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Monthly Archives: December 2011

A Week Neither Here Nor There

Goodbye, 2011

This week – between Christmas and New Year’s Day – has been a time of reflection and anticipation. Other than an attempt to bring the house back into the realm of everyday reality, I’ve passed the time seesawing between the memories of the past 360+ days and the untouched, yet-to-be-lived future. A week stuck in limbo.

Thankfully, there were no huge disappointments or heartaches in 2011. For that I praise God. And I can say the same for goals met and happy memories made – no BIG news or life-changing events. Just… life.

Messy. Wonderful. Confusing. Laughable. Blessed.

That’s my life.

A part of me hopes the new year will remain much like 2011 – no losses, no heartache. While another part of me gets all breathless with the possibilities of a fresh beginning. A clean slate.

What will 2012 hold for me? For my family? For my friends? For my nation?

Pondering the answers to this question, fills me with excitement sometimes, and with dread at other times. Because life is like that. It hands out happiness by the bushel, and heartache by the truckload.

But this I know – whatever comes my way in this new year – happiness or sadness, laughter or discouragement, wellness or illness – God is in control.

He is in all of it. The messy. The loving. The confusing. The hurting. The blessings.

He’s there in each moment, waiting.

For me.

To seek Him out. To lean on Him.

He is there to walk with me.

He knows the way.

He knows my needs.

He knows.

Because each moment I live, every thing I experience, is part of His divine plan for me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Peanut Blossom Cookies

photo source: Hershey's Kitchens

A family favorite! This cookie is always served at our Christmas celebration.

48 Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

1. Heat oven 375 degrees. Remove foil from Kisses chocolate.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and allow to cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.



Vintage Saint Nicks

You have no idea how many times I changed the title of this post. Antique Santa Claus. Vintage Father Christmas. These are decorations from my youth! Labeling them as ‘old’, ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ is the same as slapping a label on myself. (Hush the snickering!) Without further ado, here are some of my Santas. Worn around the edges. Colors faded. Straggly beards. Trim in tatters. I love them just the way they are.

This Santa is on a wind-up base that no longer works. He would have spun round and round. He’s sitting on a gift box that hides the mechanism and possibly a music box.

This Santa in his sleigh pulled by one reindeer is made of soft rubber and rocks. A child’s toy, he’s the perfect size for small hands to hold, but is a modern day toy maker’s nightmare! The tiny bell with chain and fuzzy beard = choking hazard.

A handmade sock Santa with black leather mittens and boots.

This ornament consists of  just the upper half of Santa. The red felt has faded to a pretty peach. And, I have no idea who Marty Sprinczeles is.

This Father Christmas is one of my creations so he isn’t an antique, but the quilt used for his coat is a very old velvet crazy quilt. I trimmed it in mink from a coat rescued at a tag sale. His frame is a large tomato cage so he stands almost four feet tall.

Another one of my creations. This Father Christmas stands about 12″ tall. His coat is made from a piece of old red and white quilt and trimmed in white fur. He stands in a shadow box above my computer. One of my all-time favorite Christamas decorations.

Merry Christmas!

May you have…

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace:
The heart of Christmas which is love.
Ada V. Hendricks 

Christmas Memories

Just a few pictures from past Christmas celebrations. Happy memories.

 Wreath on the church door.

Serenity… anticipation…

Silly, happy, oh, no moments…

Festive feet

Cinnamon ornaments

Not-so-gray squirrel.

Merriment and smiles

And to all a good night…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Ricotta Cookies

This cookie is very sweet and cake-like.

Ricotta Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups flour
2 sticks margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
3 teaspoons vanilla

Cream sugar and margarine in a large bowl. Beat in one egg at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. Add ricotta and mix well. In another bowl mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder); gradually add dry ingredients to sugar/margarine mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes until the tops of the cookies are white and the bottoms are golden brown.

Icing Ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

When the cookies are completely cool: Dip top of cookie in icing and place on wax paper. (Add sprinkles now if you like) Let cookies sit at least 5 hours You may refrigerate them. Makes 8 dozen cookies.

I found this recipe last year in the Providence Journal’s cooking section. Not sure why they have to ‘sit at least 5 hours’. Does it have to do with firmness or taste? If you are a baker and know the answer, I’d love to hear it.

The 1 Corinthians 13 of Christmas

If I decorate my house with beautiful bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny baubles, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of mince pies, roasting a perfect turkey, and lay a magnificent table, but have no love for my guests, I am just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not have compassion in my heart for those in need, I am just another social service; it profits me nothing.

If I decorate the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes and attend a myriad of holiday parties but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to help one’s wife with boring housework. Love puts the Christmas present shopping on hold in order to run the elderly neighbour to the doctor. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has more expensive presents, or even coordinated Christmas china and table linen. Love doesn’t yell at the children to get out of the way; love is glad that they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, even irritating relatives. It believes all things, and encourages teenagers to aim high for their future. It hopes all things, endures all things, even a spouse who is depressed about their job prospects. Love never fails other people. Computer games will crash, even cashmere jumpers will wear out, and golf clubs will get lost. But the gift of love will endure forever. Happy Christmas!

I first read the above article in the Broxbourne with Wormley Parish Magazine that an English friend puts together for her church. The article originally came from a paper called The Church News Service, which is not available here in the United States.

Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past. Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.–Gladys Tabor (Still Cove Journal)

Stampin’ Up Festive & Fun Stamp Set

This gift tag went together quickly. The stamped image is colored in with markers.

The little elf peeking over the top is one of my church bazaar finds. The ‘Christmas Past’ room was filled with gently used and vintage ornaments. Don’t you love his chubby cheeks?

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