"Our homes, imperfect as they are, must be a haven from the chaos outside. They should be a reflection of our eternal home, where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.” ~ Jani Ortlund
that I took the ornaments off of my tree last night, and today the lights will come off and the tree will go to become one with the earth again! It is sad as I love our tree every year...I am leaving the other greenery and lights for a few more weeks. I like the extra glow in the house at this time of year. Makes the 'bleak mid winter' not so bleak!
I am heading out with Tim today for his annual check up - he is taking me to breakfast - we love to go out for breakfast - and I need to get my photo taken for my license. I should have done it long ago....
Tomorrow is the girls last day of work until March. I am so glad that they will be around more - we have some plans, and Emily will get some time to focus on schoolwork only - that will feel like luxury to her.
We are celebrating quite a bit this week with Lindsay's birthday and our anniversary - so I may not post frequently...If I don't please know that I wish you a wonderful New Year! I just love my blog friends, it is a delight to my heart to read your blogs too. God has given me some dear friends through blogging. I am grateful for each one of you!
A few photos that Rachel took during last nights storm...
We have been talking of the New Year and some changes we would like to make for our family. One is that we have gotten very relaxed with our schedule until we hardly have one, except those who need to be at work at a certain time. So we have decided to make a schedule for us all...this will allow us to better run our day, and to keep up with daily chores etc...
Today I made some Double Chocolate Cookies, found at a blog that is new to me, but I really like it. You can find the recipe here.
These are the yummiest cookies! The recipe makes nearly 90 cookies, so I froze a ton!
I also spent some time today with a few seed catalogs, planning our garden for next year.Before I know it, It will be time to plant seeds...I need to decide what to order and get ordering. Last year, the heirloom seed companies were overwhelmed by orders. I want to make sure we get the seeds we would like to grow this next year.
We will be taking the tree down soon - it has been up since the day after Thanksgiving. The decision is only when to do it. Lindsay's birthday is Saturday, our 23rd anniversary is Sunday. Tim has the first week of the new year off, he is planning to work on getting more firewood. We have been heating the house with our woodstove and it has been great not to have to use the regular heating system. The house has been toasty, a bit too toasty at times! I am so thankful for the woodstove, I like my electric bill to be low.
What things are you preparing for in the New Year?
Rachel got a camera for Christmas. She was very excited. It is nice, just a point and shoot but very user friendly for a young girl!
It was a very sweet, relaxed day. No stress, just a neat time of giving gifts to each other and sharing love.
No one got an abundance of gifts, but the gifts given were loved and rejoiced over! It was so sweet to see Kyle excited over his dollar store army guys in his stocking... We were very spoiled this year by a dear friend, who is like an uncle to our kids. He spent Christmas Eve with us, too. We have a tradition of watching "The Nativity Story" on Christmas Eve - and just as the baby Jesus is born and the star is shining down on them our clock chimed midnight and Rachel said "Merry Christmas!" It was such an amazing moment!
Grandma enjoys watching the kids open their gifts...
Here they are opening a gift bag full of new jammies for the younger set...Kyle said "Mine have helicopters and airplanes!" So thrilled!
The latest Jonathan Park for the girls...
It was so fun to share Kamryn's 1st Christmas! She is half way to one now!
She really liked the paper the packages where wrapped in!
Nate and Kay got the younger girls a few games including "Scrabble." I can't believe we have never had this game before...
Rachel received a genuine Red Ryder BB gun, in pink. She is a very good shot!
Lindsay and Rachel took a Christmas day ride...
Kyle got a cowboy rifle that shoots rubber bullets. He loves it!
We spent the day playing games, shooting cans, riding horses, eating, playing wii, talking, loving on each other, and watching a movie. I hope you all had a delightful day.
The younger set and I are memorizing this scripture -
"It came to pass in those days, that a decree went out from Cesaer Augustus, that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing in Syria. So all went to be registered, each to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
So it was, that while they were there that the days were accomplished that she should be delivered, and she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him is swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn."
She has struggled with learning to read. It was so much fun to hear her last night. "I would not could not with a mouse. I will not will not with a mouse. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I Am!"
sits at the end of our hallway, we all pass by it dozens of times a day. I asked Lindsay to take some photos of it this morning, without the overhead light on, with just the string of white lights glowing...
Tim made my creche a few years ago...I love it.
I know this one is dark but I love the animals in the dim light...
Some years we don't put the baby Jesus in the manger until Christmas morning, but this year I put him out for the whole season...we want Jesus to be the center of Christmas!
I didn't put the wisemen out this year, just the shepherd with some of his sheep...
I like the shepherds face...
This big cow is a neat piece in the set...
Mary full of wonder...
Do you have a nativity? Where do you put yours during the season?
My family loves sweets especially at the holidays. A go to treat this time of year is a peanut brittle recipe (made in the microwave) from Emilie Barnes book "The Twelve Teas of Christmas."
This is an easy recipe.
1 cup of peanuts 1 cup of sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup white corn syrup 1 teaspoon butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking soda Stir peanuts, sugar and salt; add corn syrup in a 1 1/2 quart glass bowl. Microwave on high 7-8 minutes; stir well after 4 minutes. At the end of 7-8 minutes add butter and vanilla. Blend well. Return to microwave for 1-2 minutes more. Remove from microwave and add baking soda. Stir until light and foamy. Pour immediately onto greased cookie sheet. Cool 30-60 minutes. Break into pieces and store in airtight container!
It makes a yummy gift for teachers, neighbors, friends, and your family. Well, only if they like sugary, yummy, nutty goodness.
Did I mention I added semi sweet chocolate to the top? It's good - I'm just saying....
How thankful I am for my home! The place of my employment in all good things; raising my children, directing their education, helping my husband, cooking, cleaning, sewing, knitting, practicing hospitality, making a haven for my family, nurturing precious souls, reading, blogging, caring for animals. I am thankful for the calling that God has given me as a woman. I pray that I am worthy of it!
I was so thankful that I did not have to go anywhere yesterday, though I did do all the animal care. The chickens water was completely frozen, even though we have put it inside the coop!
We watched "A Christmas Carol" last night - the version from 1951, I think. Black and white. It was good, and the younger kids were able to follow the story because we had listened to the Radio Theater version a few weeks ago on our way to Williamsburg. It shows, so well, a life that is changed. Scrooge was so giddy at the joy of a second chance and because he knew he was going to be able to help Bob Cratchit and his family. That is the kind of joy we should have at Christmas! I have a few errands to run this morning. I will be bundling up very well...
Thank you for your comments yesterday. I emailed everyone back that I was able to. I so appreciate the discussion. Please know that I was not saying to not buy gifts - we do buy gifts for our family, my thoughts were more about entitlement.
Our girls work part time at a local Christian theater. This theater does fantastic, major productions. The girls jobs are in concessions. They were warned that the closer it got to Christmas the crankier the patrons would be. It has turned out to be true.
I find this to be incredibly sad. Are people so stressed that even while they are at a beautiful theater, seeing a wonderful production of the story of Jesus' birth, they have to behave in a cranky way? Or is it that we as Americans have come to assume we are entitled to special treatment? That hot dog from the oven warmer must be better than the one hot off the grill, because the packaging is warmer! Not even thinking about the fact that the ones hot off the grill are the freshest ones!
I have been pondering these things in my heart this season. I think that we have moved to an entitlement mindset. We deserve the best even if we can't afford it - our kids should get a trophy even if they weren't a winner....Is this why we go into debt to buy gifts for Christmas? Because we are entitled to that new iTouch or game system or camera?
I was listening to the radio yesterday and I heard the person say that they now see this entitlement attitude when people become believers. Instead of coming to Christ and being thankful and seeing how they can serve the Lord, they are looking for what the Lord can do for them. Because now that they are believers they should have wealth, health, no troubles or problems. I have found that I need to check my own heart. What do I have expectations about? What do I feel entitled to? I want to truly grasp that everything I have belongs to the Lord, including my finances and my rights. I want to pass this along to my children. During this Christmas season especially, I choose to opt out of the crowded mall, the crazy parking lots, grumpy attitudes, the idea that I or my family are entitled to more stuff than we can afford or even have room for in our home!
I choose to sit back, relax, shop online, pick up a few things here and there as I am out on my regular errands. I choose to make or buy things with meaning for the one I am giving a gift to. I choose to focus on celebrating Jesus' coming. I have been thankful to see that so many of my online friends are doing the same. Who wants to join us?
Welcome to Creekside Cottage! I am excited to show you my Christmas decor!
The centerpiece of our Christmas decor is our tree. It is the one "big" thing we do every year. I am still loving my red plaid ribbon and simple decorations.
My only purchase for this year. A painting from Kirkland's of the Nativity. Our goal is to keep our focus on Christ in Christmas, and this is a perfect way to do it. It hangs on the living room wall, across from the tree.
I always have some kind of garland hanging on my chandelier otherwise it would be completely boring. I am loving the holly and the ivy!
I bought this wooden trough a few years ago but didn't use it regularly. In the autumn I started to pile things in it and use it on our giant table. I love it! (don't pay attention to the fact that my kids have a paper turkey on the table...)
I used to have a more Victorian style with gold ribbon etc, but now I love a simple look with fresh and artificial greens, pine cones, candles, lanterns, oil lamps.
Sorry for the bad photo - there is just no good way to get a complete photo of this huge shelf my husband made for the wall over our stairway. The cute plates were purchased at Wal-Mart for $3 a piece and they say Peace and Joy. Very cute!
Our piano is a fun place to add seasonal decor. I like to use books to decorate, we are big readers around here. This book from Tasha Tudor is called "Take Joy" and is out of print. My mom bought this book when I was a kid, and I have always loved it.
A garland with lights over the door that leads to our deck....
A different glimpse of the piano.
I won't torture you with photos of the small trees in the kids rooms, and the simple touches of Christmas in the hall bathroom. I like to add a touch in every room.
Thanks so much for coming by today! I hope your Christmas will be filled with JOY at the Reason for the Season!