Read My Apple Tree Story here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reindeer Food and Candy Cane Legend

I am doing Ella's class Christmas party tomorrow, and I have been struggling to find the perfect thing to incorporate the real meaning of Christmas, as they are old enough to understand so much more now. However, everything I have found has been over their level of thinking or understanding.

I finally found the perfect version of the Candy Cane Legend and I feel it is just right for little ones ...

I will pass out Candy Canes (found box for $1 at CVS)

(Turn it upside down) J is for Jesus, who was born on Christmas day. (Turn it upright) What does it remind you of? Who was the first to find out about Jesus’ birth? (After hearing their answers) The shepherds in the field watching their flocks at night were the first to hear the angels. This represents the shepherd’s crook that they used to herd sheep.

It was made hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the church and firmness of the promises of God.

Do you see the stripes? The Bible says, “By his stripes we are healed."

See the red stripe? Before he died on the cross, Jesus was whipped. He bled terribly. The red reminds us of His suffering and the blood He shed for us. Red also reminds us how much He loves us. What is the color of the hearts we send on Valentines Day? Red!

See the white stripe? The white is there because we often do bad things leaving us “dirty” inside. Christians believe when Jesus died, He took on Himself the punishment for our bad things. This leaves us “clean”, white inside.

So when you eat your candy canes this Christmas remember J is for Jesus, and Jesus is what Christmas is all about.

In years to come the candy became known only as a candy cane – a meaningless decoration. But the meaning is still there for those who know. I pray that this symbol will again be used to witness TO THE WONDER OF JESUS AND HIS GREAT LOVE that came down at Christmas.

I am also going to let them make some Reindeer Food, something festive and fun for them to take home. A friend made this suggestion that made perfect sense -- several recipes call for glitter. Glitter can harm the squirrels and birds if eaten, so here is a simple recipe to use: combine oats, white sugar and colored sugar.

Attach this cute poem:

Sprinkle on the lawn at night

The moon will make it sparkle bright
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home.

Enjoy some fun activities with your family. They don't have to be elaborate. Here are 2 very simple ideas. Make some memories and start some wonderful family traditions that will last a lifetime.

I love that Jason's Dad every Christmas reads to all the Grandchildren (and us) the Christmas Story straight out of the Bible in the Book of Luke.

What are some of your family Christmas traditions?

Friday, December 10, 2010

How old are you Jesus??

Last night, as I was lying in bed with Ella, she said to me, "Mommy, I am ready to say my prayers." She looked up and this is exactly what she said ... "Jesus, I hope you have a really good birthday on Christmas Day. I'm not sure how old you will be, but I hope you get some good cupcakes."

 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth
Luke 1:14

Enjoy this glorious season celebrating His birth.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Notes on Notes

Being Thankful ... I truly am ... however I am awful about thanking others in the proper manner -- writing a Thank-You Note!

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

I have great intentions, and appreciate all the wonderful things people do for me and my family, but I'm ASHAMED to say it's so hard for me to find the time and take the time to sit and write a heart-felt thank-you note. I put it off, and that's just bad. It truly is. And I know it.

At our MOPS meeting yesterday, we had a lovely speaker, Mrs. Carolyn Jones talk to us about the importance of taking the time to write notes. It was exactly the reminder I needed. Afterall, I was taught to write notes, and I do understand how important they are and how much they mean to people.

She reminded me how much cards mean to people, whether it is a very close friend, or even a stranger. I remember the feeling of outreach and love when we brought our children into the world, when my mom was battling cancer, when we grieved the death of my grandparents, when I celebrate my birthday, and even on a regular day just because. Cards and notes mean so much. She reminded me that if you don't reach out to someone, then they will never know you thought of them. She told us that when she and her husband lost their baby late in her pregnancy, she was hurt by the number of people that never even mentioned it. And if it's because you aren't sure what to say, just say, "I'm sorry and I love you."

I thought I would share with you a little of what she shared with us. Maybe it will help make note-writing just a little easier for you.

Note Starters for Being Thankful:
Thank you for making us feel so welcome.
Thank you for including us.
As always, the best part of the evening was simply being together.
You both certainly share the gift of hospitality.
The company was perfect; we renewed old acquaintances and met some new friends.
Mike joins me in thanking you and Tom for your generosity and kindness.
Thank you for thinking of us in such a kind way.
Where do I begin to thank you for all you have done to make this time of our lives extraordinary?
As always, we treasure your friendship.
Thank you for the precious gifts of memories and time.

Note Starters for Difficult Times:
In a difficult situation, you emerge with grace.
We admire  your courage and honesty in these challenging times and pray that God's peace will lift you and encourage you each day.
May God's grace continue to hold and sustain each of you.
Our family grieves the loss in yours, and we send our love and prayers.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of grief and loss.

Another friend suggested an idea that I really liked, as a mom of 2 young children. She lets her 2 year old color on a piece of his stationery and then at the bottom she writes, "______ says he loves his truck you gave him for Christmas. Thank you!"

I am going to make much more of an effort to send cards to people and thank you notes throughout next year, as I have been reminded of the importance once again, and how much it truly can brighten someone's day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Great Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We started off with a birthday celebration for my mom on Wednesday. All the girls (and my brother joined us) took her to Sea Captains House for lunch where we enjoyed their famous She Crab Soup and then headed over to my grandparents house for cake. Then after the babies rested, my parents and my brother's family came over to our house for more cake and presents.

Thursday morning we woke up, and scurried out the door to my dad's family farm in the country to spend Thanksgiving day. My Dad and Uncle fried the best turkey and we all enjoyed a day outside in the fresh air. Ella and Wilson were SO happy.

From there we headed to Jason's hometown and spent 3 nights with his family. It's hard traveling with a baby, but we managed to have a very enjoyable weekend together. Everyone was happy and healthy!

We left mid-morning Sunday. We always go pick out our Christmas tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I will honestly share with you that we are still living out of our suitcases, as I just haven't gotten around to unpacking and putting things in their place yet! I hate that feeling, but that's how it is right now.

We are excited to make many Christmas memories in our new (well, old) -- and hopefully final -- home.
Merry Christmas to you and enjoy this special time with your families. Remember that very FIRST Christmas.


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