Here are some pictures from our Christmas celebration! We had a wonderful day, and we praise God for blessing Brad and me so abundantly! To God be the Glory in 2010!
As my daughter approaches the age of ten, I am learning that as she shows responsibility and maturity in certain areas, she is becoming capable of more freedom.
The big bowl in our pantry is full of Christmas candy right now. The big bowl is where the children go to pick out their dessert when we have candy. The other day Lindsay asked me if she could have some candy and how much. I told her she could have as much as she feels comfortable having. She looked at me kind of funny, expecting and wanting me to set a limit. I replied, “You will know what is enough.” After three chocolate mint kisses, she decided that was enough, and I was proud. She is beginning to govern herself in this small area!
Now, my seven year old son, on the other hand, is not quite ready for this kind of freedom. Yesterday Logan asked if he could have some m&m’s. I told him he could, “but do not eat them all.” He agreed. Later I laughed out loud when I found his small bag of m&m’s back in the pantry with all but two m&m’s gone! Although he did obey my instructions by not eating them all, I learned that sometimes you’ve gotta be specific!
“I love Jesus, I love Jesus” December 28, 2009
My three year old Luke just went through another phase. It seems children’s lives are a series of phases strung together which make up their childhood! As soon as they leave one phase, they enter another.
One day as I went to discipline my Luke, he urgently and passionately repeated, “I love Jesus, I love Jesus.” He was sweetly smiling and just adorable! I guess he figured Jesus would save him from this pending discipline, and I admit it was a weak moment for me. He did not get what it was he deserved for whatever it was that he did! I did laugh and share with my family how cute he was!
Then it happened again! And again and again, but I was strong. I was not going to let him get away with his disobedience, no matter how adorable he is or how adorable his words are! I guess he’s learned this tactic no longer works because he doesn’t say it any more, so I’m wondering what the next phase will be!
K.I.S.S. December 21, 2009
This year I’m going to K.I.S.S. my Christmas menu. What I mean is, I’m going to Keep It Simple, Sister! I love to cook and create delicious meals for my family, however on Christmas Day, I’d rather spend more time with them than with the turkey in the kitchen!
My husband’s mother and step-father will be joining us for Christmas Day, so there will be seven of us to feed. With help from my husband and children, we’ve planned our Christmas menu to be simple and delicious. I plan to do a lot of work ahead of time.
Our menu this year is turkey, potato casserole, sweet potato biscuits, asparagus, pineapple cheese casserole, and apple pie. My children enjoy their “special” drinks made with cherry juice and ginger ale, and of course, topped with a cherry or two!
I usually cook way more food than we could ever eat or even need, so this year I’m skipping the cranberry dressing, sweet potato orange cups, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and the jello salad. Simplicity is the key to really enjoying the day with my family!
Pumpkin Seeds and Apple Sauce December 17, 2009
Now that we are taking a three week break from school (yahoo!), I’ve been busy this morning around the house. My first goal was to cut open our fall pumpkins, remove the seeds, and toast them. Even in December, this treat was delicious! Mission accomplished…now I don’t have to vacuum around the pumpkins any more where they sat for a couple of weeks on my kitchen floor!
My second goal was to catch up the laundry…is this even attainable? I’m working on my third load right now and after that, every stitch of clothing in this house will be clean…until tonight when pajamas go on! Then the baskets will fill up again.
I managed to even vacuum the downstairs, move stuff on the stairs upstairs to its place, put a piece of ribbon on an ornament to hang on the tree, keep a friend’s little boy, dust, and discipline a child (mine, not my friend’s!). After fixing lunch for four and snacking on pumpkin seeds all morning, I decided to complete my lunch with applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon and warmed for 15 seconds (it’s like apple pie without the crust!). So that was my lunch…pumpkin seeds and applesauce! It was simple and delicious and most importantly, quick…for a mom on the move today!
Secret Snack December 16, 2009
My secret snack is Hershey’s Nuggets dark chocolate with almonds. Each nugget typically has at least two whole almonds, and I love the crunch after the chocolate melts around them. I try to get away (…from my kids…) and enjoy a few moments savoring my antioxidants before I’m found out. My secret snack really isn’t a secret because my children know all about it, but I still call it my secret snack. Lindsay, Logan, and Luke roll their eyes at me when I mention my secret snack, so now it’s a big joke!
When I saw this bear outside a candy store at the mall, I had to have my picture taken with him! His tee shirt says it all! “I never met a piece of chocolate I didn’t like!” Antioxidants rock!!
Christmas Traditions December 9, 2009
Our family, probably like yours, has lots of Christmas traditions. These are special things we do as a family every year to help celebrate Christmas.
This year we started celebrating advent with an advent wreath and the nightly reading of the book “Jotham’s Journey.” The story starts the fourth Sunday before Christmas and each night we read a little more of the story until Christmas day. We are enjoying this family devotion time, as it opens the door for great conversation about our sinfulness and our need for a Savior.
One of our favorite things to do is bake and decorate Christmas cookies. Last year, we made goodie bags of cookies and candies for our neighbors and included a gospel tract inside. Brad and the children delivered the bags and they were warmly accepted!
A tradition we have done since our Logan joined the family is acting out the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Lindsay plays Mary. Logan plays Joseph, a shepherd, and a wise man, and Luke, who has faithfully served as our Baby Jesus for the past three years, will be a shepherd and a wise man this year. Brad plays a shepherd and a wise man. I am the narrator and angel. The kids dig through closets to come up with costumes and props for our story. They really, really look forward to this special time on Christmas Eve! It serves to focus our attention on the whole meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus our Savior.
Also on Christmas Eve, we eat pizza. It’s quick, easy, fun, and everybody likes it! We have recently started allowing the children to open one gift on Christmas Eve. They can choose, but it cannot be one from Mom and Dad. Next, they do get to open a family gift from us. It’s always a new game! It helps us build our game collection and gives us a fun thing to do after dinner.
Each year, I give the children at least one new Christmas ornament. Sometimes it reflects a special happening of the year. For example, in 2006 when Lindsay performed in her ballet school’s production of “The Nutcracker,” I gave her a “Clara” ornament. This summer Logan caught his first fish during a family vacation, so he received a fish ornament. Reflective of the things Luke likes, he has ornaments of a firetruck, a bear, and a car. I write their initials and the year on the underside of the ornaments. One day when my children leave our home to start their own homes, they will have a small, cherished collection of ornaments to adorn their own trees. (And my tree will be pitifully bare!)
Another tradition is that Brad and I only give our children three gifts each, reflective of the traditional three gifts of the wisemen (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). With grandparents and aunts and uncles, the children lack no good thing! The three gift limit helps us teach our children to not lavish in excess and helps Brad and me avoid excess in our budget.
We also make sure that our family gives a gift to the Birthday Boy. We pray about an amount of money to give to our church’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. It is an offering collected during the month of December to help support foreign missionaries. We have lots of friends who are missionaries, and their work is near and dear to our hearts. May God’s Word go out to all the nations!
We may add new traditions as the years pass, but I hope these will remain set, for they are precious to me. Like Mary, I “treasure all these things, pondering them in (my) heart” (Luke 2:19)