Friday, December 22, 2006

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS!

I'll be back next year! :o)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WFMW~~7 Layer Dip

I have been making this dip a lot lately for our different holiday gatherings. I usually serve it with Tostitos chips. Here's what you need: 1 can refried beans 1 tbs. taco seasoning 1 cup sour cream 1 cup salsa 1/2 cup shredded lettuce 3/4 cup shredded cheese 1/4 cup sliced tomatoes 1/4 cup sliced olives Mix the taco seasoning and refried beans. Layer each ingredient on a serving platter. Chill for 1 hour before serving. Enjoy! Find more WFMW ideas at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

'Tis the Season...

... to be busy, busy, busy! This week we have revival services each evening. The evangelist preaching our revival meeting is Bro. Brian McBride. He has been "preachin' the house down" each service, and we're looking forward to what the Lord is going to do the rest of the week. It's been a real treat to hear the McBride family sing and play their instruments. They blessed our family with four of their CDs. We've been enjoying a CD of Christmas music today. During the day I have been homeschooling, preparing meals for our visiting evangelist and his family, finishing up my Christmas shopping, and preparing for company that will arrive on Friday. We're having a special choir presentation and a church fellowship this coming Sunday, too. Whew! But, it's a good kind of busy, if there is such a thing.:) I hope you all have a blessed week!

Friday, December 08, 2006

O, Happy Day!!

I wanted to update those of you who have been praying for Curly Girl. She is bandage free!!!! She is so happy that God is giving her new skin! I don't think that there will be much scarring, if any. We are continuing to rejoice over how the Lord proctected her. The burn could have been so much worse or affected her face or hands. Thanks so much for praying!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Practical Ideas for an Enjoyable Christmas

In a previous post I wrote about the importance of keeping Christ the center of your life despite the busyness of the Christmas season. On the practical side, there are some things that we can do to make the holidays less chaotic and more enjoyable. We all want our homes to reflect the joy of the Lord and not the gloom of the Grinch during the Christmas season! 1) Get up 15 minutes earlier each morning. Spend those extra 15 minutes in prayer. Maybe you already begin each day spending time with the Lord, but I know I can always benefit from extra time in prayer. Another way to spend those 15 minutes is to work on your morning routine. I can always think of things that need to be done around the house in the early morning hours before the children awaken. You can use this time to address Christmas cards, wrap a few gifts, or do a little extra cleaning. 2) Accomplish a lot each day! Now, most of us already do, but challenge yourself so that the important things get done. Too often I am guilty of procrastination. We can save ourselves a lot of stress if we are diligent. Give yourself a reward for completing an unpleasant task. It could go something like this: "I will not read another chapter in my book until I have addressed these Christmas cards, ironed three shirts, and wrapped five presents." If you have a pleasant goal to work toward, you will be motivated and feel a sense of accomplishment. 3) Make your home pretty, festive, and aromatic. Decorate your home for the season. Don't worry if it doesn't look like a magazine! Add some little touches to make the season special. I light scented candles throughout our home each afternoon when we begin our choretime. Play some beautiful Christmas music throughout the day, especially during your busy times. My children love to sip hot cocoa while listening to Christmas music. They've even been listening to it while doing their schoolwork this week! 4) Keep to your basic routine as much as possible. This will keep you even-tempered and will help avoid the big post-Christmas letdown. Limit the number of evening activities that take you away from home. Create some special memories at home this year. Start some new traditions! Children thrive on routine, so do your best to keep their schedule "normal." Some homeschooling families take a longer break during the holidays. This year we will be taking off two weeks since we will be traveling. However, our break won't begin until just before Christmas. I think my kids would go crazy running around counting the days until Christmas! Use a calendar to record special activites in which you are participating. Schedule time for you holiday baking and shopping. If you will be traveling, plan your packing ahead of time. There are enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that is needful. Cut out the things that aren't needful. Sometimes we try to do too much, and we stress ourselves out unnecessarily. The routine of church attendance and participation in church activities should be kept normal also. If your church holds Sunday evening services, don't skip out just because Christmas Eve is on Sunday this year! Be there with a smile. What better way to spend the holiday than in God's house! Live for Jesus during the Christmas season! Do the things that please Him!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Center of it All

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Have you ever started out the holiday season thinking, "This year I'm going to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. I'm going to put Jesus in the center Christmas. I'm not going to get caught up in the craziness." If you have, you're not the only one! We usually start the season off with the best intentions to keep things simple and centered on Him, but in no time at all our calendars are full and our wallets are empty. We all want to create the perfect image with the family snuggled up in front of the fireplace listening to Christmas carols while gazing at the beautiful tree, but that isn't always the reality. Too often we are short-tempered and overwhelmed with all that we need to accomplish. We have our list of Chistmas presents to purchase and wrap. Christmas cards are waiting to be addressed and mailed, parties need to be booked, menus need planning, Christmas baking needs to be done, and don't forget about all the Christmas decorations waiting to be put up! Before we know it, Christmas Day has come and gone, and we find ourselves feeling empty, like something (or Someone) was missing. It doesn't have to be that way this Christmas! We can have a busy schedule, but we can still keep Christ in the center of all of the festivities. Jesus had a busy schedule, too. He went about preaching, healing the sick, raising the dead, praying, and teaching multitudes of people. However, He always stayed focused on the Heavenly Father. We can do something that Jesus did to help keep us focused this Christmas season. What is it? PRAY!!! That may sound too simple, but it's what Jesus did.

Luke 5:16 "And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed..."

Jesus went into the wilderness so that He would not be distracted or disturbed. We, too, need to find a quiet place to seek the Lord.

Matthew 14:23 "And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."

At Christmas we are heavily bombarded with commercialism and keeping up with everyone around us. We need time away from all of that. I don't mean that we are to shirk our responsibilities, but we do need to "decompress." Just a quick 2 minute prayer each day isn't going to get the job done! We must schedule time to spend in prayer and the Word. If we do that, we will find that the Lord is in the center of all we do because our minds will be on Him throughout the day.

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I Peter 3:12a "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers..."

Do you realize that if you are a child of God, His eyes are on you? He is waiting for us to come to Him with everything. He knows what lies just around the corner, and He is ready to fill our cup to overflowing. He hears our prayers! He will give us wisdom and peace when we seek Him. I really need His guidance if I am to accomplish everything on my "To-Do" list! Let me challenge you, especially during this extra-busy time of year, to set aside time each day for the Lord and Him alone! When Jesus is the center of your day, you will never be disappointed. He will give you the perspective you need to keep Him the center of it all this holiday season.

Food Storage~ WFMW

Not too long ago the meat storage bin in my refrigerator broke. Within a couple of weeks, the vegetable crisper bin broke, too. Our one-year manufacture's warranty had expired, so it was going to cost $ 392.47 to replace the two drawers. Unbelievable!!!! I had to do something to keep the food from perishing, so I measured the space in the fridge and purchased two Rubbermaid boxes with lids. I wasn't sure how well they would work at keeping the food fresh, but I have been very pleased. I think that these containers actually keep the food fresher longer than the orginal bins did. These boxes are very handy. When I need to make a salad, I just take the whole box to the counter and have all of the ingredients I need without make umpteen trips to the fridge. Cleaning the fridge is much easier, too. When you have a yucky mess in the meat drawer, it is such a hassle to get the whole drawer out and smoothly put back in, and it is impossible to fit it into the sink to wash it. With my new storage containers, it is so easy to wash them. They are fairly lightweight, too. So, if your storage bins aren't doing the job, try using storage containers with lids. They work for me! For more WFMW tips, head over to Rocks In My Dryer. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Festive Cranberry-Pineapple Salad

I made this colorful salad for our fellowship at church. I tried to take a picture before the ladies started digging in, but I wasn't fast enough! This is such a simple dish to prepare, and it adds some festive color to the holiday table. Here's the recipe: 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) or 1 pkg. (8-serving size) JELLO-brand raspberry flavor gelatin 1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce 1 medium apple, chopped 2/3 cup chopped walnuts DRAIN pineapple and set aside, reseving the liquid in a measuring cup. Remove 1 Tbsp. of the curshed pineapple and set aside to use for garnish. Add enough cold water to the reserved liquid to measure 3 cups; pour into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Add gelatin; stir at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add cranberry sauce; stir (gelatin mixture should be thick). Pour into a large serving bowl. REFRIGERATE 1 - 2 hours or until slightly thickened. It should be the consistency of unbeaten egg whites. STIR in pineapple, chopped apple, and walnuts; stir gently. REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until firm. Top with reserved crushed pineapple just before serving. This recipe calls for raspberry gelatin, and Mr. C does not care for anything raspberry-flavored. However, he tasted the salad and thought it was delicious! I think the cranberries disguised the raspberry flavor quite well. I hope you have a chance to try out this recipe at one of your Christmas get-togethers! Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 04, 2006

A group of ladies from our church went on a special Christmas shopping trip Saturday. We loaded up the church van (your's truly was the driver) and headed to a town about an hour and a half away. We made our first stop at a huge pottery/floral/home decor wholesale store. You would not believe the wonderful prices! I purchased a fresh-cut wreath adorned with berries for less than $10. I think I could have spent the whole day at that store; it was the size of a small mall! We went to Cracker Barrell for lunch, and who doesn't like shop at Cracker Barrell during the holidays? I purchased a few items there and enjoyed a yummy Fried Chicken Salad. We finally made it to the outlet mall after lunch. It was very crowded, but not enough to make it miserable. We had planned to head home around 3 p.m., but we decided to stay and shop a ittle longer because we were having such a good time. We arrived back home around 8 p.m. I told the ladies that if any of them were late for church the next day, Pastor would never let us have another shopping trip! I don't usually plan long, busy Saturdays because I like to be rested and ready for church on Sunday; however, we made a special exception for this trip. I was still able to get out the door on time for church the next morning, but I was very ready for a nap that afternoon. Tonight we had our monthly ladies' fellowship at church. Each month we all prepare some of our favorite recipes to share, and one of the ladies gives a devotion. Tonight the ladies chose to bless one of our missionary families with a special Christmas offering. Our December fellowship includes a Christmas gift exchange. I came home with a lovely vase and candle...and a very full stomach! Mr. C enjoys the ladies' fellowships, too, because I always bring a big plate of yummy goodies home for him to enjoy as a reward for babysitting the kids while I'm gone.
 
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