Tuesday, December 23, 2008

College Christmas Party

Sunday night, we celebrated Christmas with our College and Singles Sunday School class. We played several games, one involving attempting to unwrap a heavily wrapped gift while wearing fuzzy gloves. That one was pretty funny! We exchanged gifts -- Secret Santa -- and ate lots of food, of course! I think the highlight of the evening for all of us was when they gave us our Christmas present. They had been planning it since last year. When Jeff unwrapped the box, I saw what it was and said, "Is that really a Wii in there?!" Yeah, they got together and bought us a Nintendo Wii! The kids were at Mom and Berk's, so I called Kaity on speaker phone to tell her the news. The college people got a kick out of hearing her reaction.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Race That Knows Joseph

The story of Anne of Green Gables has a strong emphasis on friendship, especially in Anne's younger days. She calls her friends "kindred spirits". In a later book, Anne meets an older woman who uses the term, "race that knows Joseph". That thought always intrigued me and several years after reading that for the first time, I came across the biblical reference where she got the phrase. Exodus 1:8 gives the moment in time that Israel ceased its period of comfort in Egypt, while under Joseph's rule with the Pharaoh. "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." So, the reverse being that those who were believers in God, who followed Him, were of the group that "know Joseph".

All that to say this -- One of the most amazing earthly gifts that God has given us is fellowship with other believers. What joy they bring with their "kindred spirits" -- we're one in the body of Christ! Our fellowship with believers at its best encourages us, strengthens us, and shows love to us. Of course, it's the Holy Spirit living within us as believers that gives us the ability to do all of those things. When we accept Christ as the living Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within our hearts, and we begin to show fruit of that -- love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. What better qualities could you ask for in a friend?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home School Christmas Party!

We had our Christmas party today, and it was a lot of fun! The moms all brought brunch dishes to share -- talk about yummy! We had doughnuts and breads and breakfast casseroles, fruit, and muffins. The children made two different ornaments and the kids and the moms both had book exchanges.

I took some pictures of the kids before we left home, too. Enjoy!

Those are our advent stockings hanging on the mantle. The large stockings are, from left to right, Joe's, Mommy's, Daddy's, and Kaity's.

We had twelve families participate today, with about thirty children.

This is our pastor, Brian, reading to his son Andrew and Joe. (The boys are 5 months apart.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jeni's Pumpkin Bread

Okay, so a while back I hinted at pumpkin recipes to come ... Here's my recipe for Jeni's Pumpkin Bread.

1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans

Remove the butter and the eggs from the refrigerator to allow them to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350̊F and coat two 9" loaf pans with nonstick spray.

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy.

On low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Add the pumpkin puree and mix again.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together.

Fold in half of the flour mixture. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Fold in the rest of the flour mixture and pecans. Be careful to not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake until the loaves are golden brown and set in the center, about 40 to 45 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the center of each loaf; if the blade comes out dry, the bread is done. YIELD: 2 loaves

This is wonderful with Orange Pecan Butter – soften ½ cup butter, stir in 1 tablespoon grated orange peel, and ½ cup finely chopped pecans.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I really do love Christmas -- but I'm a Scrooge about when it starts! I have a problem with Christmas decorations being alongside Halloween decorations in stores ... I have a problem with skipping Thanksgiving as a holiday. I want to celebrate Christmas in December (even though Jesus was probably born in April!). Kidding aside, I want Christmas to be special, and it's just not special and set-apart when it starts in October! Now I am stepping down off of my soapbox.

I put up the advent calendar yesterday! In our house, we use tiny stockings to count down the days. Several years ago, I sewed buttons and beads and ribbons and things onto the fold at the top of infant socks. Each one has pompom or a jingle bell at the toe. I used mini clothes pins to attach them to gold ribbon. I'd show you a picture, but that leads to the next thing I wanted to tell you.

Our computer monitor died yesterday! On Sunday, our college people gave us our Christmas present (yes, I know it was still November then, and therefore before my "start date" for Christmas!) The present was a wireless router for our computer! One of our college people gave us their hand-me-down laptop several months ago, and now that we have wireless, I can use the laptop to get on-line! Otherwise, I would be going through severe withdrawal symptoms right now. :) So, that means that I can't get to anything on our hard drive until we find a replacement monitor. :(

By the way, I'm sure you noticed the new layout -- I thought I'd celebrate the season by decorating the blog, too!