{Day 23} Newspaper Snowflakes

IMGP1704These are the only kind of snowflakes I want to have this time of year.  I could tell you that I’m dreaming of snowflakes tenderly falling to the ground blanketing the world in white wonder, but the truth is I hate the cold and am glad I can wear my t-shirt today.  The grass is still green, the wind is blowing, but it’s not chilly.  The sun peeks its head out every now and then but otherwise it’s lovely.  But whether you’re shut in because of blizzard conditions or wish you could see real snowflakes in your window, do this craft with the kids and I promise you’ll have a good time!

All you’ll need is a newspaper, a ruler, a pencil, scissors, and string or ribbon.

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With your ruler measure out a perfect square (mine was 6″ by 6″) and cut it out.  Find some interesting pages of your newspaper, maybe with bright colors or an interesting picture.  Fold your square in half down the diagonal so it makes a triangle.  Do that two more times.  Then cut out interesting shapes along one of the open edges and along the folded edge.  Open and enjoy your snowflake!

IMGP1706It’s fun to see how your shapes turn into designs on the paper.  Experiment with different shapes and patterns on each piece of newspaper so each snowflake will be unique.

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Hang your snowflakes on a ribbon or string in a window or on a wall and as you do remind your kids (and yourself) that just like each snowflake is unique and no two are the same, so God made you unique and special.

 

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{Day 17} Holiday Baking with Oats: Warm Oatmeal Bread, Brown Sugar Oat Bread and Oaty Pecan Rounds

Yesterday we woke to rain pounding on our roof.  It poured like it hasn’t in I can’t even remember when.  The sky was gray, the house was cozy.  It was a day made to be spent in the kitchen.  For my birthday, I was given a hand-me-down vegetarian cookbook and I have quickly fallen in love with it.  Unlike many cookbooks now-a-days, it gives homemade, old-fashioned bread making a significant role in nutrition and in the rhythm of daily life.  This is where I got the recipe for oatmeal bread, best warm from the oven.  While I’m not going to duplicate the recipe here, what you can do is find a good, simple whole grain basic bread recipe and begin substituting part of the whole grain flour for whole grain rolled oats and wheat germ.  The coarse whole grain rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking) magically disappear into the flour and adding honey lends a perfect touch of sweetness; it is not unlike a “honey wheat” variety you would purchase at the supermarket, but superbly and incomparably healthier, tastier and fresher.

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Lately, my absolute favorite thing to eat is baked beans on toast.  Maybe this is due to our time spent in the UK, where this dish shows up pretty much everywhere, but it truly is something worth trying if you haven’t.  I know most of here think of baked beans along with Summer days and barbecues, but hot baked beans on warm whole grain bread (with butter of course) is wonderfully filling, especially for breakfast.  Instead of leaving Santa another tired plate of frosted sugar cookies, perhaps you could leave him this hearty dish (I know he won’t be disappointed!)

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I made these Oaty Pecan Rounds a little while ago, but they went fast.  They are essentially a homemade granola bar recipe sprinkled with dried cranberries, pepitas (soaked and dried pumpkin seeds) and pecans.  After they are firm and cooled you can use a cookie cutter or mouth of a mason jar to cut  them into rounds.

IMGP1668Even my husband got into the spirit of baking with me as we had to make bread for his work’s holiday potluck.  We thought we’d try something new and found a recipe for Brown Sugar Bread.  It begins as a basic quick bread- flour, eggs, oil, water, baking soda and powder, and salt with the addition of 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup quick cooking oats (I ground up old fashioned rolled oats into a flour). The result was so good, my husband declared Brown Sugar Bread our new Christmas bread tradition (with the stipulation that we could also have it every other week of the year!)

IMGP1681No Christmas season could possibly be complete without a day of baking with the family.  When I think of baking for the holidays, like you, I almost immediately think of white sugar cookie cut outs, smiling gingerbread men, artificially dyed frosting and sprinkles likely finding their way in all the nooks, crannies and corners of my kitchen.  But “holiday baking” can be something worth sinking your teeth into; something warm and nourishing.  Something filling and memorable.  Try it and you’ll see.

 

 

{Day 14} Send.

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We only sent a couple of Christmas cards out this year, but it was fun to watch Marlee help me “write” the notes inside!

 

{Day 11} Wonder.

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{Day 4} Light.

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“…let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.” Psalm 4:6

Christmas 2011

Our Christmas nativity scene

reaching...

got it!

Our Christmas table

Shh! Marlee's present (don't tell!) Two plush cubes I made with fun things to feel like beads, ribbons and lace

Merry Christmas to all!

Quiet at Home

our Christmas house advent calender

This not so chilly Monday evening finds me home alone, with my husband away on business.  The house has been so quiet, a bit lonely, but nice still, leaving me lots of time to work on finishing up Christmas sewing projects and wrapping presents.  I’m, of course, not alone though and my little bundle of a baby definitely keeps me occupied.  Oh, how I’m loving her more everyday!  I can hear her now I think, babbling herself to sleep in her crib.  I know she’s tired, and sometimes it takes a while for her to realize that too.  As long as she’s not crying…

I have so much to be thankful for this Christmas.  My family of course, and how incredibly blessed we are.  We never have to worry about being hungry or that we might not be able to afford our shelter.  I met two little children on my street this last week.  I learned they had a much sadder story than I, and my heart broke for them.  I so long to scoop up little children like these, carry them away in my arms and tell them they will never have to worry about anything again.  I’d tell them there is enough love and food and warmth to last a lifetime, and isn’t that all we really need?  I love to give, but anything short of giving lonely children a home they deserve doesn’t seem to be enough.  I hope God will settle my heart.  I know I cannot help every needy person, and He alone is the one who has power to heal lives and love enough to transform, but still…He lives in me and I can feel His love in me desperately wanting to spill out to those who need it.  I’m not perfect either, but I pray God will teach me to be content with what work He wants me to do.  

As Christmas edges its way closer to us, I hope you are finding quiet nights at home too, with some time to relax, enjoying the season and drawing closer to God.  

cloth nativity scene...almost done

...she's not too sure about helping mommy

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