Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saturating myself with God's Word.

This year, I want to be deep into God's Word. There are so many little spots in my life where I could squeeze in more of Him and be saturating myself with Him and His Word. I want to learn to fill those places in with Him!

While working at Glen Eyrie, our director ordered a copy of the One Year Bible for each of us to read through together. I had tried reading through the Bible in a year before, but it never really worked for me. Using the One Year Bible, I have done it twice since then.

It was always a goal of mine to read through the Bible in a year - because I knew I never wanted to arrive in Heaven knowing God had given me those words and have to admit that I had never read all of them! I've pulled my One Year Bible out again to read this year for a third time.

I also received this for Christmas and have started listening to it in the car - I'm hoping to listen to the entire set this year.

These are just some initial ideas - I know that God will teach me new ways of saturating myself and using my time more wisely. How do you immerse yourself in His Word?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve?

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas! We did - such a great time together with family, I'll share a few pix soon!

Meanwhile, I am curious about what you do to celebrate New Year's, if anything? I'm wondering what we would like to make our tradition and am not sure where to start - would love to hear your ideas!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Awaiting Special Company!

The chili is simmering, the table is set -
and we are busy as bees making preparations!

More here.

Sweet Handwriting!

More here.

Merry Christmas!

Here is our family photo for this year! After all of your input on what top I should wear - I tried on lots of things and finally decided to go with the ruffle shirt and ruffle sweater, exactly what almost all of you said NOT to wear! It just felt right somehow -

My parents are arriving this afternoon! Preparations are underway and excitement is running high around here for our visitors and Christmas!

I hope that you all have a wonderful and special time together with your families celebrating Christmas - making new memories to treasure throughout the year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Handcrafted Christmas: Christmas Eve Jammies

Wow - I did not intend to be away from my blog for a few days, but we were hit hard with a stomach bug last week and it has taken me a while to feel better and get back to things! That said, we are all feeling better and back to our Christmas preparations!

Last night, I finished up two nightgowns for my little ladies to open on Christmas Eve! I used this pattern and some cute vintage looking flannel ~ here is a peek:

Samuel will wear a pair I made last year for his cousin - they will be new to him and handmade by me also - even if it was for last year!

Anybody else doing any last minute crafting?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Fun New Idea

The gentleman helping us with our tree at the local Lowe's handed my girls this piece of wood cut from the bottom of a Christmas tree and said that his family makes them into ornaments each year.

Emily was definitely listening to every word he said and as soon as we got home, she whipped out a marker and created this little happy face with her name under it. I wrote the date on the back and tied a piece of twine around it to make a hanger.

With her sweet handwriting - I think this ornament will be treasured for years to come!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Doctor Emily and Doctor Rachel have been providing excellent medical care to their babies for the past hour - I got so tickled at seeing this baby all wrapped up in a brown paper lunch bag!

More pictures here.

A Christmas Tea: Celebrating the Senses

We've been reading Where is Christmas, Jesse Bear? ~ and it sparked an idea in my mind about enjoying Christmas through a luncheon tea party that touched all the senses. Since my little ladies love having tea parties, this didn't take much convincing!

Taste: delicious lunch, yummy cookies for dessert
Sight: make things beautiful, something for the table, something from the yard, pretty dishes
Sound: listened to The Nutcracker
Smell: lit a vanilla candle and smelled our yummy food
Touch: did a craft together after lunch was over

Foam gingerbread houses were a gift from a ballet friend -
the ladies had a great time decorating these! What a fun gift!

How do you involve all of your senses during this special season?
Or, is that a new thought that you'll be pondering this week?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quietness ...

... values the simple moments of life. I love how Rachel's little feet are perched on the chair, I love it that her socks do not match, that her shoes are on the wrong feet (again!) and that she still has her jammies on at lunch time!

More here.

Spritz Cookies

As requested, here is the recipe I used for making my spritz cookies. This is from the Betty Crocker cookbook.

Note: I did use freshly milled flour as I do in everything I make. For most of my baking and all cookies I use a 50/50 mix of Hard White and Soft White flour. I tried all Hard and they just weren't quite right!

1 cup stick butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. flour (again, a 50/50 blend of Hard White and Soft White freshly milled flour)
1 tsp. almond extract or vanilla (I used vanilla)
1/2 tsp. salt (I did not use this)
1 large egg
food coloring

Cream butter and sugar together. Add in remaining ingredients. Press through cookie press onto cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 6-9 minutes.

Christmas Eve Dinner

I called our local children's shelter recently to find out about volunteer opportunities for our family. We already deliver cookies once a month - but I was looking for some other way to involve our children.

One of the options she mentioned was bringing a special dinner on Christmas Eve. I told her I'd be willing to do this and I would enjoy doing it. It is hard to know how to plan for these things, because they don't know if they'll have any children over Christmas or if they do - how many.

But, I thought I would ask your input just in case. I'd love to think of something really special to do for any children that might be away from their homes on Christmas. And, I'd love it if I could do most of the prep ahead of time. What would you take?

Build your own pizza supplies, decorate sugar cookies, something traditional or not? I'd love to hear your ideas! And, if it works out for me to do it - I will make sure to share what we decide on!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Baking ...

... spritz cookies with my Grandma's cookie press!

More here.

A Season of Quietness: Follow the Star

Our girls have been asking to go out to a dark place at night and look at the stars! When I heard of a live nativity this weekend - I thought it would be so fun to go look at the stars and then pretend we were like the wise men who followed the star and found Baby Jesus.

Well, things did not work out the way I had planned. It has rained and rained and rained. It is overcast, and did I mention it rained? We waited until last night which was the last night of the live nativity just in case it cleared off. Thankfully, it was not raining more than a light mist - but we could not see the stars.

On the drive over, we talked about the wise men following the star. We talked about following a pretend star and how the wise men met with things they did not expect. Like weather and stables and the King of Kings!

The event was not what we thought it would be - but you know, neither was that silent, holy night long ago. Before we went, I was feeling frazzled and rushed and thinking of all the things I still need to do before Christmas. But, after sitting in a small church program for a few minutes - my heart stilled and I was at rest.

Coming to the manger does that to us, doesn't it? At least it should. Maybe you'll have good star gazing weather and be able to follow a star to the stable, or to a neighbors' nativity scene in their yard. Or, maybe things won't go as you planned and you'll be reminded of the night God sent His Son to earth as a baby when there were many unexpected surprises for all involved.

Whatever the case - do come to the manger! Do follow the star!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tacos ...

... by candlelight!

More here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Leaf Piles!

I couldn't pick one photo today! Our girls have been longing for our leaves to fall from the trees - this week, it finally happened! And, we had fun playing in leaf piles this morning! Ever heard of leaf angels? They had fun making them today since we don't get snow!

This wasn't a "quiet" activity - but it is quiet in a way. It is a simple, fun pleasure at home. To me, there is a quietness in that.

More pictures here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Creation ...

... going to sleep for the winter.

More here.

Quiet Time for Littles

Sarah asked the other day about quiet time for littles. Two of mine still go to sleep in the afternoon, but Emily has been having quiet time only for a couple of years. Since I only have one child that has been through this - I know that not everything works for every child.

I hope you will weigh in and share what has helped you in planning a quiet time for your children.

To me, a time of quiet is important and not only to me for a bit of rejuvenation and rest time. I think it is important for my children to have down time. To learn how to be still and quiet, to learn to not be entertained for a time, to learn to spend time by themselves. As an introvert, I thrive on quiet introspective time alone. But, not everyone does.

Getting into a quiet time routine took a lot of time in our house. I tried all kinds of things to help the transition - but in the end, I think time was what helped the most. Training and getting used to what quiet time means.

Here's how it works in our house - everyone heads for quiet time at 1:00. We've had lunch and gotten wiggles out, sometimes we read book just before and sometimes we don't. Samuel goes down in his crib - with music on. Rachel goes in her bed - she requests no music. Emily goes into our den and I usually sit on my bed.

Since Rachel and Samuel still sleep - I let their sleep time dictate how long they are down. When they wake up, they get up! Unless it goes too late in the afternoon - then I wake them. Emily's quiet time is for one hour. I used to set a timer to help her understand how long it was - but, don't do that much any more.

Emily is allowed to look at books, color, cut, work on her handwriting, play with whatever toys are available in the den or rest on the couch. Usually once or twice a week, she will fall asleep in which case, her quiet time is longer that day. I don't necessarily require her to play quietly - just to play with what she has available by herself for this time. She usually spends a good part of the time coloring. Once or twice a month, I might let her watch a movie during her quiet time - but this is not our norm.

One thing I tried early on was to have a quiet time box and the toys in it were things they could only get out during quiet time. Puzzles, felt board with felt pieces, magnetic paper dolls, special books, etc... I had hoped this would be something fun to look forward to during quiet time - but it really was not a draw for Emily - so I haven't pulled any of that out in a very long time. I may try it again when Rachel outgrows her nap time.

I find that when I have some down time in the afternoon - it is very helpful to me. It allows me an opportunity to rest and refresh, to refocus and to have a few minutes to think clearly without many extra demands on my time and energy. I try not to do my chores and housework during this time, but to truly rest or do something I enjoy like crafting, reading, watching a movie, etc... This time of rest really does make me a better mama, more relaxed for the rest of the day.

I have extended quiet time beyond just a routine in our home. I do not answer my door between noon and 3pm (there is a sign on the door explaining this) nor do I answer the phone during this time (message on answering machine explains this). Our quiet times can easily be filled with noise even if it is not coming from our children.

It may help to start small. I was reminded while writing this that I started out by setting a timer for ten minutes and had Emily look at books alone for that time. Then I read to her and put her down for a rest after that. It has been a process of getting to where it is today - and I am thankful that we are in a good routine right now - but I know that these things are always changing. Rachel will outgrow her nap fairly soon I would think - so our schedule and routine will evolve again.

As with anything, only you will know what is best for your home and family. Ask friends for ideas and receive input, but then make sure to pray and ask God's guidance and wisdom in establishing a routine like this in your home.

Any thoughts to share regarding quiet time for littles and their mamas?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beginning ...

... a new tradition!

More here.

A Handcrafted Christmas: Skirts for the little ladies!

I am finally showing you the skirts I made from this pattern and this inspiration! After I saw the pictures, I wished the ladies had worn other tops - and they did the next time around, but these are the ones I have photos of! We had fun taking lots of pictures when we found a fun spot one Saturday morning.

I think they look precious!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Creative worship

Artistic worship in our home last night.

More here.

A Season of Quietness: Worship

We've been doing a Christmas project of some kind every day of December - but yesterday, I wanted to do something a little different. I was inspired by Ann's ideas here.

I created a bowl of dried split peas and vintage molds with candles in them - my first piece of art to worship Him last evening. This was also inspired by a basket of candles (for Advent) I spied at Holy Experience.

Next I put on some worshipful music, got out the art supplies - and encouraged my littles to worship God in art. To draw something that made them think of Jesus' birth, to think about Him. It was very quiet and worshipful for about three minutes - and those three minutes were precious.

We talked about worshiping God - they wondered if we were going to church. No, we can worship God at home, I said. I reminded them that God created art and we can worship Him by drawing for Him, thinking of Him while we create.

Emily started dancing around the room - I encouraged her that dance could worship God too.

I have labeled and dated the art created last night and will save them. I hope to create a journal or book of our creations over the years at this holy season.

Worship Christ the newborn King!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


More here.

M & M Cookies

Here is the recipe for the cookies I was making the other day, courtesy of Amy! It seems there is a group of people who like their M&M's mixed in and a group who like their M&M's on top - do it whichever way you like!

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. shortening
2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. salt

Cream together butter, shortening and sugars. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Stir in remaining dry ingredients. If you are mixing in the M&M's, go ahead and pour in a whole bag now.

Drop on ungreased cookie sheet, if you are doing M&M's on top - do it now! Bake at 375 for 9 minutes. Makes 7-8 dozen. Enjoy!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Fruit of the Season

Fresh from David's aunt and uncle's orange tree!

More here.