No Room

IMG_3158You should see my house right now!

Oh. My.

On second thought – nobody should see my house right now.

We got home Saturday afternoon after traveling last week for Thanksgiving and immediately began to take down fall decorations and put up Christmas.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but we quickly ran into problems.

Like the love seat that is now sitting in the middle of the floor. We bought the sofa and love seat last January. We’ve never had a love seat before but it fit nicely in the spot where the recliner was – which happens to be exactly where we put the Christmas tree.

It was easy to pull the recliner around the corner every December to make room for the tree.

But a love seat, not so much.

It doesn’t fit. Anywhere.

It covers the heat vents and blocks doorways.

And so it sits in the middle of the room gumming up the works while Christmas piles up around it – 5 strands of lights, 4 glass ornaments,  3 window candles,  2 Santa hats, and a half naked live Christmas tree.

Ugh.

I should probably crank the Christmas music, grab the tape measure and fight the battle of the love seat.

Or…. I could brew some cinnamon apple tea, turn off the lights and watch Hallmark Christmas movies all afternoon!

It worked yesterday. 😉

Christmas Letter

I’m supposed to be writing our Christmas letter right now, but I’m just staring at a blank computer screen.

Maybe I’m still a bit brain dead after directing the children’s Christmas program over the weekend.

I’m not sure if I could correctly identify my own children right now, let alone describe in coherent sentences what they did all year!

But at least I have the family picture taken!

We took it on a horribly hot day back in August when Matt was home.

Well, actually, I should say “they” took it.  I made them get all dressed up, go to a nearby park in excessive heat and high humidity so Pedro’s special gal (bless her!) could take their picture –  while I stayed in the air conditioning. 🙂

I’m such a good mom like that.

DSC_0281She did a wonderful job – especially considering the hot, sweaty and slightly goofy group she was photographing.

Each with their own personality and quirks.

The girls had searched Pinterest for cool ways to pose.

But they didn’t always work the way they were supposed to.

DSC_0243 Gotta love the awkward group hug.

At least they like each other.

Most of the time.

But maybe not so much when they are sweaty.

And then there’s this shot…

DSC_0285It pretty much sums up the entire year.

Life with these kids is never dull.

Now to put it in words and get it sent.

And my mind goes blank…

Hallmark Addiction

800px-Flickr_-_law_keven_-_A_parting_gift...In the past I have confessed to you all an addiction to Hallmark Christmas movies.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I have not conquered this addiction. Actually – it has become worse.

I might have actually watched a Christmas movie in October.

But I recently learned that I wasn’t the only one who suffered from this malady.

An anonymous person close to me (who might actually be married to my husband’s brother and whose initials are a.u.n.t.j.u.l.i.e) recently shared this true story with me.

Working full time with 2 active sons she doesn’t have a lot of time to sit and watch entire Christmas movies – but she would frequently catch parts.

She saw the end of one particular movie that she greatly enjoyed, and was anxious to see the beginning.

Not having a way to record it, she had to watch it live. So she checked the listings and saw that it was on from 3 am till 5 am on Friday night.

Perfect! She always got up to go to the bathroom around 3 am – so she could catch the first part of the movie. (Because actually setting an alarm to get up 3 am was just too extreme!)

Friday night came – but alas – she slept through the night and woke up at 5 am,  totally missing the movie.

But not too worry! It was scheduled again for the next Friday night at the same time.

She spent another busy week obsessed with seeing the first part of this movie.

Friday night finally came – this time she went one step further and had the TV turned to the Hallmark Channel before she went to sleep to save time.

She woke up right at 3 and rushed downstairs.  The few seconds the TV took to warm up seemed like an eternity – but finally – there it was – the long awaited movie.

Her husband found her there – on the couch, in a dark family room, wrapped up in a quilt, engrossed in a Hallmark Christmas movie at 4 am.

That, dear friends, is an addiction. 🙂

Photo courtesy of law_keven

And It’s Over…

It’s over for another year.

The gifts were wrapped and unwrapped.

Treats were made and eaten.

Candles were lit.

Games were played.

Family was visited. Hugs were given. Laughs were shared. Memories made.

Jesus was honored.

And it’s over.

The tree is down. Christmas decorations are replaced by snowmen. Matt is packing and will fly out tomorrow.

Jan is back to work. Home school will start up on Monday. Dagmar goes back to her regular schedule.

And I am at peace. Christmas happened and I didn’t miss it.

Once again that baby in a manger became more than a sweet old story.

As we sang the carols and heard the familiar words read again – “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us” – all the preparations and distractions faded away.

And the real meaning of Christmas was once again written on my heart.

It was all about a baby in a manger who grew to be the Savior of the world.

My Savior.

Christmas happened.

And I was there.

Spiced Nuts

spiced nutsMatt’s coming home today!

Isn’t it interesting that we say he’s “coming home” when he comes and that he’s “going home” when he leaves?

I guess that’s the blessing of a beloved child.

You will always have two homes – one where you live  – and Mom and Dad’s where you will always be welcome.

To get this beloved firstborn of ours home requires a trip to the airport in the big city. So Jan and I plan to do some Christmas shopping in route.

Since we will be without children for the first part of the trip – it definitely qualifies as a “date”. 😉 So I whipped up a batch of these yummy spicy nuts to munch on in the car.

With so many sweets around during the holidays – sometimes a little spice just hits the spot.

They are super fast to make – and disappear almost as quickly!

Spiced Nuts

1 cup raw nuts (I used almonds, but cashews, pecans, walnuts, or even peanuts would also work – just make sure they are raw!)
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss all the ingredients together and bake until lightly toasted – about 15- 20 minutes. Watch them carefully – some nuts toast faster than others!

This recipe easily doubles, or triples.

Enjoy!

For all you THMer’s – this is a solid and very satisfying S.

I’ve linked this post with Trim Healthy Tuesday on Gwen’s Nest.

A Tale of Christmas Greens

tale of Christmas greensTwas a cold day in December when the lady of the place,

Decided she needed  some Christmas greens  to fill an empty place.

So dressed up very warmly, with boots so she wouldn’t fall,

She found her handsome husband, looking rugged in coveralls.

Hand in hand together, they headed through the snow,

When suddenly they heard a noise that made them say “Oh no!”

They turned around in horror and saw to their dismay,

They were being followed by a piglet, out of his pen that day.

“Go back you pesky varmint” yelled the woman of the place.

But that curious little piglet just kept right up with their pace.

She waved her hands and stomped her feet but it was of no avail.

That piglet would not turn around, for he thought her basket was a pail.

And pails mean food in a piggy’s world, so he kept up with their gait.

And with a sigh they realized, they had to take a piglet on their date.

December Check-Off

Okay – be honest now – how many of you see December as a month of check-offs? I will confess that I found myself doing that very thing this week.

4H Christmas Party. Check.

Take Sunday School kids to nursing home. Check.

Make sugar cookies. Check.

Ugly Christmas Sweater party. Check.

Decorate Christmas tree. Check.

Our lists are long. Our responsibilities many.

christmas reset

Buy Christmas gifts.

Plan menus.

Bake more sugar cookies.

Children’s Christmas program.

Find stocking stuffers.

Write Christmas letter.

Christmas Eve service.

There are special treats to make. Special people to bless. Special memories that we want to create.

But I don’t want my Christmas season to be filled with long hours stressing about an overwhelming list of must-do’s.Nativity

It’s time to hit the re-set button on my heart.

To take a deep breath and relax.

To be more Mary and a little less Martha.

To let the music of Christmas soak into my conscious – not just be background noise.

To glory in the incredible love of God – that He would send His only Son as a baby in a manger to redeem me.

After all, Christmas only comes once a year. I don’t want to miss it.

 

Bending Traditions

DSC_0017

Remember when I confessed to having already decorated for Christmas?

I left out one important detail – we hadn’t yet decorated the tree.

Traditionally, we decorate the rest of the house for Christmas, set up the tree, and get out the ornaments.

Then, after supper, we enjoy some amazing chocolate fondue and decorate the tree with the sound of dulcimers and fiddlers playing Appalachian Christmas music in the background.

But it didn’t work that way this year.

We got the house decorated and the tree up – but that’s where things went awry.

First there was the lights – most of them didn’t work.

Then there was the timing – between work schedules and dentist appointments, and eye doctor appointments and shopping trips – we were not all at the house at the same time to decorate the tree.

So it sat naked – with the few working strands of lights blinking in the evening.  If I turned all the other lights in the room off – you barely noticed the lack of ornaments. Or so I told myself.

Then there was the day we watched my friend’s two daughters – aged 1 and 2. I thought it would be great fun to have the 2 year old help me decorate.

And it was for a while. But, oh, how quickly one forgets the attention span of a two year old!

We actually got about a dozen ornaments on the tree before she discovered the Mickey Mouse one, followed quickly by the Minnie Mouse. She hung them side by side and lost all interest in any other ornaments.

She, instead, made up pretend conversations between Mickey and Minnie and kissed them every time she went by for the rest of the day.

Now my tree had a few strands of working lights, a dozen ornaments on three lower branches, with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, side by side, covered with a 2 year old’s kisses.

And so it stayed for several days.

Until last night when I determined to just finish the job once and for all.

Matt was in Colorado, Dagmar and Angel Girl were shopping, Pedro was at work, and Buddy was helping Jan in the shop – so I decorated the rest of the tree by myself.

Choosing my favorite ornaments, listening to my favorite music.

And yes – I’ll confess – eating chocolate pot de creme. 😉

I’m so glad that around here traditions can be flexible because this is one year they might need to bend a little. I’m thinking we’ll just enjoy the tree the rest of the season with whatever lights are still working and maybe move the chocolate fondue to Christmas Day.

But two things that are not moving – Mickey and Minnie.  They are staying right where my little sweetheart put them – side by side and covered with kisses!

Just in case she comes back…