Monthly Archives: November 2010

Advent For Kids

It’s hard to believe that is time to start preparing for Christmas!

With all the decorating and baking and shopping, I want to make sure every year that our hearts are also ready.

One way we do that is by celebrating Advent.  We have an advent wreath on the table and we light one more candle each of the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. We also a special family devotional together in the evenings.

When the kids were younger we had a favorite devotional book called “Do You See What I See“. It’s a devotional seek and find book with bright pictures and “I Spy” type pages that really captured the attention of our preschoolers.  You can still order the book from Creative Communications for the Parish.

Then as the kids grew older we used different devotional books until we discovered Jotham’s Journey.

Oh. my. This is a good one!

This devotional for Advent had been out of print for many years, but has just recently been republished in paperback.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading it two years ago – seriously – my kids loved it!

We equally enjoyed the sequel, Bartholomew’s Passage last Christmas.

So we were very excited to see the third book in the trilogy, Tabitha’s Travels,  is now available this year.

Each of these books is an exciting family story specifically designed for Advent. The story is divided into a reading for every day from the first day of Advent to Christmas Morning, with a devotional thought at the end of each one.

There’s enough action and adventure to keep the attention of every member of the family – with a splash of humor thrown in to relieve the tension.

Each day’s reading leaves you wanting more.

The books are loosely tied together, and my kids love seeing some of the characters from one of the other books appear in the one we are reading.

You could read them in any order, but I recommend starting with Jotham.

Your Christmas will never be the same!

Black Friday Preparations

I hope all you Black Friday Shoppers out there were armed and ready for the fray this morning.

May you come home victorious!

Cartoon courtesy of cartoonaday.com

The First Thanksgiving

The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers

By Felicia Dorothea Hemans

THE breaking waves dashed high,
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and waters o’er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear;–
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard, and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free!

The ocean eagle soared
From his nest by the white wave’s foam;
And the rocking pines of the forest roared–
This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band:
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood’s land?

There was woman’s fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love’s truth;
There was manhood’s brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?–
They sought a faith’s pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod.
They have left unstained what there they found–
Freedom to worship God.

It’s Not Easy…

Patterns It is not easy directing the Childrens Christmas program.

Some years things go really smoothly – the kids are excited, the music comes together and rehearsals just flow – like last year.

This year – however – is not.

Yesterday’s rehearsal was a classic example. We had taken the program on stage with costumes and props for the first time.

Except we didn’t have a manger or a baby Jesus.

Or the boxes of Christmas decorations the kids were supposed to be sorting.

Or the plates of cookies they were supposed to be packaging.

And we were missing two shepherds.

But those things hadn’t stopped us before – so we pushed on. That’s when things started to unravel.

Augustus Caesar really got into his part. He jumped up and down so emphatically that his plastic crown unhooked and flew off his head.   You should have seen the look on his face when his crown went flying through the air -priceless!

We had barely stopped laughing from that blunder when the next happened.

One little “angel” was supposed to say “Shh..listen!” to another character – who happened to be her brother. She whispered her line so softly I could barely hear it in the front row. I told her she could do better than that – this was her chance to tell her older brother what to do!

So she threw back her shoulders, marched all 3 feet of sweet petite herself across the stage to her over 5 foot tall brother – whacked him with both hands on the chest and yelled, “Shhh…listen would ya!”

It was so unexpected we burst out laughing!

Joseph managed to tie his bathrobe in knots – on stage, our “stand in” baby Jesus got stepped on (remember – no manger!), and Caesar lost his sword.

Then there were the new angels wings that looked really cute but left a trail of glitter everywhere. And I do mean everywhere – carpet, chairs, clothes, hair, even eyebrows.

(I publicly apologize to whoever the poor soul is who volunteered to clean the church this month.)

Then – to top it all – Joseph managed to get the wind knocked out of him with a shepherd’s crook.

When the carnage was complete I walked off the stage and saw a sweet elderly lady who had recently suffered a stroke, sitting in the second row wiping tears from her eyes. She had obviously watched the entire rehearsal.

I whispered, “That was sure rough wasn’t it!”

She whispered back, forming the words slowly, “Funny, so funny!”

That was just the perspective I needed.

It isn’t about perfection – it’s about blessing. Those kids – in all their imperfections and mistakes – were a blessing yesterday.

And no matter what happens the night of the program – they will be a blessing.

Whether they get their lines right – or remember the songs – or trip over their angelic robes.

I think it’s time for me to change my prayers from, “Lord help them remember their lines and the songs and do it all well…” to “Lord take our efforts and bless them – use them for Your glory…”

Make us a blessing, Lord.

Make Ahead Butterhorns

Croissant Rolls My family got together for an early Thanksgiving meal last weekend – and like all of our family meals – we divided and conquered.

Mom did the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, one sister brought stuffing and corn, another brought desserts, another made sweet potato casserole – and I brought the buns.

Dagmar and I wanted to try something different – and since we were meeting for the first time at my youngest sister’s new house  with 2 ovens – we made these fabulous Make Ahead Butterhorns.

We really loved the fact that we could make them up ahead of time – but not bake them. Instead we froze them and baked them fresh that morning at my sister’s.

Fresh hot rolls! Oh my.

I will have to admit that these are just about the best rolls I have ever eaten in my lifetime.

I take no credit for their wonderfulness – I got the recipe from Crystal Paine over at Money Saving Mom.  She has the recipe and a step-by-step pictorial that was very helpful.

Make-Ahead Butterhorns (makes 32 rolls)
Recipe from Crystal Paine

2 Tablespoons dry yeast, heaping
1/3 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
9 cups flour, divided (you can use any mixture of white or whole-wheat flour you’d like)
2 cups warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
3-4 Tablespoons butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add 4 cups flour, milk, butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat 2 minutes or until smooth.

Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto floured board and knead lightly. (Or, knead in mixer until sides of bowl are clean, then knead two more minutes.)

Place in a greased bowl, turning dough once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (1-3 hours).

Punch dough down and divide into four equal parts. Roll each part into a 12-inch circle and brush with melted butter.

Cut each circle into pie- shaped wedges.  (We actually cut them into 12 and thought the rolls were huge!)

Roll up each wedge for wide edge to tip of dough and pinch to seal. Place rolls, top down, on baking sheets and freeze. When frozen, place in freezer bags and keep frozen until needed.

To bake: Take out as many frozen rolls as you’ll need and place them on a greased baking sheet. Thaw for five hours or until doubled in size. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned (about 8-10 minutes). Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Remove and serve immediately or cool on wire racks.

I would recommend baking extra – or be prepared to slap some hands – cause when these babies come hot out of the oven they are irresistible!

Enjoy!

I’ve linked this post up with Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum.