Thursday, December 24, 2009

Words from Wednesday

There is one thing I hate about Christmas. (Yes, it is possible for me to hate something about my favourite holiday!) The thing I hate is the feeling I get. . .about not being good enough. I despise the smug (and even condescending) looks people give when their tree is better than mine, when they talk about the presents they are giving to be superior to the measly gift I thought of, when the food I bring might not be sufficient for the caliber of people at the party, when my little tradition isn't extravagant enough. . .yah, you get the picture.

The sad thing about this, is I buy into it all! I listen to it all! I lose my confidence in the Christmas my family and I are trying to have. I actually start to feel like I am doing Christmas wrong!

That is when it is time to think back to the real Christmas story. Aside from all the stuff about the "real meaning of Christmas" being about the birth of our Saviour, I need to look at the characters—the real people—who played such a significant role in unfolding God's plan of redemption for all people.

Look at Mary and Joseph. They came from the lowliest of cities, they were poor, and they were both put into a situation that caused them to lose their respect and dignity. A young pregnant girl could be stoned. The man who took her as his wife was frowned upon. Yet God asked them to be part of His plan, and they said yes.

Look at the shepherds. They got to hear the great words of salvation first-hand from the angels. Them in their fields, probably feeling hungry, cold, and dirty. Them with all their stature and pious standing in society. Yet God asked them to be part of His plan. They dropped everything and went to see the baby.

Look at the wise men. Those nobles from another country. With all the wisdom God revealed to His chosen people over the years, it wasn't the Israelite wise men who went in search of the newborn king, but those from far away. God asked them to be part of His plan, and they followed the star and offered gifts to the baby who would one day save all of God's people.

Look at King Herod. His goal was to get rid of any threats to his power and glory. And so he created a search for this so-called king. He was so consumed with himself and his power that he missed it completely. Missed the chance to be find the baby, to lead all of the people in the way of the Lord, and to receive a free gift of salvation.

Look at baby Jesus. Christ came to this world as a helpless baby, born in a lowly stable, during a time of unrest and fear among "His" people. He came to this world poor and unassuming, but would play the greatest role in all of history—He would save us from our sins—something no person could possibly do. He listened to His Father, He obeyed God and came down from heaven to be a Saviour for all.

This Christmas those are the people I want to reflect on and perceive as important. Those are the voices I want to hear are those that said yes to God and his plan of salvation. I want to hear the voice that is calling me to obey and play a role in His redemption. Those are the voices I want to listen to, and that is the voice that I want to "buy into" this year.

Merry Christmas! Blessings to you as you reflect on the Baby born to be a Savior to us all!

*photo from here

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baby Burp Blanket Project

I found this great little Baby Burp Cloth Tutorial by Marie at "" This is a great little space. If you are crafty at all, there are some great projects for pretty much everyone there! And the instructions include great photos, too--very helpful!!!

I was looking for some creative baby gifts because there were a few babies to be born. In all honesty, I'm not great gift-giver (Yes, Helen, I know we have had this conversation a bazillion times!!! I don't feel like I am a great gift-giver!). Gift-picking-out is a huge stress for me, so this time I thought I would find something to make instead. In addition, I had a bunch of this cotton material that would work perfectly for this project, so. . .I just had to go buy all the fancy stuff. . .and that is much more exciting anyway!

So. . .here were my instructions. I printed them off, but my daughter has grown fond of cutting and colouring anything and everything. I had to do a little taping to make them read-able!

Here are some of my supplies (I was obviously trying to make a blanket for a girl!)
As for the tutorial, I made some alterations (of course!) I wanted to be a little more creative, so instead of just using quilting binding, I bought some flannel, and made the binding on my own, using 2 inch strips. Very time consuming, but much more funky! I also decided to put binding all the way around the blanket, rather than just on the top and bottom as outlined in the tutorial. I sewed the binding onto one side as you would with a quilt (tried a continuous quilt binding as shown on Hello, my name is Heather and then zigzagged the other side in place (rather than hand-sewing the whole thing. I figured I could get away with that as it was a burp blanket!) One other thing I did was put the "decorations" on one side, rather than one on each side as in the tutorial. I just thought that if there was a chance that the ribbon could get scratchy, then there was still lots of room for "usage." i dilemma-ed over adding two buttons with bows on one end for additional decoration, but then decided that might be a little too much. I might try it on my next one to see how it looks. (See, you also have to understand that I was planning to make this for my friend,thinking I had lots of time to think this over and make all those little decorating decisions, and then she had her baby two weeks early!!!!)
Here it is all rolled up and cute. I added a baby washcloth to the set as well. Maybe next time I will think about whether or not it is worth it to edge the washcloth as well. For this gift, I left it plain, and I don't think it looks so bad!
And here is some of my "boy" stuff. . .since there is a cute little boy who still needs one of these (still-so sorry Noah!), too. Hopefully I'll have some time this Christmas vacation to make a few more of these! (And a few extras to keep on hand for future babies to be born!)

Menu Plan

Menu plan for this week. . .although, everything might get changed up because of Christmas!
Monday-Thai chicken Stir-fry, Asian noodles
(Okay, so we are really having pizza instead--I was out doing some groceries and it was a cheap-o, fast-o dinner)
Wednesday-Easy Quesadillas, Guacamole (need to make this stuff --and more--for the hubby's FF party, so we're having some for supper!)
Thursday (Christmas Eve)-see below
Friday (Christmas Day)-Cinnamon buns in the morning (that is just how we celebrate birthdays in our house!) and see below
Saturday (Boxing Day. . .and more Christmas)-see below (and guacamole above!)
Sunday- will we even feel like eating today? If so, pancakes it is!
For Christmas celebrations I am to bring appies, so. . .here are a few that might be coming along with us!
(and crackers, tortilla chips, pitas, and veggies)
See more Christmas week MPM at
Wednesday, December 23 Note: I thought I would post a little extra since some of our festivities this year are a little Mexican. . .I found this easy guacamole recipe. . .and there is a little project for kids to try (growing an avocado pit. . .never tried that before!). Thought you might be interested. With this recipe, I added sour cream and a little bit of cumin to make it more "saucy." As for our kids, E liked it, A thought it was green and therefore not good to eat. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cute

I thought this was so cute, that I wanted to share this with you. . .
One of my colleagues made this. . .a Christmas Kabob! Very creative; very cute!

Merry Christmas! (And happy Christmas vacation for me!!!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Words from Wednesday (Devotional Reflections)

Reflections on Isaiah 40

My pastor challenged all of us in the congregation to read Isaiah 40 daily during the Advent season to prepare our hearts to receive our Saviour. While I haven't read this passage daily, I'm trying my best to keep up with this challenge.

When I first read through it, I didn't have too much to respond with. It didn't strike me as a typical "Advent" selection per say, but I'm also no pastor. I got the whole part about "a voice calling" and "preparing the way for the Lord" (vs.3). That part made sense with Christmas approaching. But the rest . . .

Then a few days later I read it in a different light. With a future baby with an odd heartbeat and many little pregnancy complications already—this time when I read through it, I heard a similar voice as Job must have when God finally talked to him. And maybe it was that same voice the Israelites needed to hear, too. I heard verses 6-28 from a God who is powerful over all creation; Who can measure the waters in the hollow of his hand (v.12); Who stretches out the heavens like a canopy (v. 22); Who doesn't need someone to teach him knowledge or truth because that is who He is (v. 14); Who cannot be compared to anything that we, as humans, can understand (v. 18). He's the same God of Job, the same God of the scattered Israelites, and the same God of me. He's the same powerful God who cares about the big things in life, as well as the little things. The same almighty God who has a plan that I (or Job or the Israelites) might not understand, but a God who remains faithful and trustworthy.

The words of verse 21 and 28 stood out to me, too. "Do you not know? Have you not heard?" It was almost as if Isaiah was saying, "Then why aren't you listening? Really listening? Why aren't you believing? Really believing?"

Maybe the first bit about preparing for the Saviour makes a little more sense now. For the Israelites, it wasn't about getting ready for a celebration, but about getting ready for their salvation—getting ready for the glory of the Lord to be revealed and all mankind together seeing it (v. 5). Maybe today we are called to expect it, to see it, to trust it, to believe it. Maybe today we need that renewed strength to do just that—to expect Him, to see Him, to trust Him, and to believe in Him.

(Photo from

Christmas Craft Afternoon

This past week we had our Christmas Craft Afternoon. Just thought I would show off some of the projects we made in grade one. Each craft is designed to take about 10-15 minutes, so we can do them all in one afternoon.
Here is the Popsicle Stick Star:
Here is the Stocking Christmas Card:
Here is the Snowman Door-hanger or Ornament (or card, I suppose):
Here is one from last time around--Felt Ornaments:
Here is our little craft for our parents, a Popsicle Stick Candle. . .shhh. . .it's a surprise for them! We're not quite done these yet. . .two more days to finish!
And we had a cookie-decorating station. We had students (aka: parents) bring in the cookies, the frosting, and the decorations, and then we went nuts making beautiful cookies for ourselves and our grade four buddies. We will share those cookies with them tomorrow, along with a card we made for them.
Here are our finished snowmen. . .
Here are our drying/finished stars. . .
Here are our cards. . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Sorry for my un-faithful blogging! Too busy last week! Here is a go for this week anyway!

Monday-Harvest Soup (Oma's recipe), cheesy bread sticks

Tuesday-Chicken Fajitas (Chili's Recipe)

Wednesday-Perogies and Sausages (I add peppers and other veggies, too)

Thursday (CP)- Gingered Beef, rice, salad

Friday (OAMC)- Chicken Enchiladas, corn

Saturday's Snack-Marshmallow Brownies (Christmas-style)

Sunday (BFS)-French toast, bacon

Snack--My recipe is like this one. . .but not this one. So. . .stay tuned, because I can't find it at the moment. I promise to post it before next Saturday! (I need some kind of celebration/reward for being on Christmas Vacation, and these, topped with Christmas sprinkles, etc, seem like the perfect remedy!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

BIG, Beautiful and Bold

Just thought I'd share a teaching idea that wasn't mine. . .but I use it daily! I believe the Kindergarten teacher at our school went to a workshop once upon a time and got this idea from there. She used, and now I also use, these big posters in the classroom to encourage students to "excel" in their art (drawing and colouring pictures). In grade one, especially at the beginning of the year, pictures are used to tell stories, to be labelled, to add to writing that was completed. . .whatever. So, I try to teach my kids that if you are making a picture, make it "BIG!" After you have made a picture that fills the whole picture space, add details, or make it "Beautiful!" Then once the picture has all the appropriate details, make it "BOLD!" Colour it neatly and completely!
Here are the pictures/posters we use to teach this:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Tree Day

I've been a little busy to blog lately, so I'm playing some catch-up today!

December 1st (or the weekend/Sunday nearest to that has traditionally been our Christmas Tree Day. This year we had the help of two "experts" on Christmas and Christmas trees! (I wonder how my hubby and I ever decorated for Christmas before now!)
Somehow, we managed to get all the boxes pulled out, all the lights put up, all the garlands placed just right, all the decorations hung. . .
Here are our little "experts" piling all the decorations on one branch. (Good thing they never realized that the decorations spread out a little over the evening and after they had gone to bed!)
And here is some of the food for the evening. (One of the parts my hubby and I look forward to a bunch!)
Our final product!
A few other touches. . .

Merry decorating for the holidays!

Picture again

Just thought I would post a photo again (for my family far away!) I know, these black and white photos of a blurry alien get old after a while, but over here, we can't get enough of them!
We had the excitement of getting another ultrasound again this week--only this time it included a fetal echo cardiogram. At my doctor's visit, there was a little problem with the heartbeat. Baby D decided to consistently skip heartbeats. So a day later I was scheduled with an appointment at Women's. I have to say, on the "geeky" side of this all, it was pretty cool to see a close-up of the teensy baby's heart. And they showed us the chambers and the pumping of the heart in colour and how the heart worked already this early in baby's life. The room was full of doctors (cardiologist-types) and technicians, which was quite different from any other ultrasound we have had so far. (It almost felt like a House episode!) The good news is that Baby D is fine. Nothing to worry about in terms of his or her little heart. We also learned that the hemorrhage is clearing up slowly, but will probably stick around for the remainder of the pregnancy. Otherwise, all is good, and for that we are so thankful!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Future Little One

Last week I had one more ultrasound. This was supposed to be the routine 18-20+ week one. . .you know, the one where you can get a whole bunch of teeny-tiny pre-mature pictures of your future baby that leave you guessing about what he or she might look like or act like or even become? Well, this was it for us. The technician must have been having a grumpy day--she didn't share too much with us at all! Kinda disappointing (in my humble opinion), but this is our little future family member nonetheless!
On the positive side, there is something special to me in seeing a little baby, especially as we draw closer to the Christmas season. In the midst of the beautiful parts of Christmas--the decorations, the lights, the everything--and then to think that God sent His only Son into this world in the form of a teeny-tiny baby in a lowly stable to brand new parents whose only prior qualifications were that they fully trusted in God. "Children are a gift from God." (Psalm 127:3)