Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Midnight baking

Normally we don't stay up overly late as my husband likes to get up early to go and play basketball before he goes to work. But for the next two weeks there was a mandatory shut-down (due to the economy) and the offices are closed too. He will need to use up his vacation for this but we are enjoying having him around! So, we stayed up late last night and I caught up on blogs while he played video games, trying out the system he bought from someone at work that we will give the kids for Christmas.

Earlier that evening I had started pizza dough but my husband decided to run into town instead and pick up frozen pizzas so I didn't need to do anything and we were in need of some cereal and a few other things. I thought I would just put the dough in the fridge until the next day when I was ready to bake it.

Well, around midnight I decided to head to bed and opened the fridge to put something away when I noticed that my dough had risen up and out of the bowl! I was no longer in the mood to do baking but I couldn't just waste that beautiful dough. I ended up making cinnamon rolls and putting them in the fridge overnight. I baked them this morning and wasn't sure how they would taste as it was not a sweet dough typically used but they were quite yummy!

This morning Pete wondered when I could have made cinnamon rolls as I was still in bed when he woke up and he never saw me in the kitchen. So, midnight baking was kind of nice, as long as I can sleep in the next morning.

Snow & Weekend Ramblings...

Yesterday was a goofy day as we couldn't make it into church and we had been planning on going to see my nephew in his Christmas program. The snow here has been crazy and yesterday there was a wind chill advisory in addition to blowing winds. We had drifts everywhere and my husband got out the plow but ended up stuck in a snowbank closing off the driveway. Thankfully his parents were here with their 4-wheel drive truck and were able to pull him out later but it was also so bitterly cold. We found out later that one end of our road was drifted shut with drifts that were over John's head!

Our church Christmas program was supposed to be last night and we made the decision not to go as we have a 25 minute drive and there were white-out conditions. In addition my husband was afraid our driveway would get drifted shut again in the meantime. Thankfully it was ultimately canceled! The boys had been so concerned that they would miss saying their part. It will now be on Christmas Eve instead which unfortunately means their Grandparents will miss it. :(

We had a nice weekend with my in-laws and celebrated Christmas with them. The boys each got a pair of snowshoes that they were finally able to try out this morning, although it was still only 10 degrees. They received the game Blockus from an Aunt and have been playing it ever since. It is quite addicting and a challenge but fun. Their goal is to beat Daddy as he is really good (it's the mathematician/engineer in him.)

There is more snow in the forecast for the week so we will certainly have a white Christmas here (maybe a little overly white). I'll have to post a picture because the amounts we have already are amazing!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's About the Cross

School in Our Home posted a YouTube video with the song "It's About the Cross" by Go Fish. I had never heard the song but it is really good! I encourage you to pop over to her blog and watch the video and listen to the words that tell of the true meaning of Christmas.  Click HERE.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mittens and Sweet Words

The boys have needed new mittens and gloves as no one seems to have a match or they have holes in theirs and so they come in from playing outside with cold hands. You can never have enough mittens I have found! (Socks are the same way.) Last night I bought everyone a new pair. They were all happy about it but today Tank was beaming and so excited to go outside in his new mittens that he was "so proud of". When he was getting dressed in his snowpants and things he said, "Did you buy me these nice new mittens because you love me SO much?" Ah, that boy can flip a switch so fast in personality but certainly melts my heart with his sweet sentiments. "Yes, T---" I love you SO much!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Me and Cameras

I love to take pictures and have ever since I was a little girl and had one of those point and shoot automatic cameras with the cheap flash attachment you popped on and used until the flashes were all burned out. Before we got married we invested in a nice SLR camera that I really enjoyed. I never did learn to use it to it's full capability but I took a lot of great photos.

Around the time when Tank was a baby we tossed around the idea of buying a digital SLR camera but ultimately decided we couldn't spend the money on it when what we had worked fine. With time though digital was becoming the way to go and so right after Missy Blue was born we bought a small pretty much automatic digital camera and that has served us well, although I still like the quality of photos with an SLR much better. The ease of popping this camera into my purse or wherever is great. The downside is that is is also much easier to misplace. I have lost it a number of times now but it has always turned up at some point. This is due likely because my scatter-brained mind cannot remember the last place I set it down, especially when distracted by little ones.

 Well, it happened again last month and I was without a camera. I would say to my husband, "Oh, if only I had a camera right now." I borrowed my Mom's when I really needed one but figured ours would turn up as always. In the meantime my husband thought it was time for a new camera and so used a few gift cards he had to buy a new digital camera, even in pink! (Missy Blue thought it was for her). It was like my Mom's camera and admittedly had more options and would hopefully take a little bit better of picture as we still cannot afford to get a digital SLR. Wouldn't you know that our other camera turned up not a week later in the van of all places (I was sure I checked there!) but Re-Pete pulled it from under the seat. The kids claimed it as their own to take pictures with.

I was getting used to our new pink camera and trying out the various settings and had just finished taking the family Christmas picture. I popped that camera in my pocket carrying it around all day taking pictures of the kids with the tree, etc. Needless to say I forgot it was there. Later on Tank was taking a bath and I went in to wash his hair. I heard a "plop!" and had a sinking feeling as Tank lifted out my camera and said, "Ahhh, Mama?" I couldn't believe that my new camera had fallen into the water!!! I ran to dry it off with a hairdryer the best I could and went online to search for the fate of my camera. There were mixed reports but I found one that did say if it dried out enough it could possibly work again.

I put the wet camera on the fireplace to dry and my husband wondered why I had it sitting there. I didn't want to tell him at that point but my little Tank said, "Guess what Mommy did?" Can't that boy keep a secret? (At least for a little while?) He pretty much just shook his head and said, "You're not getting a new one". So, I tried every few days and the camera did turn on but there was still no picture. I assumed it would need a new lense and was going to price that out. About a week later I was using my old camera again and thought, I sure wish I could use my new one. I figured it wouldn't work again but I whispered a popcorn prayer as I ran down the hall to try it out. "Lord, I sure would love to have use of that camera again". I picked up the camera, turned it on and low and behold there was now a picture! I was so happy and relieved that it was not ruined afterall! Thank You Lord!

Long story but yet you know, God cares about even the seemingly insignificant things in our lives. Sure, I didn't mean to drop my new camera in the water and yes, I did have my old camera to fall back on but God knew the desire of my heart and he blessed me with causing it to work again. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

I love the tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree but it changes from year to year depending on if I have had a baby or not, the weather, etc. Last year Baby Boy was only a few weeks old, I was still recovering from the c-section and so we bought one from a tree lot and our son who is full of tradition, George, was none too happy about that. This year he began talking about cutting down a tree months in advance reminding us that we cannot abandon this tradition.

The day after Thanksgiving we had wanted to cut down a Christmas tree but my husband's back was bothering him from playing football the day before (he says he is getting old) and so we waited another day. It was a beautiful, sunny day . Not too cold and not much snow on the ground yet. We went to a tree farm not too far from here and enjoyed a tractor ride that took us to a field of trees. It didn't take too long to find the perfect one. It wasn't perfectly shaped but it was tall and full and so my husband and George began working to cut it down. Timber!

Unfortunately the tractor had problems and so we were stuck out there for awhile. We debated hiking back and pulling the tree behind us but the kids enjoyed throwing snowballs and running around and so we waited.

Our tree is much larger than I had thought but it fits. I only dreaded putting the lights on. In the beginning of our marriage I was quite particular about how the lights went on which is something I got from my mother. I would wrap them around up and down each branch and make sure there weren't any dangling down. Beautiful! But, with time and more children and maybe larger trees also, I gave up on that. Especially since I would get tired of hearing the children say "How much longer?"

I can remember the days when I was a child and my sister and I would sit watching my Mom put lights on the tree just itching to put ornaments on and often would end up having to wait until the next day! What, and I still struggle with patience?  This year I decided to throw them on as neatly as I could and make sure it was covered so that when I squint my eyes I don't see any holes where lights should be. It worked out well, although I do have quite a few dangling cords but when the lights are dimmed no one knows the difference and the children surely don't care.

So, we decorated the tree and it looked wonderful. I only needed to put a few more at the top as we need a ladder for that. Not long after I heard a crash and knew immediately that the tree had fallen down. This happened to us last year also, but not on the day we put it up! My husband had planned on wiring this one to the wall but a little too late. Thankfully, no one was hurt as no one had even been in the room. I was mad for a moment and then cried too as I found ornaments that had broken. It wasn't that the ornament was broken so much as the memories that a particular one conjured up. My favorite was broken last year and this year dangling glass bells that were my Grandma's broke and that was hard. But, I know memories are in my heart and not in an ornament and so it is okay and I talked to the boys about that. Our tree is now wired to the curtain rods and looks beautiful. Baby Boy is in awe of it and purses his lips in an "ooooo!" each and everytime he sees this huge tree in our living room. I love it!

Right now the song that is playing through my mind is called "The Perfect Tree" by Ray Boltz and reminds me that the perfect tree was not dressed in ornaments but it was the tree that Jesus laid his life down on - a gift for you and me! I am thankful for the tradition of the Christmas tree and all of the lessons we can apply from it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Marriage fun for Christmas

One of my favorite websites is Family Life Today and last week I found something fun to count down the days until Christmas with your spouse. It is called Mistletoe for Marriage - 25 days of comfort and joy. Sound intriguing? It did to me and I plan to do as many of them as I can. To give you an example, tonights activity is:

Make some hot chocolate, snuggle up on the couch or in bed and read

Luke 1: 26-38

There is a quick link to Mistletoe for Marriage on this PAGE. Have fun!

Mayflower Meal

We began a new tradition this year that I found at Doorposts. I read about it and immediately knew that the kids would really enjoy it. Unfortunately, I threw it all together in a matter of days and so it wasn't quite as I would like but we had fun together and I think got a glimpse of what it might have been like for the pilgrims. We have been doing an overview of American history this year and I slowed down over the past months to take more time with this period of history.

Our meal began in the storage room of our basement which is the most dark and dreary room we have. The boys were so excited to be going on the "Mayflower" that they cleaned up the room enough for us to setup a bench for a table and a few areas to sit. We learned a few phrases that the pilgrims would say, such as "How do you fare?" (Hi, how are you?) and "God bye to you" (goodbye). The boys especially liked using "Pray pardon me?" when they wanted to be excused from the table later on in the evening. I had an ocean CD playing loudly in the background (until Baby Boy pounced on the cd player and that ended it).

Our meal consisted of hardtack, dried beef and beef jerky and beer to drink. We never do drink beer and so John wondered if I was out of my mind but it was authentic as the water supply on the Mayflower was bad and so they did drink beer, even the children. Tank wanted a drink and so I poured him a little bit and he complained that he didn't get enough. After he took a sip though he made a face and didn't want anymore. Everyone thought it was disgusting! "Eeeww!" We talked a little about the smells and sounds on the Mayflower and then proceeded upstairs for our Plymouth Meal.

This meal consisted of foods that the pilgrims may have eaten on a daily basis and all were new to our family. I made clam chowder that had good flavor but none of us were crazy about it. We used the rest of our hardtack to dip in the soup. We had bread with cheese and had lightly sweetened cranberries. Our favorite part was the Indian pudding but we weren't authentic as we had ice cream with ours but it was so yummy!

I hope to continue this new tradition next year and plan to invite more people to join us on the Mayflower. Watch for pictures later on...
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