Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Do you eat Pork and Saurkraut, on New Year's Day?

My blogging friend, Christine, mentioned about New Year Traditions in a recent post of hers and it got me thinking about something... I've been meaning to share.  So, even though I didn't leave a comment that day, Christine, this post is for you!!  ;)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

                                                       
First off I should say - it was ALWAYS our family tradition to eat Pork and Saurkraut on New Year's Day.  Who knows, why?  We just did.  Yumm!!

Kind of like we always have turkey on Thanksgiving...

Then, I heard or read this somewhere and I have decided to adopt this theory for my own....reason being, more or less, for a conversation starter.  Here it is...

We know that Poultry (turkey & chicken) need to scratch back(wards) to get their food, from the earth.  And we know that Pigs will always use their snout, pushing forward, in effort to get to their food. 

Likewise, we, at Thanksgiving - we'll sit back and reflect on our year - giving thanks for bounty, provision and blessing that we have recieved.  And so, for the New Year, we'll look forward... wondering, anticipating, making resolution for a new and fresh start, all for the approaching year ahead.

: : I'm not sure where the saurkraut came in, for this one, but who cares, that's what makes it "good eats"...

How about you? Do you eat Pork and Saurkraut for New Year's Day

I'll be honest, I went to the pantry thinking I had a can of saurkraut and lo, and behold! there was none to be had.  Now, I'm not so sure that this New Year will be....?... ((uhmmm)).

 Happy New Year Everyone!!! 
and have a wonderful weekend. 

And please, take the time, sometime this weekend, to reflect on Jeremiah 29:11.   It's just such a great promise from God to hold on to - at any time - but especially at the start of a new beginning.


Monday, December 28, 2009

What were all those sewing projects, again??

I thought I would show you all the sewing projects I was busily trying to fill orders for and  finish up before Christmas. 

This was an order for Scott's Aunt, Mary Jeanne.


~Winter Song and Snow~

* * * * * * * * *

The next two bags were also orders, for Christmas, from someone who had bought a bag from me at Thanksgiving.  I was so thrilled to recieve this phone call...


~ "Warm Wishes" ~


~ We gather together ~

* * * * * * * * *


These Homespun Baby! shoes, were an order from someone at our church.  Her daughter looked so cute wearing them (as I noticed) on Sunday.  They were a little big on her, but she will grow into them, no doubt. 
Made me feel good.

~Burgandy Plaid - Baby Girl~

* * * * * * * * * * *

This next bag was an order requested for a friend of mine's sister named Carol.  Her birthday happens to be later this month, but the bag was given as a gift at Christmas.  Because of the coloring and the lady's name happened to be Carol,  it just seemed fitting to name this bag...


~Here we come a Carol'ing! ~

* *I thought this was funny.  When Gail (my friend, Carol's sister) bought the bag, she told me that she was secretly hoping her sister would think it was too big, or too small or for some reason that she wouldn't care for it, just so that Gail could keep it for herself.  I told her;  "No worries!"  We will work on making her one, too.  Although it won't look this one - exactly - it will have her own twist on it.  And then I suggested that as sister's they could "trade" for a few months at a time.  She liked that, & thought it was a great idea.  ;)



* * * * * * * * * * *

These next two pair of slipper/shoes were out of an idea I had for Caleb and Aubrey.  BUT.  I needed to make a gift for my niece, Eva.  And so, this pair went to her.  Caleb's pair will just have to come at a later time.



And this pair went to Aubrey.



I also made up my own pattern for these crayon/marker rolls.  I have seen them all over the place.  But at the last minute... just decided to see what I could come up with on my own, without a pattern.  I made these for the other three little girl cousins to give, from the kids.  I used grograin ribbon for two of the girls gifts and for Gracie - the youngest of the three sister's who can't tie yet, I used round elastic for her to loop it around.  I think she can do it pretty easily.



 * * * * * * * * * *

And then.  I had my brother's name for Christmas.  Joel (19), is # 8 in the family line-up and the tallest - at 6' 6".  He had told me awhile back that he would like a Messenger Bag - sometime.  That was a little tricky trying to figure out how not to give it away (that I had his name) and get then handle of the bag long enough so that it would look right over his shoulder.  I would definitely say he was my guinea pig on this bag.  All that mattered was that he loved it.... and I'm sure there will be a few more orders in the future from buddies.



~Tall Order~

That said.  There was one more order for a Messenger Bag for my Brother-in-law, Stephen, that I did not get finished in time for Christmas. It's half done. Scott had his name for Christmas and already had other gifts in mind... so this is considered an I.O.U.
And then I realized as I was doing this post that there was another bag and a small make-up bag that I made that I totally forgot to take pictures of.  Oh, well... can't do it all.


So, there you have it.  These are the projects that kept me so busy and the reason why I needed to shut down my Etsy shop until the NEW YEAR!!  I even had to turn down a few other orders by asking if they were okay to wait until after Christmas.  God has been good.  This was certainly an unexpected endeavor...and I only am left to wonder how this coming year will go.  It's all in HIS HANDS!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

All I want for Christmas - and then some...

One of our own Christmas Eve traditions is that the little ones get to open up just one Christmas gift - which usually contains either Christmas PJ's or a new book. 
We got home from our Church Christmas Eve service....and they didn't need any coaxing to dive right in.




~the gift exchange~





Ahh!  New jammies... snow scene's this year!! 

You can almost see the "snow falling" in the pictures of the dump trucks on Caleb's PJ's  and Aubrey's are hot pink with little penquins & snowflakes. 

Fun!! FUN!!
* * * * * * * * * *
The next morning, was their BIG present.  We took video of them coming down the steps and into the living room ... You should've seen their little faces.
The rest of their gifts from us & from Grandma Susie are literally STILL waiting to be opened, because as you'll see the day just got too big...



As family started arriving to our home for the afternoon and evening - You can tell what a large family I have.
The gifts about pushed us out of the living room.



We drew each other's name back on Thanksgiving Day, and let me tell you... we need to do it sooner then that.  I did a lot of sewing for the little cousins gift exchange and for the people that Scott and I drew.  I will post about these projects later. 

Lots of GREAT gifts were exchanged... and I think Scott may have another great story for "Scott's Second Sayings on January 2nd.  We'll see what he decides to share...Stay tuned.

I was pretty busy tending to the setting up of all the food and doing that type of preperation that I was unable to capture any pictures of our food. Kinda bummed me out after we started eating when I realized I had forgotten to do that.

 We had quite the spread of:
*Venison Meatballs in Spagetti Sauce/Rolls  * Hot Chicken Salad on baguette bread * Stuffed Mushrooms * Veggie Tray/dips * Chips * Cheese & Crackers tray with pickles and olives * Ham Salad * Seafood Salad * White Christmas Punch (white grape, gingerale and vanilla icecream) *  Coffee * New York Style Cheesecake * Candy * Spiced Pecans * and a 3-tier tray of COOKIES!!!!
 The best part, of the evening, was dividing up the remaining cookies for everyone to take some home...




~Here is a goofy picture of all the little cousins~

* * * * * * * * * *

Merry Christmas and Happy 2010 to all!!



Warm Wishes ~ from our home to yours!

Chocolate Buttersweets...as promised!



~Chocolate Buttersweets~

: Cookie Base :

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 + 1/4 cup of flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

 Cream butter.  Add sugar, salt & vanilla; cream well.  Gradually add flour.  Shape by teaspoonfuls into balls.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets.  Press hole into center of each.
 Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes until delicately browned.

: Creamy Nut Filling :
3 oz. of softened cream cheese.  Blend in 1 cup sifted confectioners sugar, 2 Tab. flour and 1 tsp. vanilla; cream well. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup coconut.

Fill cookies while warm, with teaspoon of filling.  Cool. then frost with the following.

: Chocolate Frosting:
Melt 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp. butter with 2 Tbsp. water over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Add 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar; beat smooth.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

~Christmas Memories~



I thought I would just share a collection of Christmas Memories ~ most of them have to do with my growing up years, and majority of them happened on Christmas Eve.


The other evening as we were headed to the "Live Nativity - Walk through Bethlehem"... we were not very far from the church where I grew up... so I was telling my Mother-in-Law about our Christmas Eve's over the years.  It was a small Mennonite Church, that has been in this community for many, many years.  Many community folks know of this church because of its door-to-door outreaches; a Thanksgiving meal put on by the youth group, or mostly by the church coming by on Christmas Eve to carol ~ bringing along cookies and fruit baskets.

The family roots run deep with this church.  Both sets of my grandparents were married here, and actually were in each other's weddings.  Isn't that halarius?  My one Grandfather was actually a deacon of the church... so he really got to know the community well.  He died when I was two years old, so I don't really know much about him on a personal level.  I say all of that to say that I really mean that this tradition has been going on for years.

It would start with the older ladies of the church making 6-sided baskets out of old Christmas Cards.  They would cut off the fronts of the cards, cut out the shape,  glue two (wrong) sides together, paper punch them and then crochet the pieces together with red thread.  These would then be ready for the youth group to gather one night, closer to Christmas, to put them together as fruit baskets.



Also.  We (the youth group) would get together one night to bake cookies.  Batches and batches of cookies.  People would even volunteer cookie dough to be baked up that night.  ((smells wafting))  This was always such a fun time - and yes, even the guys got roped into baking and watching the ovens.
So, for Christmas Eve, the whole church would gather around 6:30pm, at the church, to go caroling.  It didn't matter; Bitter COLD, rain, snow, ~ you name it.... we were there.  We would all bundle up, pack everyone into as few cars as possible - and sometimes there would be as many as 15-20 cars- and slowly make our way around the back roads of the surrounding church community.  People knew we were coming... they would wait up for us.  Different ones would offer hot chocolate and cookies along the way Many times till the end of the night it would be 10:30pm or later till we were finished caroling.  .ahhh, but more fun was still to come.

I can remember if it was really cold - towards the end of the night - the numbers of carolers singing, out on the front lawns, would dwindle as we were getting too cold...or else we would just sit out every other stop so that we could warm up.  I can still hear the song leader encourage us to "gather in closer, sing louder - maybe the folks inside can't hear us- watch where you walk...etc." and he would lead out in a verse or two of 4-5 Christmas songs,  always ending in ...
"We wish you a Blessed Christmas, we wish you a Blessed Christmas, We wish you a Blessed Christmas and a Joyous New Year.  Glad tidings we bring to you and your kin.  Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year. "
  and then the whole crowd would shout out "MERRY CHIRSTMAS!!"... I am whelling up just thinking about all of this.  There is something  to be said about sharing with people in this way that is so endearing.  We never got turned away - unless, obviously, if the people weren't home.  This was just one way to spread the Gospel and it was just so much JOY! to watch their smiling faces, bobbing heads to the music and even joining in with us at times. 

Ahh... so heading back to the church/auxilary building was always so exciting for us, as kids.  We knew that their would be a blazing hot fire in the fireplace and that "someone" had made a huge pinata and had filled it FULL with candy.  And, everyone got at least two swings at it.  When the big guys got up to bat - look out!!  We all wondered; "Who was going to break the pinata, this year?"

For refreshments, there was always leftover cookies and fruit from the making of the fruit baskets... and hot chocolate and coffee for everyone.  Fun, fun FUN!!!





But two more memories stick out in my mind.  Two different years - but something similiar.  And that was one year we got home, as a family, late one Christmas Eve night... and (we never locked our doors when we left the house, back in the day) we about tripped over several VERY large boxes, full of gifts from someone whom we'll never know.  Another year we found boxes and bags of groceries in our vehicle... people leaving an impact on our family and blessing us in more ways then they themselves will ever know. 



God's Love - brings out the best in everyone... and it is easily relived through our Christmas Memories.  I can't wait to instill in our little ones - traditions and memories that will live on and on in their hearts...  As I was sharing all of these things with my Mother -in-law, and Scott was listening in as well (he was driving, so he had no choice) - I was immediately so overwhelmed with gratitude for my heritage and Christian upbringing.  I have honest memories that Scott does NOT share in... no fault of his or his mother's... it's just a fact of life.  He has memories too, but oh so different.  I just swallowed the lump in my throat and looked out the window to the passing neighborhoods that brought on more memories as we headed to ther farm where the "Nativity" was to be held... this was my old stumping ground... where I had my first job.... and oh, how the memories kept rolling.
I have one prayer request - please- Would you all keep us in your thoughts and prayers - as a family, we are all coughing/hacking, and have runny noses... ect.  Christmas is to be here at our house this year, and we all would like to be better.  thanks!

: :  What kinds of memories do you have surrounding Christmas??  Please feel free to leave a short memory in the comments, I would love to hear some of them. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

"I'm dreaming of a White Christmas"

What a wonderful weekend.  From one end to the other.  This all sounds sarcastic when I say what I'm going to say next.  It all started with NO HEAT in our house... when we woke up Friday morning.  We got the landlord involved as soon as we could but it really took all day to figure out what the issue was, and then when he and his son-in-law thought it was resolved - we had to call them back.  By now, this was pretty late at night.  We weren't sure if we were going to stay in our own home for the night.  But.  It all worked out, in the end.



Saturday, we were hoping for a HUGE blanket of snow when we woke up.  But, nothing.  Literally two minutes later Scott looked out the window... and all he saw was white - coming down.
Our storm was on it's way.   It snowed all day. Blowing, drifting (too dry for it to stick, too much, until...later) we acutally felt snowed in.  It felt cozy... I sewed on another Christmas order, gave both my boys haircuts, checked in with family who had to be out in the storm (driving)... we all went to bed (listening to the sounds of snowmobiles and 4-wheelers rip up and down our road)
 wondering what it would be like in the morning. 

Would we have church?



Sunday morning came with word that Church was still on ... not a problem... we were glad to go.  Scott just found himself thoroughly enjoying the John Deer tractor in effort to help our landlord plow us out. 
He doesn't get to do that sort of thing a whole lot.



We think we got about 5"-8"... we know that is nothing compared to a lot of other folks up and down the Eastern seaboard.  But it sure made everything beautiful... fresh, new and clean.

The afternoon cleared itself pretty well... meaning the roads, except for a few occasional areas where snow had blown itself across. It was just SO COLD. We still opted to take the afternoon - after lunch - and head out to do some Christmas shopping, afterwhich we knew we wanted to head to "the Live Nativity - a Walk through Bethleham", held at a farm where I used to work at (my very first job as "milk maid" - I like to say. 

So nostalgic, for me.
 
You may remember that Grandma Susie is now living in PA
(she moved here recently from VA) and so
(of course!) we asked her if she would like to come along.  We had a fun time!!

We knew we really needed to bundle the little ones up.... It was below 32* with a gusty wind....very cold, for babies.  However, they didn't complain too much.




For some reason, I didn't get a very good close up of Caleb... and in all actuality the whole event did not turn out very well, picture wise.  Oh well.  The experience itself was well worth it.






~Grandma Susie all bundled up by the warm fire~

The "Walk through Bethleham" was really neat.  They really made you feel as though you were there, in the streets, where vendors where selling their wares and children, soldiers and animals were all about.  The night sky was as clear as clear could be.  The stars were bright, the moon was shining... and it was COLD!!  (Thankfully, small fires were scattered throughout  the "town" for warmth and light). 


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I was left to ponder that Christmas night.  I doubt there was snow on the ground.  We only can imagine the COLD night it may have been. We know the sky was clear as there were stars.   The reality was and still is - HE CAME, as a babe... born in a manger stall...the humblest of all births... for us!

All Caleb wanted to see was to see the baby Jesus.  He kept asking for "Jesus".  At the end of the night as we gathered on the barn hill to see "the nativity" scene.  I had to lift Caleb up above the crowd so that he could see "the baby".  I was left to think about the simplistic nature of a child's heart... so longing... so intentional - finding anyway, he could, to see "the Way in a manger".

That is exactly the picture of how we are to be. 
As long as we don't leave him there.  We need to make room in our hearts and in our lives for him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So, back to the snow.  I am "dreaming of a white Christmas"... How about you?  If this snow doesn't melt until then, we just might have one, this year.   What do you think?




Here's Warm "White Christmas" Wishes for you!!

(Wow! Are we ever grateful for heat in the house.  Or what.?)

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Don't keep Jesus, in the manger"


The Christmas cards are in the mail!!  Yay!  That is, for the most part.   There are a few to hand out.... yet. 


But, as I was sitting here over the course of a few days, coming up with our Christmas letter content, my thoughts kept drifting back to a song, written by a friend of our family, several years ago.  It was a Christmas song, which when he would sing this song - along with his acoustic guitar.  It would always make me Stop. STILL., and just really listen to the words.  (Of course, I don't remember all of them verbatum)  But, these are a few lines that keep coming back to me.

"Don't keep Jesus in the manger...don't let him be a stranger...just think about the danger...." 

I think what really triggered this heart pondering was the post I had written, on Monday - "the (WAY) in a manger".   Feel free to go back and reread... there you will find the story of the Christ child...in Luke 2.

It got me thinking about current times where people, in the hustle and bustle of preparing their homes for Christmas, that they forget to prepare their hearts, as well (I am included in this) and they just leave HIM in the manger.  They never  STILL to take the time to invite him into their hearts and into their lives. 

Even after Christmas has passed... the tendancy is to go on and forget the rest of the story.  It's like he either stays in the manger or he stays on the cross.  These pictures get rivited in  ALL our minds but the fact that he never REALLY lives within the hearts of man is relative to so many - in that, he simply remains a stranger.

: : Oh friends, Stop. STILL.  Don't keep Jesus in the manger! 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!


:: Song lyrics credit to Steve W., a friend of our family.  Thank You!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now, about those cookies...

Well.  You were probably wondering if I was waiting for them all to cool down - before posting.  Just about it.  Sorry, this took so long.  LIFE - it sure does have a way of keeping me really busy. 

So, here's proof that (two of my) sister's, my Mom and aprons really were involved.




We really did have a wonderful day.  The kitchen smelled divine - all day long.  The little ones were having fun, especially Caleb, as he got to help a little bit.  We got him involved later with the Thumbprint cookies.  That way he could use his little big thumb.  And, what was so funny to us, was by his own initiation, he would say "Mush. Mush. Mush"... with every mush he made.  I do not know where he got them from, other then if we played playdough- I just don't ever remember hearing him say that before as a word association.  Good for him, for making me laugh.


Grandma and Caleb talking together over making
Sugar Cut-Out Cookies.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Here are the Berry Thumbprint Cookies, I told you that I would include the recipe for:



~Berry-Sage Thumbprints~
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. dried sage, crushed
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup blackberry preserves (I didn't have blackberry so I used Black Current Preserves instead. Yumm!)

Preheat oven to 350*.  In a medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sage and baking powder.  Set aside.
 In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar and beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg yolks, lemon peel, and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer.  Stir in remaining flour mixture. 

Shape dough into 3/4" balls.  Place 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Lightly press the tip of your thumb into the center of each ball (unless, your Caleb and you want to "mush" it instead).  Fill the center with about 1/4 tsp. of preserves.  Bake about 10 minutes or until the bottoms are browned lightly.  Cool on cookie sheets for about 1 minute.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 60 cookies.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


~Pecan Tasties~

My Grammy made these Pecan Tasties every year.  Even though we pronounced it as Pecan Tassies.   And when I asked one of my sister's (one who couldn't be with us on Monday) what kind she would like to see on Christmas, she mentioned these.  Happy to oblige.
As we were making them... we realized we had too much filling, and not enough little crusts - so we opted to make another round of dough for the rest of it.  Interestingly enough we acutally "burnt" the first round of cookies, so it was a good thing we ended up making a second "go around".  Well.  Then, we ended up with 4 extra little crusts and not enough filling.  Of course...go figure.  It was time for a savory snack anyhow!!!  So...

I decided to create my own version of a mini "cheese quiche" using the leftover crusts... and wow!  they were so good.   I ended up recreating them for a Christmas Party Scott and I went to last evening.  They were gone in no time, but I forgot to take pictures anyway.   I just filled the crust with a few pieces of hot pepper jack cheese, and made a mixture of egg, cream, salt & pepper, and some spinach herb seasonings.... so dainty, so good. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Then we made these old standby cookies.  Peanut Blossoms.
It's tough finding which recipe is soft, chewy, not too crisp or too crumbly...
My sister Martha did a fabulous job on these babies.

~Peanut Blossoms~



And, saving one of my all time favorite cookies to mention last.   Any cookie tray, in my opinion is not complete without a few of these scattered around.  The bright white of the cookies brightens up any tray and makes it all look even more inviting.  Like we need anymore of that, right?


~Russian Teacakes or Snowballs~




I am sorry that we didn't get the Chocolate Buttersweets made (I had promised a recipe on this one - I might get to it yet), and I honestly think some were made that I didn't think would or that I got pictures of ... like the Outrageous Chocolate ChipShortbread cookies (rolled in balls and dipped in red & green sugar), White Chocolate Craisen & Macadamia Nut cookies ...and spiced pecans.

We were really cookied out - till it was all said and done... but what a fun day!!  Now, the hard part is to stop to "tasting" them, just to make sure that they are all still okay.  You know?  I'm just saying...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Etsy Shop announcement ~ and lots of cookies!!

I had something else in mind for posting today... but I felt that this was more important, for now.

I have an Etsy Shop announcement... and I am happy to let you know about it, too.  Aside from the two bags left in the the shop - I have SOLD out of all of my bags, over this weekend. YEAH!!!  For one, the Pediatrician called me, after our Dr's visit last week (Remember?) and placed a sale, and two, Scott's aunt cleaned house - buying three.  Two of which are getting sent to Australia.   I am still reeling...

* * And, the two that are left, are a Buy One, Get One - 50% off.   The $10.00 shipping charge still applies.  This notice is only found, here!!!  I will make the adjustments necessary to make sure that you get this deal!!

So, I have decided that I absolutely need to take the time to work primarily on my own Christmas List now - and I have a lot of sewing to do for that as well.  Two messengers bags, another bag, 2 sets of shoes, and a few other crafty misc. stuff for the little ones and friends... 

I will be working on filling the shop back up come the New Year!!!  Special thanks to everyone for making my first several months so successful.  All glory goes to God, for giving me this gift of creativity and that with this gift I can just make something out of that to bless others.
                     ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Also, today is looking to be like a VERY BIG COOKIE BAKING DAY!, here at my house.  My mom and  a couple of my sister's are coming over today to make several kinds:
  • Cut Outs
  • Peanut Blossoms
  • White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
  • Pecan Tasties
  • Russian Teacakes or Snowballs
  • Blackberry Sage Thumbprints ( These I will be sharing the recipe for.  Remind me!!)
  • Outrageous Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolate Buttersweets  (This will be shared for sure, too)
These are just to name a few...  So, you can be thinking of us as the smells of sugar, spice and chocolate fill the air.  I think I have enough aprons to share with everyone....  and thankfully my brother Justin (who happens to be laid off of work right now) is planning to come along to help with the kiddo's.

 He, my friends, is the best brother in the world - when it comes to this type of stuff.  This was ALL on his own initiation.  Gotta love it!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

"(the) WAY in a manger, no crib for a bed..."



For awhile now, I have been taking the time to read a verse or two - sometimes a whole passage- with the little ones at breakfast.  I gave it a name yesterday, as our "Breakfast B*I*B*L*E club"... we sing songs and do hand motions with them, etc. 

Well, beings it is the Christmas season - how perfect-  to introduce the song; "Away in a manger".  They're little and do not fully understand, although Caleb is quick to mention "Jesus" whenever he takes notice of our Willow Tree Natvity.  So, I brought out this book to show them a picture of what we were talking and singing about and then I just started quoting Luke 2. 

And I share this, not to toot my own horn in any way, but I have been challenging myself to quote, from memory, Luke 2 :1-20, out of the KJV, just to keep it alive.  Over the years of my growing up... we would have memorized this passage for School, or Christmas programs, etc. and it has just stuck with me.  Praise the Lord! It's such a privilege to share this with them and a challenge for myself, not just to repeat the words, but to allow them to penetrate my heart and to gain a deeper meaning. 

Remember? I am working on preparing HIM room in my heart... Here is what happened this week. 





~Luke 2:1-20~

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn
.





 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 
And this shall be a sign unto you;

 Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.



 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."



After reciting the Christmas story, the phrase kept repeating itself, over and over in my heart; "and this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the baby...".  I, like Mary, was left to ponder that for awhile.  Why did the angel actually make mention of this being - a sign? and what were they to take notice of, exactly?

I wondered if the shepherds would've actually taken thought to the fact that the Christ child was really lying in a manger ... a very humble beginning ... for such a KING as he?... that perhaps, instead, they would've just barged their way into the stable not SLOWing, long enough, to see really see the WAY? 

The "sign" for me was significant, in realizing that I too needed to see the humility, he demonstrated.  Otherwise I wonder if I would truly know the WAY-today?  The challange for me now, is to remember to bring this point into the conversation every time (or as often as possible) when we talk about Jesus coming to this earth as a baby.  The humility with which he came speaks greatly of how much he personally desires a relationship with us, with me.  What could get more lowly or humbling then that? 


: : SLOW... enough to pay attention to the SIGN - in order to go- the right WAY!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This is all I have to say today...



...I think I NEED a few "round the clock"
baby-sitters!!!!



Dream on, eh? But hey, the "to-do" list is two steps forward and one step backwards.
So, at least, there is some progress, right? 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You were wondering??

If you were wondering where I’ve been, for several (unintentional) days… I have been enjoying the peace and quiet of no phone, due to our land line being down from our Saturday’s snow storm. So, therefore our internet connection was null and void, as well. I will say that I’ve missed checking in with all of you – a lot.

That being said, I have a lot of catching up to do.  Thanks for all the nice comments left in the meantime...

Warning: This could be a very long post!!



So, a lot has taken place since over the weekend.  I did something that I haven’t done in a very long time. And that was going out on a chartered fishing boat (fishing for Tog and Striper), in the Delaware Bay, off of NJ, with my husband, Scott and other friends and family. I did hint to this in my last (Friday’s) post… but I didn’t elaborate too much… because I’ll be honest, as of Friday I would’ve said; “I would much rather be home - sewing”. ;)


But, now, looking back… I can say, I was glad I followed through and went with my man. It meant the world to him, to have me along. I know that, for sure. I never got so many kisses, winks & smiles and little lovey, dovey gestures – all in one day, as I did on Saturday. ;) This has a lot of deeper meaning for me then for you all, due to the fact that I didn’t go with him hunting, last week on Buck Monday. At the last minute, I bailed (for selfish reasons), and it cost us a very “LONG, heart to heart” conversation. I am still learning how to live and love sacrificially to show my deepest affections towards my man.

I used the word “cost” when in fact at the time it felt like a cost, but in reflecting back on it – we’ve since discussed how “the layers” though they seem to just keep getting deeper (as we go along in our marriage), the reality is, is that{they} (like an onion) are only getting peeled back, layer upon layer. It’s a good thing!! It just makes “me” – not Scott- cry a lot in the process.

I might get a chance to redeem myself with the hunting gig this coming Saturday… depends on how the hunting plans continue to unfold, simply because Scott is hoping to get out again on the last day.



Back to the fishing trip….my cousin reeled in a beautiful striper, approximately 40” long and about 20lbs. My brother in law, John, also got a smaller one and we reeled in a few dogfish, as well –which are a type of small shark, albeit to say, it was not a very good fishing day. If you want to blame the weather, some would argue that fish like COLD, WINDY. RAINY, snowy days…they bite better. Which, in that case it was perfect weather! I don’t know…. All I know is that the one fish on the end of my line –and boy, it was a BIG ONE – took a bite out of my bait, and got away!!!!!!


Oh, and until we got home Saturday evening after picking up our little ones from a sleepover at grandma’s house (a.k.a. my mom)… we had about 3” of snow on the ground. Our first big snow storm of the year!! Now, we’re all “sick”.  Not sea-sick, just colds, swollen tonsils, sore throats and bad, runny noses.  Caleb has had a break out of hives over the course of the past few days, too.

Needless to say, I stayed home from church with the little ones on Sunday.  Actually Scott and I flipped a coin to see you would stay home because we both wanted to go to church, but we both had reasons we should've stayed home.  We just wanted to "be there". 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~



I told you last week that I had a total of four sales (just last week alone) with Bags by Bevy, right? Well, from the fourth sale – I got a request for two more LARGE bags to be made, for Christmas orders (add that to my already long sewing list). Those two are finished now, and waiting to get picked up (Pictures will be coming later).

I also made another sale over the weekend. My Aunt and Uncle stopped by for Sunday evening and dinner... we got talking about my business. And my Uncle Vernon fell in love with “Postcard of Olde”…. And thus my Aunt Becky now has “a gift” for Christmas.  She knows all about it, because she was having a real hard time "choosing just one".  That made me feel good!


~"Postcard of Olde"~
See, this is the perks of knowing me personally, you can shop (hands on) at my home, and not have to pay for shipping. ;) I just posted this bag early last week. I need to figure out how to “reflect” my sales on Etsy… All I know, this is getting really fun. I am also literally in the process of making a pair of Homespun Baby! shoes, for a little girl at our church. Her mamma picked a burgundy red plaid … they have been so fun to put together for her.

I think this is funny: We were at the Doctor’s yesterday for a scheduled visit, for the kids. (Good timing, since we’re all sick, anyway) And Scott just so happened to be holding my bag (purse) for me while I was doing whatever with Aubrey and still in the other room. Not even thinking about it. And the doctor says to him… “I don’t think the bag you're holding is YOU! However, I really like it.  Where did you get it?” and Scott proceeds to tell her that I make them… he gave her a business card and all the nurses are crowding around – as I now join the conversation and we’re all talking “bags and buttons".  I think I may have a lot of buttons coming my way. Several of the nurses were saying how they have buttons from grandma’s and whatever…just lying around. I told the ladies; “I’ll buy them from you!”


Anybody else…hey, the call is going out!
Do you have old, antique buttons and spools of thread? That you don’t know what to do with?

I will buy them from you.

Recently a relative of mine, just brought over several bags of upholstery fabric that she has gotten her hands on, along with some buttons. I asked her how much, I could pay her for them…she said, “Nothing! I just want you to make me a bag – after Christmas”.

So! You can do that too.  Okay, so now I've got to get back to the sewing machine...
Oh, and yesterday after going to the Dr's., I made a run (by myself) to Lancaster for our once a month grocery shop.  My brother watched the little ones for me.  Let's just say... what a few crazy, busy  LONG days (just in case, you were wondering)!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like ~ Christmas!

Forgetting about Friday's Finds for awhile - I thought I would reflect on what it's beginning to look like around here at our home, at least for the month of December. 


So far, it's been really hard for me to get into the Spirit of Christmas, this year.  I'm not sure why...exactly.  I LOVE Christmas!  It's my most favorite season of the the year, however I do have a lot on my mind, I suppose.  The "to do" list is rather lengthy, already, in regards to sewing projects and gift making. 

Maybe it's because I don't work at the local Christian Bookstore  anymore (I worked at one for about 7-8yrs) - that in year's past, that always "helped" to motivate the thoughts and actions of the heart towards Christmas.  But, I've been trying...

The beautiful Christmas music playing.  But... my CD player needs to get fixed.  It's repairable, we just need to fish out some dislocated cd's that somehow the kids managed to... `nuff said.  Otherwise, the stacks of Christmas cd's sit silent, and so, we settle for the radio.  Which is fine, too.  I like our two local Christian radio stations.

The decorations are out and up.  However; the constant keeping an eyeball on the "rearranging" that goes on with ornaments and other Christmas decor is beginning to get old, and oh yea!, I'll have to restring the Charlie Brown tree because half of the bulbs decided to blow on me yesterday.  This is all in the first week of going up.



Thoughts of food preperation has begun.  Yes! it has, but barely.  I have not been feeling well, almost all this week.  And there is loads of activities happening this coming weekend... that uh, have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas (It's called a chartered fishing trip in Open Water).  Yet, I'm thinking .... about delicious food ideas, and cookie baking parties, and well...because...

Christmas is at our house again this year!!  I have always had my immediate family over to my house, though not every year, and (this started after living on my own, and the Christmas after my dad passed away- close to 14 years ago), because I was the one who always had a REAL Christmas tree (if you grew up Mennonite, you would understand what I am talking about).  Except that, this year there is no real tree (due to lack of safe space for a tree) But hey, that's okay.  There is plenty of room for everyone to gather round.


I always liked to start my decorating the day after Thanksgiving.  Well, since being married to my deer-hunting Husband (Which I love about him. Don't hear what I am not saying.), the weekend after Thanksgiving now always means "prepping for hunting".  Sometimes, I go along, then obviously the decorating has to wait.  But this year, since I wasn't going to go along...I asked two of my brother's to come over, last Sunday, to help get the decorations down out of the attic (THANK GOD! for dry, clean attics!!) and thus began the "adventure". I waited till after Scott left for the mountians, and the littles were in bed.  I think I saw ten of one!  But, I was essentially finished, and happy about it. 


So, although it's beginning to look alot like Christmas, around here...  I realize I want need to; Slow. Still. and Seek. HIM this season.  As we're busy preparing our hearts and homes, let's work on our hearts and homes "to prepare him room".  I know I need to... I have lots of work to do.


How are you preparing?


: : More thoughts and photo's of Christmas, to come...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

HOWDY!

Well, It is a later in the day post, but I made the second anyway. How is EVERYONE???? We have been doing fine here. As you know I did not post last month that is for Bevy REALLY wanted to post our result of the Halloween Challenge. We took our own dare, and it turned out quite interesting. Bevy knows how to "back link" to previous post, but all I can say is you will have to go thru the archives for late October for the challenge and 11/2 for our results.


I am sure as you heard by now; I did not put a deer away this season (yet). I shot three and could not get any on the ground. The first was a doe that I thought I had totally missed. I found out later from a hunting companion that my second (of 2) shots did contact. He (Doug) had ran across the blood trail later in the morning looking for the Doe he and his father-in-law shot simultaneously (That was a loud bang) as they were on adjacent sides of a corner in the field and one ran between them. The rain though washed it away by the time me and my brother-in-law could go track. From the description of the blood, it appears it was a superficial wound anyway. The second was a buck that was on the very end of my rifle's range. I shoot a 30x30 with 170grain rounds. This give me about 40yds accuracy, and 70 yds top, this buck was every bit of 60yds away. When I hit him, he turned which lined him up behind a tree, and the next time I saw him, he was over a ridge that I face. When I got down later to see, there was a chunk of belly hair on the ground. John (my brother-in-law) is now calling me the barber, saying I just gave him a hair cut. The third was another doe that I took a crack at when she stepped out of a corn field on the farm. We never did find her as she took off, but we had piles of blood. Three of us for 2 ½ hrs (total 7 ½ man hours) tracked her and we never could find her. I had told Bevy, I pray the Lord places two doe and a buck in my cross hairs (that is what I have a license for this year)…..Prayer fully fulfilled…… I just forgot to ask for a shot that will take them down.



I am still doing my studying, and trying to get several items knocked out concerning education. A lot of this is me playing catch up, from stuff that I should have done years (8-10) ago. It does get very aggravating at times, but one exam at a time. I passed my last on back on Halloween. So while I am studying Bevy goes and sews.

By the way, in case you have not looked lately, there are two new bags at www.bagsbybevy.etsy.com  in case you have been there and wondering….”Gee, where is that bag I liked so much????” We have been selling a few out side of ETSY. So make sure if you have an interest in one, you don’t let it pass by; however, with that being said, there are always more to come especially since they are ALL one of a kind.



We have family news; my mother has decided to move to PA. Our children are her only biological grandchildren and she wants to be near them. We have found her a nice little first floor apt. in a farm house about 6 miles from us. It is as well in a VERY nice neighborhood at an EXCELLENT price. Neither mine nor Bevy’s dad are alive, so our kids only have grandma’s……so now they will both be close by.



Well I am going to let ya’ll go and sign off. I just wanted to drop in and say hi to all and let you know I am still here and working in the background. Until next month every one have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
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