The Gift!

SportTman and our Fresh Air Fund kiddo ( who is visiting with us for Christmas this year) anxiously digging into their stockings.  What treasures were they expecting and anticipating?  Did their gifts live up to their expectations?

So a few of my gift giving ideas did not go real well this year.  I should have bought of newer version of a PS2 game for my son, and I wish I had bought the older CD of Tran-Siberian Orchestra for Drums.  I had a few other minor gift giving snafus also….yea I know in the big picture of life it really doesn’t matter. 🙂  But as a mom, it bugged me that I messed up with buying some gifts this year!

Now I could blame it on the fact that we had a major snowstorm and last minute gift giving had to be curtailed.  Or the fact that I had a major bout with the stomach flu a week before Christmas.  I really think the stomach flu also rendered me brain impaired for several days!

I also realized I saw the gift buying frenzy more as a chore, I did not put a lot of thought and care into it this year.  I just wanted to get it done!

But thank goodness that is NOT like God’s gift to us.  The thought, the care, the perfectly planned details, the prophecies, the LOVE.  They were ALL part of God’s Perfect gift to us!

I realized this year that while my gift giving was far from perfect.  God’s gift is truly perfect.   It comes perfectly wrapped in love, care, concern, complete with God’s time and His timing!

So while sipping my coffee and relaxing a bit this morning, I am also relishing in the reminder of God’s perfect Gift, His son Jesus.  Now that is a gift worth giving this year!

It Still Stands!

Here From Friday Fave Five??  Go HERE.  Silly me, I left the wrong link.  I love this post, but it’s not a Friday Fave Five post. 🙂

I love the town I live in.  There is SO much to love about it!

There is this wonderful smelling chocolate factory, that makes a tasty little sensation called a Wilbur Bud. And let me assure you these little gems are SO much better than Hershey Kisses.

There is my FAVORITE place to stop for a good cup of Green Mountain coffee and a true NY style bagel.

And I love Main Street, with its quaint, unique shops and cafes.

The park in the center of town, is filled with mature trees, a natural spring fed stream, lots of picnic tables, gazebos and play equipment to make any kid happy.  I spent many days at this park pushing my kids on the swings!

BUT THIS picture is what truly sets my town apart.  Is this simple, traditional Nativity right in the center of town!

Yes indeed, IT STILL STANDS right in the middle of the town square.  The other day I sat at the traffic light in town at exactly noon, and glanced over at that endearing nativity as “Little Drummer Boy” played on the town bell tower.

That dear Nativity was the center of controversy about 15 years ago.  And things may not be what they are today.  But let me just briefly indulge you in a wonderful Christmas story.

The ACLU made a case that such a religious symbol could not be portrayed on public property, and should not be set up by our town’s public works crew each year.  The town was devastated, it looked as if our heirloom nativity would soon be gone.  BUT  a local law firm got involved and researched the property the Nativity is displayed on, in the center of town.

It was discovered that the town square is STILL legally owned by the Moravian Church that founded this town in the 1700’s!!

So now each year members of that church and a local group committed to keep Christ in the center of our town, diligently set up the Nativity each year the week after Thanksgiving.

And so, It Still Stands in the middle of my town.   Such a visual reminder to me of the true meaning of Christmas each year.   A reminder of how God can  work to allow that dear Creche to STILL be displayed each year boldly in the center of my town!

And that is one reason why I love my town and why I humbly serve a mighty King born in a lowly manger this Christmas! 🙂

Friday Fave Five

I am late getting this up this week.  Been home “enjoying” the same stomach flu my students have!  Ugh!

But despite the flu there are always some faves for each week!

I made this fudge for the first time the other night, Layered Chocolate Mint Fudge.  It was simple, and so good.  I have been giving it out as a simple gift to the carpool friends, church friends etc.  And I must say it’s a good looking fudge also, very festive and YUMMY!

Click on the picture, it will link you to the recipe.  Go ahead, I know you need something easy and good, or just forget about giving it away, just eat it yourself! 🙂

Being home with the stomach flu let me in a little secret the dog has had for some time.  Apparently she does THIS while no one is home during the day.  We do not allow her on the couch, but she looks quite content when I caught her in the act!

My sweet little boy edged closer to becoming a man this past Thurs.  He turned 15, and had his first home JV basketball game of the season on his birthday.  He had a great game, scored 12 pts and had at least 5 rebounds.  At 6’2 he is the starting center for his team.  I was a proud mom, even dragged my stomach flu ridden body out to his game.  Wouldn’t have missed it.  Here he is wearing his new, funky hat ready to play some hoops!

I am enjoying listening to Christmas music, but who doesn’t this time of the year!!

Ok some of you may find something mentally wrong with me for saying this.  But I really ENJOYED teaching my Jr. High Sunday School class last week.  It was a bit icy out that morning and we only had about 25 kids, compared to the usual 40 or so.  The smaller group just made it so nice, and the kids really opened up their hearts more.  It’s neat to see God stirring in their growing hearts!  There, I confessed it, I liked teaching Jr Highers!

How was your week dear friends?

Please visit Susanne and send her warm greetings in her extreme northern climate!

Christmas Tour Open House

Welcome to my home!  It’s a wonderful time of the year, and at our house this time of the year we ALWAYS have Christmas music playing and Christmas cookies in the cookie jar! 🙂

I enjoy decorating for Christmas each year, but I also strive to keep things simple and quite traditional.  The decorations that mean the most to me are the ones that are family heirlooms!.

So please come on in, we had a bit of snow.   But it just added to the beauty of the season!

Here is my tree, and I must tell you it has a story behind it.  I actually bought this 7 1/2 foot tree for $5 at a yard sale 12 years ago!!!  I was only going to use it for a year and get a real tree the next year.  But we loved it so much we have been using it for 12 years! Sorry for cutting the top of the tree out of the picture, didn’t want you to think I was going topless!  ( Ok, I know that was bad!)

Under the tree I place my collection of children’s Christmas books.  Being a teacher and a smart mom, I thought it best to books under the tree! 🙂  And over the years my kids look forward to reading them each year since that is the only time they see them.

My tree is decorated with so many sentimental ornaments here are a few of them.  The first ornament was my grandparent ‘s ornament from their first tree in 1931!!!  The second ornament is my daughter’s special ornament.  We got an ornament for each of my kids  the year  they accepted Christ into their hearts.  So each year they hang “their” ornament on the tree and they are reminded of the significance of that decision in their lives. The date has also been carefully inscribed on the ornament, thus they never forget that day.

These simple angel Christmas decorations.  The two smaller angels were purchased from my grandparents hardware store.  The one angel still has the name of the hardware store, Fairmount Centre Hardware, plastered on the bottom, the original sales tag.  The store has long been gone from the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, but it’s name lives on each Christmas in my house.

I also like this fun little lit village.  It uses those battery operated tea lights.  It really makes my foyer of the house so much more cozier.

I also love this wreath that hangs high on the brick backdrop for what used to be a chimney for our coal stove.

And Christmas would not be complete with out our infamous countdown jar.  It’s not really a decoration, but it’s a part of our Christmas celebration!  On Dec. 1st we start picking a piece of candy from the jar each night after dinner until Christmas day.  On Christmas Day the jar is empty!  When the kids were little it was a great way to visually see how soon ’til  Christmas… that my kids are older they just like to eat the candy!

Another wonderful tradition we have been doing for years is our “special angel” tradition.  The day after Thanksgiving each family member picks someones name and does special things for that person through out the month.  It’s fun to find a Reses Peanut Butter cup on my nightstand, or toothpaste on my toothbrush already to go, and the dinner table set one night.  It makes for a lot of fun and keeps the perspective of giving back in the season!

Thanks for visiting our home.  Merry Christmas to all!!!

Friday Fave Five

It is a fun time of year, we are enjoying the joy of the Christmas season.

So my faves this week revolve around Christmas.

We had an early season snow fall this week.  It was beautiful, it was the kind of snow that sticks to the trees and creates a beautiful winter wonderland!  As a result, The Inventor and a friend created 2 snowmen in our yard, one named Jose and the other one Josefina. Let me introduce you to Jose……

I had a migraine on Sunday and it lingered into Monday.  I ended up taking a sick day from school on Monday.  I was really in a brain fog Monday, but I must admit, even during my brain fog, I really enjoyed the PEACE and quietness of my home.  It so rarely happens that I am home alone!

These simple angel Christmas decorations.  The two smaller angels were purchased from my grandparents hardware store.  The one angel still has the name of the hardware store, Fairmount Centre Hardware, plastered on the bottom, the original sales tag.  The store has long been gone from the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, but it’s name lives on each Christmas in my house.

I love this picture from The Inventor’s Christmas cookie party.  It may not look like anything special, but I LOVE how there are 7 girls all working together, to make an array of cookies!

It’s so simple, its snow and I love it!

For more Friday Fave Five please visit snowbound Susanne!

Please leave a comment this week!  I promise to visit all the bloggers who leave a comment.  I have been such a bad as a blogger friend, I need to get out and visit everyone! 🙂

It’s a tradition, It’s a legend, It’s FUN!

My daughter had her infamous cookie baking party this past weekend.  It was her 7th annual party, yep she is 12, and we started this tradition when she was a mere 5 years old. Back then I had no idea  it would turn into such a heartwarming annual event.  The girls bake cookies for about 2-3 hours and then invite their moms to enjoy the array of cookies and a hot beverage.  To keep matters moving The Inventor and I usually make several of the cookies doughs the night before.  Even that is enjoyable, as we were making dough this past Friday, The Inventor looks over at me and say, “This is fun Mom, I like doing this with you!”  Ah yes, those endearing moments that every Mom LOVES!

So dear friends, if your kids are still little start a fun tradition this Christmas, something they can cling to and you can savor as the years go on.  I remember our first cookie party the girls talked about their dolls, playing dress up and how they couldn’t wait to see and serve their mommies!  This year the conversation was more focused on cell phones, boys and Taylor Swift and no mention of their moms!    And that is what I enjoy most about it, I have seen the girls grow, and change through the years.   And that is something this mom can savor, it does my heart good each year to have the girls over.

Here are some pictures of cookie parties past and present, if you look closely you will see a lot of the same faces!

And this year, the girls have grown so much, and make so many more Christmas treats, we moved everything downstairs.  We covered the pool table ( Shh don’t tell hubs what we did with is manly pool table), and put all the cookies on there. 🙂

Here they are going a bit crazy….as 12 & 13 year  old girls tend to do!

It snowed during the party for the first time in 7 years, and of course the girls had to go out in their bare feet and “enjoy” the snow!

Friday Fave Five

Wow first Friday in December already! 🙂

Christmas will soon be here….just in case you were not aware of this!

So my post this week include lots of Christmas things.

We decorated our Christmas tree last Friday.  I always put it up the day after Thanksgiving.  My big teenagers let me know that decorating the tree was NOT as fun anymore.  But I stuck to my guns about them helping out, and we had fun with it, and ended up decorating our dear dog Nina also!

On Monday night, SportTman had basketball practice and Drums was out on errands.  That left The Inventor and I home.  We decided to have an impromptu girls night out.  We went to our fav Chinese food place and enjoyed dinner together and then went out for a little shopping together at our local sports store.  She had a gift card for the store, and purchased some cool sweat pants with her school logo on them.

I love Christmas music and Amazon has tons of free Christmas music available to download.  I just download Joy to the World by Casting Crowns the other day….for FREE!

CLICK HERE to check it out!

Here is a picture of one of my all time favorite Christmas ornaments.  I carefully pull it out each year from a box with this written on the front, “Trevis First Ornament 1931”  It was my grandparents first ornament for their tree.  It’s a true family heirloom, and I so gently nestle it at the top of the tree each year.

And dear daughter had a mini spa all ready for me when I got home from a long day.  She got out the foot bath, the back massager, and  had my lap top already for me.  She lit several candles and had pretty Christmas music playing.  Isn’t she the greatest 12 year old in the world!?!?!?

Hope your week was filled with many special favorites also!  For more Favs check in with Susanne!