Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas: God With Us

"The virgin with conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"
(which means "God with us")
Matthew 1:23

At Christmas we remember that God sent his Son to to be with us, to be our savior, to rescue us from our sin. But the message of Christmas should not be limited to one day. It is a demonstration of God's purpose in creating each of us.

God did not create us to live our lives on our own. He longs to be with us, each and every day. His love for us is so great that He desperately seeks to walk through life with us, to see us through hard times and happy times. Most importantly, He wants us to spend eternity with Him in heaven. At Christmas, I pray that God is with you, that you have accepted the gift of his Son, and that you have put Him in charge of your life. As we enter a new year, take Him with you. He will never leave you and His plans are perfect.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Quick & Easy Sweet Treats

'Tis the season for parties, entertaining, and gift-giving so I thought I'd share a few yummy treats that would be great additions to a party, or make a tasty gift. They're all pretty easy to make and you may even have all the ingredients you need to make them already in your house.

Pretzel Kisses
Use your favorite flavors of Hershey's Kisses or Hugs to change up the flavor of these. Our family likes the Candy Cane Hugs and the Caramel Kisses.

Almond Bark Popcorn
You can customize this popcorn mix by adding pretzels, nuts, or candies. Adding colored sprinkles can give it a festive look for any holiday of your choice.

Toffee Cracker Bark (AKA-Barkin' Crackers)
For a good laugh, check out Helene's Helpful Holiday Hints where she shares the recipe for "Barkin' Crackers."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Around The House

It seems I am behind on everything this Christmas season and even though the perfectionist side of me is cringing a little, I feel pretty OK with it. I'm not letting the stress of the season get to me because most of the things that matter during this season, have nothing to do with the stress that often is associated with it.

In past years, I have my Christmas decorating done the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year, it was into December before it was finished and I'm just now getting it posted. I think this year I tried to simplify some of my decorating and I'm happy with how it turned out.

First, here is our finished tree, all glowy in the evening. That's how I like Christmas trees the best.

I was excited to use my antique cupboard door on my mantel again this season. It makes such a great background. Poor Rosie (our dog) still doesn't have a finished stocking. I will get it done!

I pulled out these tin plates that rarely see the light, even during the holidays. I decided to display them on this shelf, but kept it simple.

On the buffet in my dining room, I filled glass vases with ornaments and beaded garlands. I draped a small banner across the mirror.

In the entry, I placed my favorite Christmas stitchery alongside an evergreen tree. Underneath, I placed a collection of mittens and hats in a basket.

Here is the bookshelf in my living room. Again, I kept it simple.

My favorite Christmas display is on the corner cupboard in my living room. I pulled out different items that I don't always use and added in a few new ones.

The best addition of all is this old photo of my father-in-law with his sisters on a visit with Santa Claus. I was so excited to find this in a box of photos earlier this year.

I'm a little late to the party, but I'm linking up to The Inspired Room's Christmas House Tour. This is an excellent source for inspiration for your holiday decorating.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fabric Letter Wall Hangings

Not long after Lillian was born, I stumbled upon this blog post about a baby shower. I fell in love with the fabric letter wall hangings they had created for the new baby. My mom was already putting the finishing touches on Lillian's quilt, made out of fabric from American Jane's Punctuation collection.

I love all of the 1930s reproduction fabrics that are out there and they are perfect for projects for little children. So, I picked up a selection of fabrics and started to work on spelling Lillian's name out on her wall.

I paired up fabrics and decided on the sizes of the embroidery hoops. I attached the letters to the background fabric using Sewable Heat-n-Bond. Then, I blanket-stitched around the letters. To make them a little more sturdy for hanging, I added a medium-weight fusible interfacing to the back of each piece of fabric before putting them in the embroidery hoops.

They have been up in Lillian's room since earlier this year and I love them each time I walk in. You can use this same method with shapes or silhouettes instead of letters.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Time For a Tree

It's hard to believe that December is already here, and with it, the holiday season. December has started out mild, which makes outdoor holiday activities more pleasant. This Saturday we headed back to Oney's Tree Farm in Woodstock, IL to cut our own Christmas tree.

The last time we were here, two years ago, it was snowy and cold. It made for a beautiful setting and great pictures, but temperatures in the uppers 40s were much better this time.

We went ahead with our plans to get a tree despite the fact that John broke his foot on Friday afternoon.

His parents were along to help and he was determined to tough it out in the name of holiday fun.

Levi loved running in the trees looking for the perfect one.

Lillian enjoyed her ride in the backpack.

We settled on this tree.

John's dad cut it down, with a little help from John.

Oney's has beautiful Percherons pulling the wagons to and from the field.

Next, we stopped in to see Mrs. Claus.

We enjoyed hot chocolate and a few treats before Levi took a ride on the ponies.

The tree is up with lights on, but still needs the ornaments. Life's busy here, but we'll get it done and then I'll share a picture of the finished tree. I've also been working on decorating the rest of the house a little at a time. Hopefully it will be done soon so I can move on to other fun holiday traditions.