Friday, December 31, 2010

Bible Reading Plans

Justin Taylor has a great post today highlighting several Bible Reading Plans.

For 2011, I plan to use the M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan along with D.A. Carson's For the Love of God, a daily devotional based on the M’Cheyne Bible-reading schedule. I have the book, but Carson's daily devotionals are available online at The Gospel Coalition - For the Love of God.


{happy new year, friends}

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just Lego-ing



I had to share Peter's proud moment. His first, all-by-myself, Lego creation...

Will stayed close to offer counsel if needed. : ) While on-call, Will created this weapon-equipped segway.
I hope to never see one of those zooming around DC.

Hannah, eager to see what all the fuss is about,
spent her birthday money on her own Lego set.

It's so quiet here with all this building. Now I should get back to my
year-end cleaning/organizing extravaganza.

Hope you all are enjoying this last week of the year!



Sunday, December 26, 2010

25 : 25 {joy}







Hope you all had a joyous Christmas day.

See you in the New Year!
Jennifer

Friday, December 24, 2010

24 : 25 {shepherd}

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem
and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord
has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what
had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were
amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up
all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen,
which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:15-16

{merry christmas, everyone}

Thursday, December 23, 2010

23 : 25 {botanic garden}



A visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden holiday display and garden railway has become a yearly tradition for us.
Washington landmarks constructed entirely with natural materials.

My parents with the two that agree to photos (with the Lincoln Memorial).



Along the Garden Railway this year, there were world monuments...
Hagia Sophia was my favorite.


And right outside, the real thing... with the Wyoming-themed Capitol Christmas tree.

22 : 25 {a holiday}

Appreciating these days and my parents here with us...
just doing a whole lot of nothing together.
Love days like this.

Puzzles, games, wrapping, playing...


Early darkness and a fire in the fireplace...


With grandparents here, my husband and I were able to get out for a movie last night - The King's Speech. It has been a long time since I have seen a movie I would highly recommend. It really is a must see. Inspiring true story, brilliant acting... if don't have a sitter, just go ahead and put it in your Netflix queue. : ) Here's a link to the trailer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

21 : 25 {the bell tower}




Our family had the incredible privilege of visiting the National Cathedral's bell tower tonight. A dear woman from our church is one of their bell ringers and invited us for a private tour of the tower. My parents arrived last night from Florida and were able to come with us. What a fascinating experience!

Just getting up to the tower was an adventure in the dark, empty cathedral... with spectacular views of the city at every turn and a story to go with every room/hallway/storage area we entered. Oh, and the moon tonight... breathtaking.

The white dome to the left is the Capitol Building, and the Washington Monument is in the center.


The art of Change Ringing is not something I knew anything about until tonight. I imagined it all so differently in my mind. Here is a little I learned tonight about Change Ringing (from literature I picked up in the ringing room):
Change Ringing is a form of bell ringing in which a set of bells (generally 6-12) sounds in changing rhythmic sequences (called "methods") rather than in tunes. It originated in English in the sixteenth century and is still primarily practiced in the UK and former British Colonies. The bells are rung by a group of trained ringers, each of whom rings one bell by pulling a rope that swings the bell in a 360 degree arc from mouth-upward position to mouth-upward position each time it sounds.

The ropes that the my children were to go nowhere near.


Ten of the fifty Washington Ringers. It's cold way up there... this room was freezing!


Above their heads... the bells that weigh over 3000 pounds each.



Tuesday evenings they play for an hour and a half.
We didn't stay the whole time, but did enjoy the bells as we left the cathedral and walked to dinner.


video

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Every December I say to myself, “This year I will write a Christmas letter to go along with our card.” And every December, when the busyness of the season settles in, I don’t do it. So, here is a little family update that didn't make the envelopes this year.

My husband continues to be blessed by the opportunity to serve as a pastor at our wonderful church. We simply adore our church family! Living just down the street provides us with an easy walk to church and the added blessing of no real commute for my husband.

After almost six years of researching and writing, my husband is hoping to travel to Scotland to defend his dissertation this spring. Lord willing, he will be awarded a PhD from the University of Aberdeen. The kids and I are so proud of him! He has been a student nine of our thirteen years of marriage, so having the end in sight is particularly exciting for me.

While my husband is hard at work, I enjoy staying home with our kids. My days are mostly filled with homeschooling Hannah (3rd grade) and Will (1st grade). We are in our third year of school at home and love it. Running is still a love of mine, and this past fall I was able to complete my first marathon – the Marine Corps. It was an incredible experience… and as long as my knees will allow it, hopefully not my last.

Our tender-hearted, thoughtful Hannah turned 9 in November. She is all about soccer, swimming, art, reading and piano. Always creating… stories, art, fantastical adventures… she amazes us with her love for life and learning.

Will just turned 7 this month and is a delight of a kid. Easy-going, full of joy and energy, he lives for anything that involves a ball, especially soccer (which of course thrills his soccer-loving dad). Also a huge football fan, Will is eagerly awaiting the BCS Championship to cheer on my alma mater. War Eagle!

Peter will be 5 in January. He is a spirited little guy with an imagination that never stops. Our family dinners are often full of Peter-induced laughter. This school year, he is enjoying a morning preschool program with a sweet classroom full of friends.

As a family, we are enjoying this stage of life. With no little person needing a nap anymore, we are more free to explore our city, go for family hikes... and hope to travel more as a family in the coming year… hopefully to Scotland!

May you be blessed as you celebrate the birth of Jesus … wonder of all wonders … Emmanuel, God with us!

Peace of Christ,

Jennifer

20 : 25 {anticipation}

Mary and Joseph are on the move. Each morning, the kids find them a little bit closer to Bethlehem... which is over by the fireplace.

Rejoicing and waiting this week, the gift counting continues...

0733
An empty square on the calendar.

0734
Just-mopped floors.

0735
Meeting Gabriel... just adopted from Ethiopia after many prayerful years of hoping and waiting. Finally at home with his dear family.

0736
Hours of outside snow play. The cold is so much more bearable with snow on the ground.

0737
Warm blankets and books on the couch.

0738
Peppermint hot chocolate.

0739
The smell of home.

0740
Free shipping.

0741
UPS.

0742
Hannah's piano teacher.

0743
Christmas dresses.

0744
Thoughtful reading.

0745
A break from routine... time to plan and pray.

0746
Anticipation. Mema and Grandpa arrive tonight.

0747
Peace.

0748
Mercy.

0749
God and sinners reconciled.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.

Isaiah 9:2



Saturday, December 18, 2010

18 : 25 {sounds of the season}

Hannah playing Christmas carols on the piano...


Peter jumping on miles of bubble wrap... thanks, amazon.

Friday, December 17, 2010

17 : 25 {preschool party}

Today I was able to go to Peter's Christmas party at school...
loved seeing him in his classroom...





Thursday, December 16, 2010

16 : 25 {cozy in the kitchen}

It's snowing!


I prefer to enjoy the quietly falling snow from the kitchen.
When activities are canceled because of snow, I bake.

Working on pomanders at the counter, while I make...


these morsels of deliciousness.


I love cranberry-orange anything, so when I saw this recipe for a more healthful cookie...
well, I couldn't make them fast enough. Dad, you will love these!

Cranberry Orange Coconut Cookies
recipe from Passionate Homemaking

Here is the recipe as I made it. My kids would have probably appreciated sweetened dried cranberries instead of fresh, but I love the burst of tart surrounded by sweet that the fresh cranberries give.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups turbinado raw sugar (original recipe called for rapadura/sucanat)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter/coconut oil, raw sugar, egg, orange peel, orange juice, and vanilla until smooth and light.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 1-2 minutes. You may have to add 1 more Tablespoon orange juice to get it to come together. Mix in cranberries and coconut flakes.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet.

4. Bake in a 350° degrees until cookie edges just begin to brown, 12-15 minutes (shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crispier cookie). Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.

Yield: 4 dozen.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

15 : 25 {gifting}


Remember these?


Today we filled and delivered bags of goodies for all those
wonderful people that work with my husband at our church.

14 : 25 {baking and ballet}



Will could not be bothered with cookie making
with his birthday lego sets needing to be built.



And with the cookie makings still covering the kitchen counters...
Hannah, Will and I stole away for the evening.


The Warner Theatre is so beautiful. The dancers, the stage... everything was magical.
And we were able to see a few church friends in the performance.


While we were out, my husband took Peter out to dinner
and to drive around looking at Christmas lights.
And when I returned home with two sleepy kids, the kitchen was clean!
He's good to me. : )


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