The Greatest Hits of 2008

It’s been quite a year!

Since I won’t ever have a Greatest Hits album (thank God!), I didn’t think that should stop a recap of the year. Thanks for sharing these favorite moments with me!
DIYP (Do It Yourself Projects)
Sincerely ‘Fro Me to You
Because I’m Pathetic
And here’s to a fabulous New Year!

If you have a favorite, mention it in the comments and I’ll add it (Thanks, Valerie Lea for suggesting it).

Reader’s Favorites

The ICEcapades

During the holidays, we have a little family tradition.
It’s the day my kids wait for:  They love ice skating.
I can’t tell you why exactly.
It’s crowded. It’s soggy (it’s hard to keep ice frozen in the heart of Texas). It’s cold (in an effort to keep the ice, ice). It’s expensive. 
And it’s painful:

At the end of the day, we wrapped up our shivering, cranky children and assured them that were very good (!) skaters, just the best(!) and no, you hardly fell at all (!) We were forced to make our annual promise:

“YES, we will do it again next year.”
Which my son points out, “That’s tomorrow, ya know.”
Oh, yes. Another smart one. Great.

Happy New Year, Y’all.

Because I’m Tired of Letting It All Hang Out

I got new jeans ($17.99 Ross)!

And they have a little bonus feature.  I mean, can you really put a price on hidden tummy panels?
That’s what I call value and too many Christmas cookies.
This comes in handy since I’m not really into New Year’s Resolutions.
But if I was, these pants would not be necessary.

Christmas 101

So much for my resolve to not peek back in here until New Year’s.

I’m pathetic.
But I have to tell you about Christmas. It has been a great couple of days and I’ve learned some fabulous lessons.
You are never too young to discover or too old to participate in the icing leftover from Christmas morning cinnamon muffins.
Life isn’t as perfect as a picture. 
(I knew this already, but it’s worth repeating)
Our Christmas Service at church was beautiful. It was especially holy when my 2 year old grabbed my Communion cup and partook of the sacred emblems. It was even more special when she yelled, “Mo, bread, pease!”
That old saying, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”…..
Yeah. It works! (My son smiled to confirm the breakthrough).

This Santa has still got the magic touch!

As if Santa and Jesus’ birthday weren’t enough, we had the most delightful visitors knock at our door.
Uzbek Christmas tradition calls for surprise visits. Our friends from The Persecuted Church (dressed in their wedding garb) brought Russian candy. They were led by a guide and rode a donkey (see Eeyore costume). It was a highlight of the day!
The best gifts aren’t wrapped.

One of the best moments of my day was finding the above note tucked under my pillow from my oldest child. It was a thank you note for the coolest Christmas ever and she wasn’t even referring to the gifts.  Since she has gratitude-struggles, I don’t she could have given me a greater gift.
I hope your Christmas was full of joy too.  
I am blessed.
I will leave you with one more lesson…..
Sometimes you have to be nekid to find The Force.

That is all. Do enjoy the next couple of days. I’ll see ya in a few!

The First Nativity

I love nativity scenes.
Mine sits on my entry table as a welcome into my home and as a statement that I hope trumps all my other decor.
I love looking at Mary- looking at her baby. I love the protective stance Joseph holds over his son. 
I love the warm colors and the simplicity.
The elegance.
But the more I stared and contemplated this pretty scene this season, I realized something is missing.
The reality.
Can you imagine being a young girl of 15 or 16, escaped from the comforts of home with a full belly and a child you didn’t expect?  On a donkey.  
Can you imagine giving birth in a foul, smelly barn and being thankful you found a food trough to place your newborn son in? The good man she married, but didn’t know yet, delivered her son to an audience of cows and sheep.
The hay is blood-stained. The air is musty.  The dirty animals are noisy.
There are no knitted booties or helpful nurses. There isn’t a bath or even a bed. 
And there certainly aren’t clean, pastel flowing garments….
But there is peace.
There is hope.
There is worship.
There is a Savior.
And that is enough.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Enjoy this beautiful time reveling in Him. 

I will be hiding my bathroom scale in a dark corner of the house, feasting at The Farm and watching my kids discover the glory of Jesus and the thrill of Santa. 
I’ll peek my head in here and resume around New Year’s, unless something really funny happens. Which is entirely possible.  Thank you for being a part of my world. It wouldn’t be the same without you. Merry Christmas!
Food for the Soul:
“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”- Matthew 1:20-21

{Last Minute HomeSpun Christmas Gifts}

If you’ve waited until the last minute to finish up your Christmas shopping or you forgot about Great Aunt Edna, Homespun Christmas Gifts are still a great choice. 
Here are a few gifts that are easy to put together, but still show your thoughtful, albeit, tardy heart:
The gift of you
Don’t forget the best gift you can give to those you love: you.  Your time and attention are valuable to those you love. Create a coupon book, like this one.  Or make a commitment to a loved one to write more, be healthier, complain less. Sometimes we spent oodles of money and countless hours shopping, when all our family wants is time.  With you.

The gift of food
We tackled many of our teacher gifts in our kitchen. It was also part of our Advent Calendar, so I multi-tasked and got my kids involved.  If you don’t have time to bake, buy something like chocolate covered cherries and create your own unique gift wrapping with scrapbook paper and small jewelry boxes:

I’ve been buying mason jars for the past few months. (I found them at Hobby Lobby for less than $1 each). I grabbed some leftover Christmas scrap booking paper from my stash, bought some tags from the craft store and festive wax baking paper.
I cut circles for the mason jar lid:
And I cut the wax baking paper in circles:
Used cookie mix from a box (shoot me) and added Andes Mint Chips to give them a gourmet flare:
I used ribbon to tie the tag around the neck of the jar, layered gooey cookies and baking paper to create this:
I found these fun felt gift bags at The Dollar Spot at Target and slipped the jar into them:
The gift of sentimentality 
My favorite gift to give and receive is the thoughtful kind. I love invoking special feelings of love and remembrance. Photographs, memory books, and letters are such special gifts. They have lost their place of priority in our busy electronic world. If you want to really bless someone in your life, give a sentimental gift. It’s always a winner!
The gift of paper
I discovered this amazing site in search of Advent activities for my. calendar. Boy, was it a hit! And it’s entirely free…you just need household supplies like paper, paperclips and a printer (color is even better). It’s called The ToyMaker.  If you need a last minute gift, fire up your printer and print a slew of activities. The best gifts don’t always cost money!
My kids spent HOURS playing with their whirleycopter. And over the Christmas break, my kids have an extensive list of things to print.
Of course, they had the perfect target:

My New Office Space

I have new office  space {not that I had an old office}.

I’ve moved all my veryimportantbusiness to my bed. Under my new electric blanket.
After spending the night in one of my sister-in-law’s beds, equipped with a heated blankie, I knew I must add this to my list.
Well. Santa came early (thank you sweet hubby who is also cold at night).
And he brought duel controls.
I must be on the nice list.
I think I was a bit eager the first night. I put the blanket at full power.
I dreamed of being boiled alive that night.
It was a rough night.
I’ve learned the error of my ways and applied ointment to all my blisters.
Oh, I jest.
Seriously, love my blankie.
And I totally get my toddler now.