Posts Tagged ‘ christmas ’

Leftover Christmas

It’s over. The tree may still be up, but the food I mean…it’s over.

Except for the little bits.

A handful of Chex Mix.

Eight Peanut Butter Snowballs.

Potato Chips.

Summer Sausage.



Frango Mints.




Not enough of any one thing to be useful.

Does anyone know what I can make for dinner out of all this?

One crazy night

I love a good trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. In fact, I love JoAnn and all her fabrics and crafts so much that it’s one of the first places I go whenever Dave can babysit Amelia for the evening. I grab my friend Sarah and we are at “Jo’s House” as soon as the husbands take over kid duty. Heck, we even brought my 2 month old and Sarah’s 19 month old to Aunt Jo’s House once. Desperate crafting times call for desperate measures.

But this story I’m about to tell you happened one dark Christmasy evening while the babes were safe asleep at home. And a good thing, too, because it was crazy out there.

This trip to Jo’s was so intense that we had to get a cart. Usually we wonder the store, picking up things here and there, setting them back down because we shouldn’t buy them, picking up more things, then making the other one hold it all while one of us uses the bathroom {cough, Sarah}.

Now we are pretty used to closing down JoAnn’s. They “close” at 9pm, but they start warning you that they are closing at 8:15. “Attention, Guests. The time is now 8:15. We will be closing in 45 minutes. Please bring all final purchases to the front.” Do they really think it’s going to take 45 minutes for us to check out? Please. So we kept shopping. Although Sarah did jump a little when the loud speaker came on every 5 minutes.

Finally, around 8:50, we took our cart and headed to the checkout line. Which happens to be one of those snaking maze-like lines where you enter at one point, snake around for a bit, then wait at the spot that says “Please wait here for next available cashier.”  I’m sure you’ve noticed, but usually there is no passing once you get into the roped off line. Usually. As Sarah and I entered the maze, we could feel someone trying to get around us. Really? We looked at each other and walked a little faster. So did the man behind us. And yes, it was a man shopping at JoAnn Fabrics. Good for him. Except for the part where he kept rudely trying to pass us. Eventually I turned around and said to him, “It’s ok, sir, you can just go on ahead of us.” Which he did, without even bothering to thank us. We laughed it off. It’s hard to faze us on our girl’s night out to Jo’s house.

“Attention, Guests. The time is now 8:50. We will be closing in 10 minutes. Please bring all final purchases to the front.”

As we stood at the designated “Please wait here for the next available cashier” spot, a lady tried to go around us. Oh no. I wasn’t having it this time, so I stepped to the side, blocked her path, and turned to look at her.

“What? Are you like in line?” she asked me in disbelief.

“Yeah….we’re waiting for the next available cashier….” I tried to be polite and pointed to the sign.

“What? Are we like in a queue?” With even more disbelief in her voice.

I wanted to ask her if she thought she was like, in England (who says queue in Tennessee?), but I just nodded. And turned back around.

Sarah and I finally both made it to a register, paid, and were about to leave. I remembered that I needed to give Sarah a few things from my purse (Sonic wacky pack sunglasses for her son, for one) so we stepped out of the way of the exit door, and I started dumping things from my purse into hers.

Attention, Guests. The time is now 8:55. We will be closing in 5 minutes. Please bring all final purchases to the front.”

While we stood chatting for another minute, a JoAnn’s employee came up to us.

“If you two are leaving you can just go out that door.” She pointed to the entrance door, which was at least 30 feet away. Even though we were standing right next to the open exit door, which other people were using.

Sarah and I looked at each other, tried not to laugh hysterically, and went out the entrance door.

I don’t know what you were on that night, Miss JoAnn, but your store sure was crazy.





“Do not be afraid, for behold,

I bring you good tidings of great joy

which will be to all people.

For there is born to you this day

in the city of David a


who is Christ the Lord.”

Goodnight, Moon

Sometimes when you decide to get dressed, make breakfast, eat it, clean the kitchen, make banana bread, make meatloaf, re-clean the kitchen, and sweep that spilled popcorn up off the floor all during the baby’s nap….you forget to put the egg in the banana bread.

Other times you accidentally order the wrong copy of a book from Amazon. I thought I was ordering Amelia this board book . You know, so she can read it and play with it without destroying it too much.

Instead I ordered her the same book….only in hardcover….with real paper pages. Which is great if you’re old enough to take care of books. And old enough to remember not to eat the pages.

Sorry, baby. Mama was a little busy that day. But good news! The banana bread tastes just fine without the egg.

Peanut Butter Snowballs

or “How To Eat More Peanut Butter Than Can Possibly Be Good For You”

Did you ever read “Taste of Home” magazine?My mom used to get it when I was a kid. It has these little cut out recipe cards and a hidden toothpick in each issue.  A few years ago Dave’s aunt gifted us a subscription to it. What a blast from the past. My mom clipped a lot of those little recipe cards, and many of those recipes have become traditions in our family.

Exhibit A: Peanut Butter Snowballs. They make an appearance at least twice each holiday season. This picture that I lifted off the internet is the same picture that is on that little recipe card. Only I think the card has a little peanut butter on it too.

When I wanted this recipe yesterday, instead of calling Mom for the 8th time that morning, I googled it. “Peanut Butter Snowballs.” Sure enough, there it was, the second resutlt…at Taste of Home . com. The recipe looked exactly as I remembered it. But then I noticed one little detail at the bottom.

Peanut Butter Snowballs published in Taste of Home December/January 1995, p29

1995? Seriously? 15 years ago? That was before my big tall 14 year old brother was even born! That means he has been eating these peanut snowballs his whole life. He doesn’t even remember a time pre-snowball. Heck, I hardly do.

15 years of peanut butter snowballs. Way to go, Taste of Home.

So, here’s the recipe for you. And here’s to the next 15 years. Cheers.

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 pound white candy coating, coarsely chopped

In a bowl, combine the sugar, peanut butter and butter. Shape into 1-in. balls and place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

Meanwhile, melt the candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl. Dip balls and place on waxed paper to harden. Yield: 2 dozen.

Laughably easy. I’ve been making these since I was 10 years old. I may have missed a few years in college, but my younger brothers picked up the slack. And while I made a batch for my little family here in Tennessee, this year my little sister made them at my parents house. Welcome to the club, Emma. You must be 10.




Last year at this time we wanted a baby. We were planning to adopt. We hung this Hope ornament on the tree.

Turns out it WE weren’t in charge.

This year I bought a new ornament. Joy.

What a difference a year makes.

While my heart is full this Christmas season, it is also heavy for the child that we didn’t adopt. For the child that doesn’t have a family this year. For the 163,000,000 (that’s 163 million) orphans of the world.

While I’m not sure that adoption is in our near future, I do know that some form of orphan care is. I’d love to bring home a child and give it a family. A sister. A home. But could the $30,000 that it would cost to do so be used in other ways? Ways that could save the life of more than just one child?

$30,000 = a family for 1 child or clean water for 1,500 people through Charity Water. Clean water for each of those 1,500 people for 20 years! “90% of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under five years old.” – Charity Water. How many lives would be saved by all this clean water?

$30,000 would run the Mercy House for 8 months. From their site: The Mercy House exists to provide alternative options for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya. The Mercy House will aid them in nutrition, housing, prenatal care, counseling, Biblical teaching and job skills for sustainable living. What’s that saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? How many children won’t become orphans because someone cared enough for their mother to give her the means to care for herself and her children?

$30,000 = 1,500 cooking stoves for women in Haiti. Check out The Adventure Project.  $20 provides a family in Haiti with a charcoal-efficient cooking stove. From the founder of The Adventure Project: In Haiti, mothers bend over small cooking fires, 4-6 hours everyday. Such fires–nice on an occasional camping trip–actually emit toxic levels of smoke when used every day. Babies tied to their backs or playing nearby actually inhale the same levels of smoke as someone smoking two packs of cigarettes each day. Sadly, the resulting respiratory infections are becoming a number one cause of death in these children. Mothers desperately trying to prepare the very thing needed to sustain their children’s lives actually threaten their lives—unknowingly, unwillingly.

There are countless other ways to help. Compassion. Food for the Hungry. I don’t even know where I’m going with all this. How to choose? Save one child? Help thousands of children?

How would you use $30,000 to impact lives around the world?

We keeps it simple

Or at least we try. Last week my friend Sarah shared with me this great little rhyme about Christmas presents. And since I’m all about simplifying our life with a newborn, I latched onto it like a long lost friend. So here it is:

“Something you want, something you need, something to play with, something to read.”

We had already decided that we want to get Amelia a book or set of books each year for Christmas. I can’t wait for the year that I can buy her the box set of the Chronicles of Narnia or Anne of Green Gables. So it’s perfect. And this year I get to decide what Amelia wants in addition to what she needs.

So using this little rhyme’s system, Amelia will get 4 gifts from us. That sounds like plenty to me when you consider how many she’ll get from her grandparents, aunts, uncles and various friends and family members. She’s gotten quite a few presents in the mail already!

Speaking of presents, we can’t get enough of this one.

More lights, cookies, and gingerbread

Excess lights

Excess cookies

Excess gingerbread

Yep, it’s Christmas!

A Tale of Two Elves


It’s no secret that I was ready to adopt before Dave was. But that’s how things go around here: I like to jump right in, Dave likes to consider the options.  We make a good team like that. Balance….or something.

When I would get discouraged that we would never adopt, never have kids, etc. etc., Dave would always tell me to have hope. And I hated it. I wanted to wallow in my misery.

It’s also no secret that I like to go JoAnn Fabrics. I need my yarn fix as much as anyone else. But there was 1 thing at JoAnn’s that drove me crazy. A snowflake ornament. A snowflake ornament engraved with one word. Hope.

We buy a new ornament each year, and that dang Hope ornament would jump out at me every time I tried to pick our 2009 ornament. I put off buying an ornament for much longer than I would have liked, because I just couldn’t find “the one.”

Finally, during yet another trip to JoAnn’s, and yet another 5 minutes of my eye being drawn back to, you guessed it, the Hope ornament, I muttered “Fine. You win.” I bought the dumb ornament and hung it on the tree without even telling Dave.

Guess what Dave told me the next day.

“Let’s adopt. Let’s do it. I want to.”

I love my Hope ornament.