Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Our Christmas Tree

This year, we won our Christmas tree!

A local lot had a contest. They hid two coupons around town and then posted two semi-cryptic photos of the locations. J and I looked right away and recognized the locations. We were about a quarter mile from one, so Jordan ran for it while I followed in the car. By the time I got there, he'd found the coupon and was being greeted by an elf.

That weekend, we picked out a tree from the lot and it was delivered and set up by the friendly elf!

So much fun! And we were very thankful for a free Christmas tree, too.



Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

An Old Stove and A Recipe...And a New Stove

I got  a new stove today, replacing an old one that I inherited with the house.

The old one had been a good one but had long ago ceased being self-cleaning. Knobs have been missing for a while. None of the timers worked anymore, though one would set it's alarm off at random times. I am happy to have a new one.

It's Christmas time, so I have been baking. I didn't think of it at the time, but it seems fitting that the last item baked in my mother's last oven was a recipe she was famous for in her circle. I used her recipe, my copy in her handwrtitng, to make what she always called Pecan Pie, though it is actually made with walnuts. Here it is:

Three pie shells, ready to bake
1 stick of butter
1 1/3 cup of sugar
1 16 oz bottle of dark Karo syrup
2 tsps of vanilla
Dash of salt
3 eggs
3 cups chopped walnuts.

Melt butter over low heat in a medium to large saucepan. Remove from heat and add sugar, vanilla, Karo syrup, and salt. Mix. Beat in eggs one at a time. Set aside a handful of the walnuts. Add the rest to the mixture and stir.

Spoon mixture into prepared pie shells. Add reserved walnuts where needed.

Bake pies at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes and then at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

This pie makes a great gift.

Just to round things out: Here's my new stove. I am very excited.

Happy baking everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Jordan's Creche: 2015 Edition

Each year since he was about four, it has been our tradition to allow my son to arrange our Creche to his liking on the first Sunday in advent. Actually, we were late this year. We forgot, which was weird. But he did it on Tuesday of the first week.

I really don't know what to say about the creche this year. It is certainly different. The manger bed is outside the stable, on the left, empty and awaiting the baby.  Joseph is next to the stable on the right and Mary is in the right front corner. Everything else is wherever in no order. It is not as chaotic a jumble as he once did; the one described in Jordan's Strange Creche and  A Broken World ... Seeking Peace but it's certainly not as ordinary as Jordan's Creche for this Year.

It's simply unusual.

Well, very unusual.

But it's fun and shows the uniqueness of my teenage son. I am keenly aware that the time for this tradition is running out. It may be that Jordan is only home for the beginning of advent two more times. Then, we'll need to look for new traditions.

It's bittersweet. It's something to savor.

What are your holiday traditions? 

Jordan's Strange Creche
A Broken World ... Seeking Peace
Jordan's Creche for this Year 
Creche 2014 Edition

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Song for Sunday: A Way in a Manger

At church tonight we sang about the Cross. 

Yes, it's Christmas. Usually, more a time to be singing about the manger and Bethlehem. About Jesus as a baby. But, you know, he didn't stay a baby. He isn't a baby now. 

We commemmorate the incarnation every year because it's important. It's God with us. As we reflect on the birth of Jesus though, we need to remember we really are celebrating the anniversary (probably on the wrong date) of that birth. In human terms, Jesus is over 2000 years old; in spiritual terms, he's eternal. 

He came to earth to live with us, to be with us, to experience mortal life and it's temptations and afflictions. He came to die for our sins, to allow for our forgiveness. 

We need to remember that in the midst of cute pageants and carols. 

We also need to remember he loves us and that is why "He made a way in a manger to make a way to the cross."

Enjoy this link to a beautiful reminder of this truth. 

Words and music by Lee Black and Steve Merkel. Performed by Candi Pearson Shelton. 

What Christmas song touches your heart?

I was introduced to this song when it was song by a young woman at the Christian Youth Conference. She sang it at the talent show. On her first attempt she was overwhelmed by stagefright. People surrounded her with support and a little while later she tried again. At the end the teen audience rose to their feet and cheered not only her beautiful singing voice but also her courage to try again. This song is special to me both because of this story and because of it's intrinsic meaning.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Recipe (for saving bread scraps)

When I make bread stuffing, I end up with crusts and loaf ends leftover, so I make this bread pudding. Easy, yummy, and keeps food out of the garbage.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Put bread scraps and about 1/4 cup of raisins per loaf's worth of scraps in a casserole dish.

In a saucepan warm about 1 cup of milk or cream per loaf's worth of scraps over low heat. Add a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon of each works well.)

Pour milk over scraps and raisins.

Put in oven for about 45 Minutes.


What's your favorite recipe for saving scraps and leftovers?