Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hawaiian Slider Rolls

I tried a new recipe yesterday. These were great and I will likely make them for New Year's eve. They can even be made the day before and refrigerated. I could see having them for supper on a busy evening or for Sunday lunch. Great with soup or salad!

Hawaiian Slider Rolls

24 Hawaiian slider rolls
1 lb. honey ham (24 small pieces)
1 pkg. Swiss cheese (cut into 24 pieces)
1/2 c. mayonaisse

(I didn't use all of the sauce)
1 1/2 T. dijon mustard
1/4 c. melted butter
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. poppy seeds

Cut rolls apart and spread each with mayonaisse. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on each, then replace tops of rolls. Place in cake pan or on heavy baking sheet.

Mix sauce together in small bowl. Pour or brush sauce onto each roll, just using as much as you need to cover the tops. Let sit approx. 10 minutes until the butter is set. (Can be covered and placed in the refrigerator until ready to use.) Cover with foil and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese is melted. Remove foil and bake 2-3 more minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

After Christmas

Christmas is wonderful--one of my greatest joys in this life. I love to spend time with family, hang greenery and decorations, do extra baking, make homemade gifts, listen to beautiful Christmas music, and plan ways to offer gifts to the needy in my community. All these things bring richness to my life, but I sometimes find that they fail to satisfy my hungry soul. My soul longs for Jesus. He is the One who can satisfy. So I read books, listen to music, and open scripture to help me anticipate the coming of a Baby--the Savior of the world. What a gift He was for mankind! What joy Christ brings to my Christmas!

Unfortunately, most of us experience the other side of Christmas as well. The days after Christmas can bring gifts that don't fit, time spent with family that caused hurt or disappointment, exhaustion due to the busy season, more shopping for returns and exchanges, the list goes on and on.

In these days after Christmas, my mind keeps returning to the same thought: I am so grateful for what Jesus offers us AFTER Christmas. He didn't stay a baby in a manger. He became a man--a man with a purpose.  His purpose to redeem us changed my life forever. He loves us more than I can comprehend. He is life and light, hope and peace to me. During these days after Christmas, I hope you can join me in receiving a gift that doesn't end with Christmas. Thank you, Jesus, for the gift you brought us as a man. The promise of heaven to those who know You, and the hope You bring to each day is what truly satisfies the soul.
May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him,
so that you may
overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

Some of my favorite images from previous years. I framed this in my house this year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Christmas card

This is the card we sent to friends and family this year. 
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Decking the Halls

I have been decking my home with holiday cheer. I love this season for so many reasons.

A few days ago, I had a chance to stay home and decorate a bit more. I found this free BELIEVE printable banner and had one up on my fireplace within 30 minutes. I printed it on kraft cardstock and then cut it out and threaded it on ribbon. It was just what my mantle needed, since we don't hang stockings on this fireplace.

Be sure and check out the wonderful blog at Second Street because she has multiple free printable banners. This year's is a MERRY CHRISTMAS banner which is also really cute.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Redneck College Student

My redneck college student came home from college (like he actually ever left) and...
  • got his first haircut in 3 months
  • dropped a pile of dirty clothes in the middle of the laundry room floor
  • trimmed his beard, because he hasn't shaved in 6 weeks
  • took 2 naps his first day at home
  • gathered siblings at 7:00am to wake up Levi by singing Jeff Foxworthy's Twelve Redneck Days of Christmas (plus "Jingle Bells, Levi smells...")
  • loaded his truck with guns and traps, to spend the next week trappin' coons in Missouri for extra spending money
  • cut his toenails in the dining room before leaving for Missouri
  • shared a gallon of chocolate milk with little brother (did you both drink out of the jug???)
  • lives in jeans, flannel, boots and carhart overalls 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Favorite Christmas Read-alouds

From last year in December...

Years ago, before I had any children, I started a book collection.  I read the books to myself, and I read the books to my classes when I was a teacher. I chose books that made me laugh and/or cry.  Our book collection continues to grow, and our home is currently at risk of being overtaken by books. 

When my kids were very young, I read an idea to use a Christmas book basket as a sort-of countdown activity.  I wrapped all our books in gift wrap and put them in a basket under the tree. We let the kids choose one to open each evening of December.  We bought a new book each year (and wrote the date inside the cover) to add to our collection. Choosing one or two each evening helped us get all the books read, and gave the kids the treat of opening a gift.  After 12 or more years of this, we have a huge collection of Christmas books, as well as a "favorites" list.  (Luckily I don't have to spend the time wrapping them anymore.)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is an all-time favorite, because of it's longevity.  My teenagers still enjoy it, while most of the picture books don't keep their attention any more.  The copy I read from is 25-30 years old--mine from when I was a kid.  It takes a few evenings to read and has very few pictures, so it is probably best for school-aged kids. It will make you laugh out loud and will cause you to pause and consider the wonder of the birth of Christ in a fresh way.

One Wintry Night is a favorite chapter/picture book.  A boy is caught in a mountain blizzard at Christmas time and ends up staying in the cabin of an older woman who had known his grandfather.  She tells him the Christmas story, beginning with creation and ending with the resurrection.  It's like a condensed version of key events of the Bible, showing a big picture perspective of how the birth of Christ fits in with God's bigger plan for mankind.  The illustrations are large and amazing, but this book will take a few evenings to finish.

One of the earliest purchased Christmas books of our collection, set in the Appalachian mountains during World War I, is The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree  by Gloria Houston. Easy to read to young children in one setting.  I'm warning you mothers, have a tissue ready.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski is a tender story of a lonely man whose wife and child died, and he has become bitter. He lives in the same town with a widow and her son and they ask Mr. Toomey to carve a nativity set for them. They begin spending time with him as he works on their nativity. In the process of carving the nativity set, Mr.  Toomey deals with some of his grief and his heart is softened toward making new friends. (sniff-sniff)

Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Richard H. Schneider is a story of how the young tree, Small Pine, gives shelter to many creatures in the forest, but sacrifices a perfect appearance as a result.  In spite of the imperfections, the queen chose Small Pine as her tree for the castle, because she recognized these imperfections as the result of sacrifice for others.  It teaches that living for the sake of others makes us beautiful in God's eyes.

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt is as much an Easter story as it is a Christmas story.  In this folktale, three trees are disappointed that their dreams are never achieved.  Each tree eventually gets his wish in a manner that only God could have fulfilled.

I will always love The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. It is good for young children -- a great story of a family who generously gave away a prized possession.

When Washington Crossed the Delaware is an amazing way to include our nation's history with our Christmas season. It was written by Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney. It retells a dramatic event that took place on Christmas night in 1776.  The book is lavishly illustrated, which makes it extra enjoyable.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Snow Globe Look-a-Like

I've been seeing mason jar "snow globes" everywhere this Christmas. They have such a whimsy about them that I love! When I saw the post by Ashley Ann Campbell from Under the Sycamore about how easy they are to make, I realized I had everything to do it.

 I also pulled out one I made probably 10 years ago. Maybe it's back in style???

Here is a picture of my new "snow globe."
(Old pickle jar with the lid spray painted red. Little deer and bunny from Meg's tiny animal stash. Old tree and fake snow from Hobby Lobby.)

Here is the old and new:

Now we just need some snow outside! Hoping for a white Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Daily

Are you joining Ali Edwards and so many others and making a December Daily album?

You can see mine from 2009 on the right sidebar--just scroll down a bit and click on the December Daily 2009 link. It was one of my favorite Christmas projects ever. Also one of the most time consuming. So worth it to actually have a month-in-our-life during Christmas captured in an album.

It's not too late...keep your camera VERY handy and take lots of pictures--at least one each day. If you miss a day, fill in with a souvenir or memento or even a page of journaling (like a list of your favorite things of Christmas, etc.).

Many people have the album ready to go before December 1 and fill in each day as the month progresses. I did it differently and made mine during the week after Christmas. During the month I took pictures most days and kept some journaling for each day to help me remember what we had done once it was time to put it all together. I loved doing it in the more relaxing days after Christmas, rather than add something else to the busy days prior to December 25.  That's just what worked best for me. Very important--make it work for YOU.

So go take a picture and start your own December Daily!