippy, but after a quick heart-felt prayer to Father, I was ticking right along and enjoying the process.  The both love the lights – Sammy couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful they were and that I was the best light decorator, and SW was giving his approval with many beautiful toddlerisms.  Tomorrow evening we’ll pull out some ornaments.  I’m not going to beat myself up, but I really need to get started earlier next year…or so I think?  I’ve really tried to keep it easy around here.

Tomorrow is another busy day. 

  1. Clean out the fridge
  2. Hair cut at 10am
  3. volunteer for Sammy’s class from 11:30-12:30
  4. Run by Old Navy and Michaels (I hope to do this Tuesday)
  5. Pick up kids
  6. Pick up refurbished table and Ice (not refurbished..) in Kilgore (I’ve got gifts in the back of the suburban – how do I do this???  The table, that is.  I picked up ice today since I forgot Saturday.)
  7. Cook meal and take to my SIL in Tyler who’s having day knee surgery (I must start cooking before this point…).  Remember to take books purchased for her reading pleasure while off her feet!  (I wised up and just sent Tony and the boys out the door to deliver – I have a good hour at home alone and I’m about to take a nap!)
  8. What are we eating tomorrow night???  Feed my family (I still don’t know this – it will probably be sandwiches/leftovers/anything easy) (They did get to eat – whatever they could find!)
  9. Trim the tree (The kids and I finally finished tonight – I loved their excitement.  Every night we have to turn all the house lights off and sit and look at the tree together before bedtime.  Love those kids.)
  10. Finish bags of goodies to handout to folks at Crest Care and make Pumpkin Crunch for their staff (I really want us to do this, but I’m feeling pushed at the moment to bake.  Perhaps I’ll run and get SF candy instead?) (I was most disappointed I could not make this happen.  I cratered Thursday night and did the wisest thing I knew to do – we stayed in on Friday and went nowhere – even Sammy was happy to stay home!)

I’ve been here longer than 5 minutes – and now I’m a little sheepish about starting tom0rrow!  I’m off for a relaxing bath and short reading before bed – I’m going to need it!

Where are all the trees???

Today was the day.  After a leisurely lunch at McDonalds it was time to head for the Danville Tree Farm.  We were delighted to run into some friends of ours there as we all were able to ride the tractor to see what we could find in the back lot of….where are all the trees???  As I saw the lot we usually found our tree in, there were maybe 20 standing….well, they must be going around the corner to the next lot.  No.  This was it.  In my mind I thought “There’s really no need for us to get off – we might as well ride on back!”  But this is my Sammy’s favorite thing about Christmas thus far, riding the tractor.  Sammy enjoyed going on a tree hunt with our friends while Tony and I looked around only to find 8-10 foot trees.  I sent him back to the tractor dude as he was loading up to make sure “Is this it??” – “Yep.  This is it.  We close tomorrow.”  Hmmm.  After riding back to the front without a tree, we saw two small trees we walked to and checked out – they were leaning…really leaning.  So we left without a tree.   NOTE TO SELF – schedule this earlier next year!

Here we are on the tractor headed for the back lot!
Here we are on the tractor headed for the back lot!
Me and the kids checking out a tree...can you tell it's over 6'??  I think it was 8'!!  Now that's a Chevy Chase Christmas tree in our house!
Me and the kids checking out a tree...can you tell it's over 6'?? I think it was 8'!! Now that's a Chevy Chase Christmas tree in our house!
Our friends found their tree!  Do you see any others around it????
Our friends found their tree! Do you see any others around it????
They are great brothers - aren't they cute!!?
They are great brothers - aren't they cute!!?
Now THAT'S the size tree I wanted!!!  I think they didn't quite make the cut...no pun intended!
Now THAT'S the size tree I wanted!!! I think they didn't quite make the cut...no pun intended!
So after talking with Sammy we headed for a tree lot near the mall.  I explained to him that I could only spend so much on a tree and that if we didn’t find one within our budget, we’d have to use the “tree in the box” at home.  I found a great $15 tree and Sammy liked the $25 tree, but in the end he decided we’d do the tree in the box.  So to home we came, I put up the tree in the box – and he loved it. 

Perhaps I’m looking for this perfect experience at the tree farm that I have yet to experience.  My kids will smile at the camera.  Every one will be happy.   Well, maybe next year.  We’ll try again.  A little earlier.

Our kids were asleep at 7:30  – wow.  Now that’s a rare blessed experience!  Although now Sammy is up and not wanting to go back to bed (he fell asleep on the couch while I was putting Sawyer down after he had a meltdown over pudding.)  That will be no fun.   Hopefully he will enjoy the “snowflakes” Dad just finished attaching to the ceiling…nope.  They’re monsters.  We’ve yanked em off the ceiling and now they are both howling at the moon – even with the door closed.  I’m sorry – did someone say this mom and dad gig was suppose to be fun???  Ugh.

Well, it took me forever to get my photos right.  My Sammy has just walked in to apologize for his attitude – this is good.  Poor kid – he has problems with his mouth like his mom and dad.

Away in a Manager

Shepherd Boy Gabriel welcoming Baby Jesus
Shepherd Boy Gabriel welcoming Baby Jesus

Yesterday Sammy and I decided to forego his naptime so he could go with me to pick up some additions to our nativity scene.  This year I was after a Shepherd to add, but while I was there decided to pick up the Gloria Angel as well.  The angel I have used in the past is from Southern Living and is currently laying on the counter in pieces, waiting for me to find the cement glue and fix her.  This morning Sammy was adament that I make the effort to rescue the Three Wise Men from the office closet.  They are also from Southern Living and were a gift to me quite a few years ago.  I think they are beautiful. 

 

 

 

He's the reason we celebrate!
He's the reason we celebrate!

I have waited YEARS to purchase a nativity scene because I was never happy with the face of baby Jesus.  Yes, that’s my past perfectionism at work.  However, I have learned that I know what I’m looking for and when I find it, I KNOW that’s IT.  Thus, there’s a lot of waiting involved since I don’t become obsessive about the hunt. 

 

 

 

Sawyer visiting with the Holy Family
Sawyer visiting with the Holy Family

So I purchased the Holy Family probably about 3 years ago.  It is made by Fontanini.  “The figures are made in Italy of virtually unbreakable, child-friendly polymer.”  Other than being quite pleased with how baby Jesus looks, that was the 2nd plus to this collection.  In fact, I think I saw this collection probably a year before I purchased it, knowing when I saw it that is was the ONE for me. 

 

 

When Sammy was little(r) I wanted him to be able to play with nativity set and not get crazy about it getting broke.  Now Sawyer Wayne is having his turn with it as well and it is precious to watch them.  The first night we set them out, Sammy took them down and put them in the Noah’s Ark boat, with the Webbles House and Barn, and they were traveling to their new home.  LOVED IT!  They were all back in the boat last night.

My only rules are the figures are to be returned before we eat/leave the house/before naptime and bedtime.  When I came in yesterday from my Mothers League meeting (which was wonderful, by the way!), I didn’t see baby Jesus anywhere.  So the hunt was on.  Sammy found him and we returned him to his rightful place. 

 

Jesse Tree and Nativity Scene
Jesse Tree and Nativity Scene

We are also enjoying our Jesse Tree.  We missed doing our Jesse Tree ornament and reading last night so we will double up tonight.  Sammy was up early so he has already colored his ornaments.  This morning at the table I brought our nativity scene and read to the boys out of Matthew (?) about the Shepherds and Angels.  We’ve also been listening every morning during breakfast and while I cook diner a CD I purchased last year that has the reading of the Birth of Jesus – it is lovely and so soothing.

 

 

He is indeed our Reason for the Season.  It is my hope to make changes each year, by His design, to honor Him as we celebrate.  It is so NOT about us or the gifts – it is ALL about HIM and the gift of HIS birth.  He is worth celebrating!