Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here Is Our God : National Women's Conference

In case you were thinking of going....
It's the last day for the early bird discount ($50 off).

The Gospel Coalition
National Women's Conference

June 22-24, 2012

Orlando, FL

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Christmas day was lovely, quiet, easy. Up before dawn, just the five of us, we easily opened gifts, had a big Christmas breakfast, and walked to church before the 11:00 service. Afternoon was laid back and lego-filled. Early evening, we headed over to be with friends for Christmas dinner.

I took no pictures. Well, just this one.

I love to capture everyday moments with my camera. I'm not-so-good at getting the big events.

The calendar is beautifully clear this week for us to enjoy these slow and quiet days, write a few thank you notes, and play.

I'll be back in the New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

24 : 25 {christmas eve}

On our way to the family Christmas Eve service.

Where Peter became a sheep.

And Hannah an angel.

For the live nativity scene.
(Will is not keen on being up front.)

Home for a cozy dinner.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds.

We sat and enjoyed the fire before my pastor-husband headed back to church.

And then I prepared for the morning. Mary and Joseph's long journey came to an end. The kids will find the stable full in the morning. Baby Jesus lying in the manger.

"If Christ had arrived with trumpets and lain in a cradle of gold,
his birth would have been a splendid affair.

But it would not be a comfort to me.

He was rather to lie in the lap of a poor maiden
and be thought of little significance in the eyes of the world.

Now I can come to him."

- Martin Luther, 1530, Sermon on Luke 2

{merry christmas, everyone}

22+23 : 25 {it's the most wonderful...}

Waiting, playing, wrapping, creating, baking, delivering, eating, dancing, singing... so enjoying this most wonderful time of the year.

We have spent these past few days soaking up some mild December weather, dancing around the house with Christmas Pandora stations blaring, all while constantly munching on piles of homemade goodies delivered to our door.

A few snapshots...

Parking lot fun. Peter let me ride his new toy, too (a benefit of being 5' 2'').


Downtown Bethesda lunch and shopping.

Evening games.

Making cinnamon rolls with my girl.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

21 : 25 {rainy day}

It's a rainy day here, and we so wish this was snow!

I'm busily cleaning and organizing and encouraging my kids to get rid of a few things. Oh, the stuff. Party favors, crafts that need to be saved forever, little plastic this and that... Bleh. I'm really not a huge fan of stuff.

But a box. Now that never gets old...

Hannah has been spending a lot time behind closed doors making her gifts, and I suspect trying to find a little quiet. The boys are not so quiet.

They're all watching Rudolph now. Rain is falling. House is just about clean. Then maybe a game or puzzle. Dinner out with friends tonight.

I'm loving Christmas vacation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Glow-in-the-Dark Party

For Will's 8th birthday, he asked for a glow-in-the-dark party. It was wild.

I got many of my ideas from my dear friend, Kimmy, who had just posted about a glow-in-the-dark party for her son. Thank you, Kimmy!

The decorating was easy! I bought two florescent light fixtures at Home Depot and two black light bulbs. Each fixture/bulb cost me about $18. A white paper tablecloth. White streamers. White plates. White napkins. The black light works best with a lot of white. I bought tons of glow bracelets and glow sticks. I also bought some LED finger flashlights which the boys LOVED, but about half of them weren't working by the end of the party (very cheaply made).

Before... it looked so basic and blah...

Two bracelets taped together made perfect 8's for Will. I am positive that none of the boys noticed this detail.

The boys arrived just as the sun was setting. First stop: the dining room table to put on all their glow gear. Then the guys headed outside where they played capture the flag (glow stick) and "500" first with a glow-in-the-dark football (but the glow was not bright enough) then with a LED disc (they all loved that!). We had divided the boys into two teams based on the color of the glow stick/flashlight that they wore. I found these at Home Depot for $4 a piece. They used them all night and then took them home as their "party favor."

Inside for pizza and cake. I put glow sticks on the bottom of the snack bowls - neat effect. For their cups, I put glow bracelet inside a solid color cup then a 5 oz clear cup inside of the bigger cup, then filled it with blue gatorade. Their "glowing drinks" were a big hit.

After cake, the headed back outside for flashlight tag and general mayhem.

Whew. Maybe Peter will want a glow-in-the-dark party... otherwise I'm not so sure what to do with these black lights.

Cranberry-Orange Granola

Another variation of our favorite granola recipe (for you Angela). It's only very slightly orange flavored... just enough.

Cranberry-Orange Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup flaked coconut (I use unsweetened)
1/3 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp orange zest

1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Preheat oven to 275.
Combine first six ingredients in a bowl (oats thru pecans). Combine syrup, oil, water and zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and then drizzle over the oat mixture. Stir to coat. Transfer to a greased pan (I use a jelly roll pan covered with parchment paper - makes it easy to transfer to the counter to cool so you can use the same pan to start your next batch). Using your hands, form "clumps" of granola.
Bake for 30 minutes. THEN add the cranberries. Then bake for 15 more minutes.
Let it cool completely.

Monday, December 19, 2011

19 : 25 {gifting}

Busy here today preparing our gifts for the wonderful people who work at our church. We all love this day.

From our kids to the other pastors' kids - a tabletop s'more kit.

I found the fun red and white striped parchment paper at World Market.

Baker's twine to hold it all together.

I use these labels for everything. Cut the rounded corners off for a sharper/less Avery-label look.

The clear bags I had were too small. Oh well. It still works... kind of.

The kids loved assembling these. A can of Sterno fuel, a cellophane bag of marshmallows, a giant chocolate bar, a pack of graham crackers, and some long skewers.

While they did that, I made cranberry-orange granola.

These wooden snowflakes are from Crate and Barrel - came in a pack of 24. So pretty... I wish I bought more.

And we baked piles and piles of our favorite ginger cookies. I'll be packaging those today.

All the "Can I help?" kitchen questions, led me to pull out the oranges and cloves. Pomanders are a favorite, slow-down Christmas activity here. This way we could all be together. It's nearly impossible for all four of us to bake together in our kitchen.

I had to include this photo of Will - so proud of the car he built with his new birthday Lego set. This is a fabulous Creator set, if you need a last minute gift.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

17 :25 {christmas morning part 1 & the national tree}

My husband's parents are here for the weekend, so the kids had Christmas morning round one today.

Those starred boxes make girls happy.

Molly, Emily, and Kit are loving the additions to their wardrobe. Hannah set them up for a little photo shoot. Adorable.

Will's BIG gift. He actually said, "This is so much better than a video game!" Music to my ears.

Peter was pretty excited to receive this. He's perfecting his 360. Church parking lot, here we come.

Quiet afternoon crossword with Papa.

Then we headed down to see the National Tree...

Yup, it's pretty underwhelming, and has a definite Charlie Brown vibe. But it's a baby tree*. I get that. It can only get better.

It has to get better.

*planted in March after the last tree was blown over in a February storm.

Another angle... could they have maybe shaped it up? No, I'm sure they did all they could.

Thankfully, they have a lovely tree inside.

16 : 25 {school's out}

It was the last day of school for the year. Peter's class sang during morning assembly, Hannah's class at the end of the day, and there were parties and teacher gifts to be delivered in between. Now begins what I hope is a slower week with the kids at home... baking and crafts and books and a whole lot of not running around.

Here's the end of a late Thursday night of baking. Peter is seriously a big help in the kitchen. He'll soon be making dinner for us all.

Friday night, Nana and Papa arrived. Looking at albums while the pizza is in the oven.

Perfect ending to the day...


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