Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Funny--My Own Nutcracker Tale

This might be a little bit more of just a smile than my usual Friday Funny since it's a personal story, but I hope you enjoy it just the same.

This was 2010.
If you've been around you know that mija performs in her ballet school's production of The Nutcracker each year. This was the 25th annual performance and the last one for the owner/director.

Our tradition has become to purchase a new nutcracker each year she's in it. We write on the bottom the roles she had and a couple of family events of that year.

Well, life this year has been more challenging including on the nutcracker front. 

First, we had to wait until we had a little cash and a little gas.

Second, we had to find one.
You see, it's not usually that big of deal to find a nutcracker. Many stores often had a aisle full from which to choose with sizes and styles as varied as there are versions of The Nutcracker!

But this year was different. I don't know if it was because we had to wait until 2 days before Christmas or because nutcrackers were just in low supply. Regardless, finding a nutcracker was challenging.

Store after nutcracker.

Then I got a lead.  Guess where I found a nutcracker?
Ignore the dust on the cabinet.
Just keeping it real!
Yup. It's our Home Depot nutcracker. He doesn't match the others very well, but he definitely has a story behind him!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Secure Daughters Confident Sons

Although it's taken me awhile to get this book read and reviewed, I'm glad to say I'm getting it done in 2012!

I was excited to be able to review this book. I stand firmly on the fact that God made men and women different, and this book deals with that issue in dealing with our children. With a title like Secure Daughters, Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity and Femininity, I definitely hit the nail on the head. I appreciated how it suggested not only that it can be, but that I as a parent can be a part of encouraging the process along.

The author, Glenn T. Stanton, is the director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family. Just like Focus on the Family, it takes what the Bible says is true, but then adds psychology and culture to support it. For me, that happens a little to much. I tend to follow a more nouthetic approach, so I would like more Scripture and less studies in the book. This is especially true later in the book where you can read page after page with no reference to God, the Bible, or Christianity.

I'm not saying the book is wrong. I just wished he had proved his point with the Word more instead of Cat Stevens, Karate Kid, and quotes from college studies.

I think the book is spot on about what makes male and female and what each needs to grow up to be a Biblical man or woman of God.  I really like how Stanton make the point that a girl is capable NOT because of feminist propaganda but in rejection of it. Feminism teaches woman is a victim which is not how God made her.

All in all, I think it was a good book but not a great book. If you were wanting to build your Biblical basis for your beliefs and understanding of masculinity and femininity, pass on the book. If on the other hand, you want a book that gives cultural and psychological support on what the Bible teaches on masculinity and femininity, this is the book for you!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

A Child's Discernment on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, we threw all caution to the wind and attended an unknown church's late Christmas Eve service. 
It was totally unplanned, but I often reminisce about attending midnight service when I was child, and so this year the time seemed right. 
We came home from my MIL's, Googled local church services, and were in a pew within 30 minutes.
Advent decoration

Visiting this church introduced mija to some new ways of worship. The main new thing was litany. In litany, the clergy gives a statement/prayer, and the congregation recites a response.

Because of my spiritual upbringing, there was a time when litany seemed shallow and useless to me. Now I realize it is the attitude and actions behind the litany which makes the difference.

Mija's introduction to litany, choir robes, and candles was going fine until the sermon. She giggled at some of the things the preacher said...not because they were funny but because they were wrong. And then the piece de resistance occurred when the he asked, "And what would God ask for if He sat on Santa's lap?"

I so wish I could have taken a picture of her face. Almost even consider Santa worthy to be mentioned with God in the same sentence, but then to suggest that God would ask Santa for anything!

It gave some great discussion on the way including how to act in church when you disagree with what is being said.

And it gave this momma hope that her daughter is learning discernment!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Praises

I know you're busy relaxing during Christmas break as am I, so I won't keep either of us long.

I just want to give thanks to God for what a nice Christmas we had. At a time in our life when we are facing another possible repossession, finding another place to live within a month when we have no money, and all the rest this unemployment has brought with it, we were remarkably blessed this holiday and mija hardly realized the bump in the road.

Her two favorite stocking stuffers
Aside from a Nutcracker and some chocolates for her stocking, we purchased nothing for her this year. All the stocking stuffers we gave were purchased at 50% off last year as were the Zhu Zhu pet items. Yes, I've kept this year's Christmas since last year.

I had wished to add something more, and God arranged that part.

Our church came along side us and some other struggling families in our church family and gave us gifts. Mija didn't know the church provided things some things.  All she knew was that there were presents under the tree one day. I just told her that God provided them! That's been a challenge for her to get her mind wrapped around!

In the gifts God gave, there was also a Price Chopper gift card. We determined that we'd use it to enhance the Christmas experience instead of for more practical things like milk and bread. From that gift card we made our candy and Happy Birthday, Jesus cake.
I posted about our White Christmas Crunch Squares. They were a major hit and required a second batch made...which still didn't end up being enough!

It's amazing to me how capable mija is becoming. Aside from me showing her how to separate egg whites from the yolk and doing the oven work, she made the whole Happy Birthday, Jesus cake herself! I remember when her contribution to the Happy Birthday, Jesus cake was just licking the bowl and now she's doing it all!
I know the yellow in the corner is the star of Bethlehem.
I'm not sure about the rest!
Lastly, but never really last when it comes to things God does for us, were gas cards. We were given some gas cards from individuals which allowed us to do our traditional Christmas Eve celebrations with my hubby's family about 50 miles away and the celebrate with my family on Christmas Day. 

Tomorrow, I'll share about a child's discernment and a new nutcracker tale!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Prayer & The Christmas Scale

Thanks to sharing this. Then don't miss the video at the end. Merry Christmas!

by Robert Louis Stevenson

"Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, 
that we may share in the song of angels, 
the gladness of the shepherds, 
and the worship of the wise men. 
Close the door of hate and open the door of love 
all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, 
and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. 
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, 
and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful 
thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

Monday, December 24, 2012

Who Was St. Nicholas?

A great article by Kevin DeYoung if you'd like to find out more. 

Who Was St. Nicholas?

It includes information about:

  • The man and the myth
  • Christmas and St. Nicholas
  • From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus
  • Jolly Old St. Nick and Jesus
Check it out!

FYI Arianism taught that Jesus was not God but a created being of God. Arius denied the preexistence and full deity of Jesus.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Coupons for the Zombie Apocalypse tomorrow 12/21/12

Fighting Zombies all day can be a real headache:
You're gonna want something to do on those long cold nights:
Don't forget the kiddos, they're our only hope at repopulating the earth:
When your husband is out slaying the walking dead, he needs to smell good:
I hear blood stains are hard to get out of clothes:
And you certainly need to wash off the Zombie guts before dinner:
Snacks. Snacks. And More Snacks. Fighting Zombies is hard work!
Keep the putrid smell of Zombies out of your house (or what's left of it):
Fido and Fluffy can defend the homestead while you're scavenging for food:
Leaves and berries can be bland, sweeten them:
If you take to the seas to escape the Zombie herd, you'll need this: 
Doesn't this stuff last forever?
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
Where else are you going to store the food you scavenge?!
You do have one of those camp coffee makers right?
And last but not least, you gotta look and smell good in the new world!

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus--Hypostatic Union and more

I wrote previously about reading  Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas

I really do recommend this as a great read during Christmas or anytime.

I just wanted to share a few more quotes from the book about such things as the incarnation and the hypostatic union. Don't let the big words scare you. 

Saint Augustine:
"But how," one will say, " can it be, that the Word of God, by whom the world is governed, by whom all things both were and are created, should contract himself into the womb of a virgin; should leave the angels, and be shut up in one woman's womb?" Thou skillest not to conceive of things divine. The Word of God could surely do all seeing that the Word of God is omnipotent, at once remain with the Father, and come to us; at once in the flesh come forth to us, and lay concealed in him. For he would not the less have been, if he had not been born of flesh. He "was" before his own flesh; he created his own mother. He chose her in whom he should be conceived, he created her of whom he should be created. Why marvellest thou? It is God of whom I am speaking to thee: "the Word was God"

And J. I. Packer:
How are we to think of the incarnation: The New Testament does not encourage us to puzzle our heads over the physical and psychological problems that is raises, but to worship God for the Love that shown in it. For it was a great act of condescension and self-humbling.

- - - -

We talk glibly of the "Christmas spirit," rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis. But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry a tremendous weight of meaning. It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas. And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year round.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quote--Charles Spurgeon on Wife and Motherhood

sweet child“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of 
hosts.”   C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

White Christmas Crunch Squares---YUMMY!!

I made these last year, and while they were still yummy, I didn't do the best job on them.

This year, however, I learned from my mistakes and viola! we have yummy treats to share.

This recipe is not original to me. I got it from Kraft Recipes.

Set the oven to 350 degrees and put foil on your 15x10x1 baking sheet. My sheets were a little bigger, so I just had some empty space around the edges. No biggy. 

First, you need to cracked up 1/4 cup candy canes. You could also make it without the candy canes if you wish. The candy canes just make it a little more festive.
Coarsely chop 1 package of Baker's white chocolate. I made sure to show you the box. Do NOT use just white baking chips or almond bark. That was one of my mistakes last year.
Oh, yes. That is actually two boxes worth of the white chocolate because we were making a double batch although the amounts I'm giving you is for a single batch. It's great math practice to double or triple recipes!
You put 32 crackers on the foiled pan. Again, great math practice realizing that would be 8 rows of 4 crackers.
Now, the "Mommy-has-to-do-this" part.
Cook 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) and 3/4 cup brown sugar on the stove for about 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally while you melt and mix everything well. Then let it boil for 3 minutes. No more. No less. (That's another place where we went wrong last year.)
Pour it over the crackers and spread it around. Yes, make sure to cover all the crackers or you'll have dry spots. Be careful! Hot sugar burns big time. And you've just put boiling sugar over the crackers, so the pan will actually be warm/hot when you go to put the pans in the oven.
Bake for about 5 min until golden brown. Take out of the oven and spread the white chocolate all over the crackers. Then put back in for about 1-2 minutes until the chocolate is melted. Don't expect the chocolate to be melted all over the place. The chocolate will be melted, but you will have to spread it around with a spatula or spoon.
After spreading the chocolate, sprinkle the crushed candy cane over the top. Then you cool completely. We actually put ours in the fridge to help the process along.
Then you break them up. Ideally, you break them into the little square cracker shapes. Sometimes it cracks otherwise. I'm okay with that. Not everyone wants a big old square of candy. Especially considering how sweet these things are! 
Here's a plate of the finished product.

Well worth the sugar coma!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Free Shipping Day for over 1500 online retailers. Monday Dec. 17

Get FREE SHIPPING with delivery by Christmas Eve from 1500 online retailers today, December 17!
It actually starts midnight Eastern which would be 11:00 PM, Sunday in my neck of the woods.

Some of these retailers include Cabela's, Best Buy, Kohl's, Mikasa, Sears, and obviously so many more. It's not just unknown retailers, but big ones!

Go to!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funny--A Musical Christmas

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a funny video from Familyman Ministries entitled The Nutcracker.

Today, I'm going to post their new Christmas video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another MIja Math Video....converting measurements

We're on a video role.
Remembering whether to multiply or divide to convert a measurement can be a challenge unless you remember the "hand jive."  

So it's little to big divide. Big to little multiply.

Take changing inches to feet. You're going for little to big, so you'll divide.

If you are going from kilometers to meters, you'll multiply.

It was really cute seeing my students in class doing the hand jive while taking a test!


Free Copy of Eternal Encouragement Magazine

Have you gotten your free copy of Eternal Encouragement Magazine, yet? Remember it's gone digital and all through the month of December everyone can get it free!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Measurement story & pictures---makes it soooo easy

Even when I taught in 5th and 6th grade in the classroom, helping students remember gallons, quarts, pints, and cups was always a pain. I must admit that I would remember long enough for classroom use, but then I would forget it when it came to my kitchen.

Then I found THIS WONDERFUL IDEA on Pinterest.  Here's how we put it into action at our house.
Not as pretty as on Pinterest, but just as practical. Here is mija explaining it.
In case you didn't make it out. Inside the Gallon castle lived four queens (quarts). Each queen had a prince and princess (pints) and each of them had two cats (cups). 

This has made these measurements so easy for mija to work with! Hope it helps you, too!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Mary & the Annunciation

The book group in which I participate has been reading Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas

Being in "the mood" for Christmas can be challenging. This seems especially true this year when the outward trappings of Christmas are hard to come by. As mija has been urging me to make cookies and candies, my goal has been just making sure we have something to eat for each meal. Even though her zeal for Zhu Zhu Pets has started to fade, her gifts this year will be Zhu Zhu accessories which I purchased on clearance over a year ago. No new purchases can be made.

This book has been a help and blessing this year and I highly recommend it. It has 22 chapters which are each Christmas excerpts from people like Luther, Piper, Spurgeon, Schaeffer, MacArthur, and Whitefield. It starts with the annunciation and goes through the early life of baby Jesus.

Each chapter seems to examine a single facet of the whole gem of Christmas.

Here's a few quotes about Mary and the Annunciation.

This is from Martin Luther:

Quite possibly Mary was doing the housework when the angel Gabriel came to her. Angels to prefer to come to people as they are fulfilling their calling and discharging their office. The angel appeared to the shepherds as they were watching their flocks, to Gideon as he was threshing the grain, to Samson's mother as she sat in the field. 
Saint Bernard declared there are three miracles: that God and man should be joined in this child; that a mother should remain a virgin; that Mary should have such faith as to believe that this mystery should be accomplished in her. The last is not the least of the three. The virgin birth mere trifle for God; that God should become man is a greater miracle; but most amazing at all is that she, rather than some other virgin, had been chosen to be the mother of God.

Or how about this from John Piper:

Mary responds by saying, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (v. 38.) Can you say: "Let the Holy Spirit do with me as he pleases"? Do you trust the Holy Spirit enough to say: "I am your slave; take me; use your omnipotent power to put you where you want me, when you want me there, doing what you want me to do"? Do you know why we can entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit? Because he exists to exalt the glory of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if the heartbeat of your life is the glory of Jesus Christ, the Spirit will empower and help you with all his might. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coupons for Christmas parties & gifts, DVDs & Blu Rays

A lot of celebrations going on. How about saving some money while you are at it? And maybe some gifts and stocking stuffers, too!
$1.00 off All You Holiday Entertaining Issue

$5.00 off Any (1) Rug Doctor Machine Rental

$3.00 off 1 HORMEL Party Tray

$1.00 off three Welch's Sparkling Juice Cocktails

$1.00 off 2 HORMEL Pepperoni packages

$0.50 off 3 oz. or larger Folgers Coffee product

$1.50 off any Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup

$1.50 off ONE (1) Starbucks K-Cup Pack

$1.00 off 2 PLANTERS Nut Products

$1.00 off any TWO boxes Chex cereals

$1.10 off 2 HERSHEY'S KISSES or HERSHEY'S Nuggets

$0.50 off Betty Crocker Cookie Mix

$1.00 off Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough

$0.50 off 2 Pillsbury Rolled Pie Crusts
$0.50 off Original Bisquick

$5.00 off one KRE-O BATTLESHIP Building Set

$10.00 off Hot Wheels with $50 purchase

$1.00 off $5 on any Crayola products

$2.00 off $19.97 or more of Crayola products

$3.00 off Chilly Christmas dvd

$3.00 off Chronicles of Narnia on Blu-ray

$3.00 off Ramona and Beezus on Blu-ray

$3.00 off Rio on Blu-ray™ + DVD + Digital Copy

$5.00 off Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

$5.00 off We Bought A Zoo on DVD or Blu-ray

$5.00 off Mirror Mirror on DVD or Blu-ray

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