It’s Christmas morning, and our house is loud and jolly. The children were bursting to open their gifts! Giving gifts is something that we keep pretty simple at our house. The past few years we have not spent much on gifts, simply because they have too much already. This year we did buy the older 3 a bit larger of a gift. Kirsten really wanted a camera, so she was tickled with that. I figured with her being 12, she should be responsible enough to take care of one 🙂 Devan got his LOOOng time wish of a bb gun. I have to say, it was so fun to see his face! And Tristan is loving his truck and cattle trailer to haul all his animals. Jenna got a play doh set that made her very happy. It’s worth cleaning up the mess, as much as she loves to play with play doh! She got little containers of play doh from her Sunday school teachers on Sunday, and she played and played some more with them. With this dreary weather, it was so nice for her to have that to play with!

While we try not to focus just on giving gifts, there is so much delight in seeing the happiness on your children’s faces as they tear into the gifts. And our sweet daughter blessed us so much today. She went around and handed out cards to everyone. That’s so her, she loves to make cards and notes! But I opened my card, and there was money in it.  Same in Dale’s. And $1 for her sister, and $2 for each brother. I said, ” Kirsten! That is too much!” I felt wrong taking it, but I also could tell she really wanted us to have it. So I said thank you, as my momma heart swelled and the tears came rolling down. You know those moments when you feel so proud of them? 🙂 Because this is something that we want our children to learn from Christmas. That giving is so much better than receiving! It humbled me and taught me a lesson that I need to be more willing to give. She doesn’t have a huge amount of money, and was still willing to share. I’m just so happy she has a giving heart!

It’s time for this lady to get ready for our family get together. I’m so grateful we are all well today! Devan threw up during the night on Tue. night, and I was hoping and praying we could go today.

Well, we are back home again after a lovely time with family. The children are in bed, and things are winding down. We sure missed my sis and her family this Christmas! Merry Christmas, you dear people in Haiti! 🙂

Mom had a wonderful meal! It was loud! Their was intense games of Dutch Blitz 🙂 Good times!!

A few pictures of our cookie exchange day. We did candy as well.cookie bake, christmas, etc 002 Working on the peanut butter cups. Tristan was the ever present helper. He had no one to play with, since Cody and Owen couldn’t be here, and Karen couldn’t make it because of sick ones. That was disappointing 😦cookie bake, christmas, etc 005

cookie bake, christmas, etc 008 Above are mocha truffles. It is very good these are not around much! Dangerous to your health 😉cookie bake, christmas, etc 009Peppermint patties. These were hard to coat. We weren’t sure why.cookie bake, christmas, etc 013Yum , yum! cookie bake, christmas, etc 015This was after school. Everyone wanted a taste 🙂

And I’ll share a favorite recipe of ours. We call them chocolate marshmallow cookies. They are also called Amish Hats, depending what cookbook you have.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Large marshmallows, halved

Combine flour, soda, salt, & cocoa. Cream shortening and sugar, beat in egg. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well. Add vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 min. Top each cookie with a marshmallow half, pressing gently onto cookie. Bake 2 min. more. Cool and glaze.

For the record, I adhere to the baking time pretty strictly. Some of your ovens may vary, but this worked good for me.

Glaze:

1/2 cup cocoa

1 1/2 cups 10x sugar

3 Tbsp. hot coffee

1/2 cup butter, melted

This recipe doesn’t have instructions for making the glaze, but I will tell you how my mom does it. She melts the butter on the stove, then adds in the cocoa till it’s dissolved. Remove from heat, and whisk in 10x sugar and coffee. The reason I gave her instructions is because I made them, and my glaze looked terrible 🙂 See below.cookie bake, christmas, etc 034_edited-1 cookie bake, christmas, etc 036 cookie bake, christmas, etc 037I almost didn’t include pictures of this lumpy icing, but this thing happens sometimes 🙂 Betty Crocker I am not! I was going to hand them out on cookie trays, but these will not be going to anyone else. I was disappointed as they do take a bit of time to make. The good part. They still taste good, despite their looks, and we will enjoy every last one!! 😉

Have a great weekend! A few more days left to enter the giveaway 🙂

Christmas in our hearts

I love this time of year! The decorations, the cookie baking, the candy making, the gift giving, the family gatherings, Christmas music, etc.

I don’t do much decorating, just a few simple things. I would have to say my favorite thing to do is to bring in the fresh greens.cookies, trip, misc 020_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 022_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 023_edited-1cookies, trip, misc 013_edited-1I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of my old hutch. I scored it at a sale. Love at first sight and all that 😉cookies, trip, misc 017_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 018_edited-1The buffet came from Dale’s Grandma Hurst. It was a bit beat up, so some black paint and new knobs perked it right up. cookies, trip, misc 038cookies, trip, misc 039_edited-1cookies, trip, misc 040cookies, trip, misc 041_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 019cookies, trip, misc 014_edited-1 cookies, trip, misc 015Chair that came from my Grandma. After some paint over the ugly shade of green, I love it! cookies, trip, misc 016_edited-1 Can you believe my dear, sweet hubby had this gem of an oil can in the trash? I rescued her, and I quite like her on my table 🙂cookies, trip, misc 024_edited-1We’ve been baking cookies as well. I had my 2 girls willing to help. When we did these peanut butter cookies last week, it just went pretty smoothly. Tonight we did another batch, and I was saying, “Puh-lease Jenna, go and play!” Ever notice how sometimes you feel more willing to let them help than other times?? 🙂Untitled-1My children LOVE cookie dough!cookies, trip, misc 010 Nothing like a warm cookie 🙂cookies, trip, misc 042cookies, trip, misc 043cookies, trip, misc 044cookies, trip, misc 045Hubby’s favorite kind..

I hope that with all the busyness and yes, maybe some stress, at this time of year, that we take time to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas. There are so many things that can pull our attention away from focusing on Christ’s birth. And hopefully we can bless someone this Christmas that is in need of a blessing. I heard a song that said something like if only we had the Christmas spirit all year. Truly, I think we can. And it takes effort 🙂 Tonight I wasn’t focusing on the right things. It may have had something to do with the 3d spill on my newly washed floor. I so often would handle situations better, if my focus was where it should be!

I’ll leave you with the lyrics to a touching song that I love ~

The Christmas Shoes

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line

Trying to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood

Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously

Pacing ’round like little boys do

And in his hands he held a pair of shoes.

And his clothes were worn and old, he was dirty from head to toe,

And when it came his time to pay

I couldn’t believe what I heard him say.

Chorus:

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please

It’s Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size

Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time

You see, she’s been sick for quite a while

And I know these shoes would make her smile

And I want her to look beautiful if mama meets Jesus tonight.

 Vs. 2 He counted pennies for what seemed like years

Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here.”

He searched his pockets frantically

Then he turned and he looked at me

He said Mama made Christmas good at our house

Though most years she just did without

Tell me sir, what am I going to do, somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes.

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out

And I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said

Mama’s gonna look so great.

Repeat Chorus

Bridge: I knew I caught a glimpse of heaven’s love

as he thanked me and ran out

I knew that God had sent that little boy

To remind me what Christmas is all about.

Repeat chorus

I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight.

– Leonard Ahlstrom & Eddie Carswell

 Have a wonderful weekend! Spread that Christmas joy 🙂