Christmas · Family life · memories

What Christmas 2020 Looked Like

Happy New Year, friends! I’ll save my New Year’s post for next week, because I can’t wait to share some favorite pics from Christmas! Instagram has a Top Nine Best Photos of the year. I’m going to share nine favorite Christmas photos from this year instead! There were just so many special moments that I don’t want to forget!

On Christmas Eve in 1980, my boyfriend asked me to marry him, and now we’re celebrating 40 Christmas’s together!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were blessed to have ALL of our immediate family together for the holiday. I think we each tried to squeeze everything we could out every minute of being together…getting caught up on conversations, asking questions of things we’d missed out on, and just loving being in person! I love this picture of Dale and Whitney. This was at Christmas brunch, enjoyed at our younger daughter and son-in-law’s.

Sisters, sisters, there were truly never no more devoted sisters!

When you’re decorating cookies and GREEN SPRINKLES are your favorite, a careful peek into the bottom of the container is necessary to ensure you have enough to finish your special cookie design!

We always have a time of Scripture reading and carols before we open gifts. Whitney was our pianist and Alli accompanied on her violin. I snapped this picture of Paul and Whintey while Dale was reading our Bible passage. If you don’t follow Whitney’s blog, you’re missing out on a ton of helpful organization, practical Dollar Tree tips and deep spiritual encouragement!

Meanwhile in the other part of the room, Alli and Andrew were wrangling little boys who were very anxious to get to the PRESENTS!

I kept things less decorated this year, but I definitely still felt all the “warm-cozy” vibes of this time of the year! We enjoy our fireplaces so very much on these dark, cold days, and so does Liza!

One of the best surprises was the SNOW we got on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day! How kind of the Lord to give us a white Christmas that just added to the beauty of celebrating our Savior’s birth! This is the front yard…

And here is the backyard…

I look forward to 2021 and all the Lord has in store for me…and you! Thanks for making my blog a part of your day! I truly appreciate those of you who read and refresh me by doing so!

Which of my nine photos is your favorite?

Happiest of New Years!

Christmas · Family life · memories

The Gift of Christmas 2020

The last of the laundry has been folded and put away. Beds are neatly made, bathrooms have been cleaned and the floors are swept and mopped, but still there is much that lingers in the corners of my home from our recent Family Christmas. The traces that are left from the past holiday will remain in the deepest part of my heart, I pray until the day I leave this world and enter the next. I share my memories with you now, more for my own heart to press each detail into my memory for its long-term preservation.

Photo credit goes to Whitney Pendell!

After this long year of severed plans, pandemic panic and so much isolation, I had held very lightly our family’s hopes for gathering together at Christmas. Proverbs reminds us that man’s goings are of the Lord. I know I can trust Him, whether what I plan comes to fruition or not. But we did make plans, and asked the Lord for His will to be done. In His grace and kindness, the Lord allowed our plans to not only come to pass, but also to surpass what we had ever imagined! Here’s how I saw that happen…

Everyone was well and able to come. No one was sick or quarantined! We were all well and able to gather together!

The Lord gave us a white Christmas that began after we were all together under our roof! The snow began to fall on Christmas Eve and left us with a few inches of fluffy snow that covered the hillsides and made the holiday so festive that even a Hallmark movie couldn’t have matched the setting (now that’s saying something!).

We created a new tradition and fun memory. The Lord brought an idea to my mind to have a cookie decorating contest. I wanted something that was easy enough for even my four-year old grandsons to participate in, so I baked snowflake-shaped cookies ahead of time, and then had the counter filled with colored icings, and a plethora of sprinkles. Everyone had been informed before they arrived what they would be given two cookies to decorate so they could gather an idea on Pinterest, or bring any aid with them, if they desired. Then in order to also include other family members in another state, we made a Facetime call to my mom so she could see the cookies on the counter and be our judge for first and second place winners! I had simple treat bags for each of the two winners. My younger daughter came in first place and my husband was second place! Everyone really put their heart into the creations and we had so much fun together!

First and Second place winners!

We shared our traditional foods our family loves. I asked everyone what they felt like was important that we have for our meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I made sure those things were provided. We enjoyed yummy sweets, but also savory soups and sides.

Holiday dinners at our house MUST end with Kentucky Derby Pie!

We had a family sleep-over! Christmas Day continued to bring more snow, so even our local family decided to bring things so they could just pack it in at our house for the night! Pallets were made on the floor for the twins, a couch was utelized, as well as both the day bed and our guest room. The next morning as everyone arose, it was so sweet to sit near the fireplace in the living room, cups of steaming coffee warming our chilled bodies, while our sleepy eyes slowly took in the new day with dimmed lights and hushed voices.
Breakfast of French Toast was made for the whole family by my husband – the King of Breakfast! No one seemed in a hurry for the day to move forward; this was our last morning together and it was another gift from our Father’s kind hand.

Sweet moments of tenderness –
Gifts – Watching four-year old’s at Christmas is a gift in itself. They were so thankful and so excited!
My grandsons gave me an oven mitt with their hand prints on it. A card included the tearful reminder that their prints would last while their hands continued to grow up and one day move away.
I received a beautiful hand-painted picture of our house! This home is a grace gift from the Lord and such a gift, so this painting is a precious reminder of how God answered my ten year prayer!
Music – My daughters are both very musical, so Whitney played the piano and Alli played her violin so we could sing carols and hymns. How wonderful to enjoy this blessing, especially after missing church for so many weeks this year!
Conversations – One of my grandsons was asking about the baby Jesus and the grown up Jesus. I had the blessing of telling him how that Baby Jesus grew up, just like he was growing up. He loved us so much that He took the punishment for our sins on the cross. I could see him processing it all in his mind. Little light bulbs are coming on, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share the Gospel with him again!
One of the boys called, “Gigi, Gigi, come see! The sun is going to bed!” He took me by the hand to show me the sun setting over the hillside. Indeed, the sun was going to bed.
Chats at the table, prayers uttered as a family, Scriptures were read, hearts were shared…all these conversations are such a gift.

I’m reminded of the Scripture that says,

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

This Christmas, our Father gave us so many good gifts, and my heart is so full of thanks. I know many who were alone. Some are suffering. Some are grieving. I don’t deserve all that the Lord did for us this Christmas, that’s why they are grace gifts. I am thankful, and give praise to my loving Father for His lavish kindness that He poured out on us this Christmas of 2020.

Come back on Friday for some photos of these memories.

Thankful and refreshed,

Christmas · leftovers · Meal planning

Dealing With Christmas Leftovers

Wow, Christmas ham or turkey goes a lot farther than that one dinner, doesn’t it? You feed eight people and there’s enough ham left over for a week of meals, but who wants to eat repeats of that dinner over and over?

No one.

What to do? Here are a few suggestions for dealing with that leftover food in your fridge:

  • Ham
  • Place slices in small freezer bags and freeze to use for another supper meal in a couple weeks.
  • Make scalloped potatoes and ham.
  • Chop up ham and use in omelets
  • Mix cubed ham with shredded cheese. Place inside a rolled out canned biscuit. Fold over like a turnover and seal. Bake. Serve with honey for a delicious breakfast.
  • Turkey –
  • Make a cream gravy and add turkey. Serve over warm biscuits for supper
  • Turkey salad – Use this recipe for Chicken salad, substituting turkey. Here’s a version of Hot Chicken Salad that you could also use substitute with turkey.
  • Make a Turkey pot pie.
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If you have leftover Green Bean Casserole or your creamed corn, you can freeze it! Place the vegetable in small Freezer bags, press flat and freeze as a flat package. It is easier to store in the freezer and also thaws quicker.

Leftover rolls – Use for a baked egg casserole, breakfast sandwich, filled with ham and an egg. They can also be frozen for a week or so.

Leftover cookies, cake or pie – Most all of these can be frozen beautifully, if packaged well. I place mine in tins, covering the inside with syran wrap. You could put ice cream between two sugar cookies and make it a specialty ice cream sandwich! Crumble cake layers for a Trifle. You could even mix pie pieces into plain ice cream for an awesome holiday flavor!

Refreshment treat
Use your leftover sprinkles as toppings for the sides of the Ice cream sandwich!

Cranberry – Make a salad dressing with it. This is Cranberry Vinaigrette is my favorite!

Make your own Frozen Dinner! Place the individual servings of the meat, potatoes, and veggies in a small disposable tin. Cover well with foil. Freeze. Pop into the oven for the best kind of “frozen dinner” ever!

You spent lots of time and money on that meal; utilize it; don’t toss it!

How do you make wise use of Christmas leftovers?

Refresh those leftovers by “reinventing them into something delicious!

Christmas · Gifts

Three Things I LOVE That Would Make a Terrific, Inexpensive Gift

It’s post-Thanksgiving! Have you started that huge (overwhelming) task of buying for everyone on your Christmas list? I know some people who just have a knack for buying the perfect gift…I’m not one of those people. I struggle with this so much! If you’re like me, I thought you might appreciate a few suggestions for the women in your life that need an inexpensive little something that is super-special in my book!

  1. Bath & Body Works Bubble BathI’m always on the lookout for a good bubble bath that smells wonderful and makes the best bubbles! I found Bath & Body Works Bubble bath this year during one of their super sales. I love this stuff so much that I probably won’t ever change! There are other fragrances, but I love Rose & Vanilla! If you wanted to bump up this gift, you could include a super-soft, large bath towel.

2. Bath & Body Works Hand and Foot Cream – With all the extra handwashing and sanitizing we’re doing, hands are taking a beating. Also, those rough heels need some TLC, too, right? I apply this cream at bedtime and in the morning it feels like I’ve had a spa treatment! My skin is so much softer after application! It’s super thick so it can really penetrate through that dry skin. If you wanted to bump up this gift, you could include some cozy slippers or plush socks.

3. Hobby Lobby Pillow Slipcovers – If you want to keep your home decor to a minimum, buying slipcovers from Hobby Lobby is the way to go! They have a zipper that allows you to throw your pillow in there. That means you can put the slipcover into the wash, if needed. Aaaaand, you can snag these at 50% off if your watch their sales. I got two of these fuzzy covers for a total of $15! What? You can’t even buy one pillow for that price! I love that it adds a winter touch to my couch, but I’m not stuck with having to store a whole pillow in the warmer months!

Don’t you think these would make great gifts for a woman on your list?

Which of these three items is your favorite?

Happy shopping!

Christmas · Family life

2019 Christmas Reflections

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Our beloved Christmas holiday is past, but the memories are precious and embedded deep in my heart and mind.  I’ll highlight some of them for you so it can be my reflection for future days.

As I stated here, we enjoyed Christmas Brunch with part of our family on the 23rd.  It was delicious, fun, and memorable!

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Our menu consisted of ~ Bacon Cheddar Grits Quiche, Biscuits (made by Alli), Fried Apples, Orange Julius and Coffee. Seconds were had by all!  Yum!!

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These two cuties had so much fun opening presents this year!

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On Christmas Eve, my husband had a noon service at our church.  What a sweet time to gather and rejoice in the HOPE we have because Christ came.  This hope isn’t a wishful kind of feeling, but a confident assurance!  Afterwards we captured a couple of pictures in the foyer.

First my husband, Dale and me.

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Then my dear friend, Kellie…

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Everyone needs a friend like her!  I’ll post about that on another day.  I just know that she is a gift in herself!

We headed to Kentucky right after church to have Christmas Eve dinner and also celebrate my dad’s 87th birthday!  What  a precious time it was in my sister and brother-in-law’s home.

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My mom is doing well and looking terrific after her major surgery – another reason to celebrate!

We took a drive after dinner to see this house in Lexington all decked out for Christmas.  These kind home owners are so generous with their decorations and home!  They allow people to walk right up to the front door, greet Santa on the sidewalk, and stroll through all their decorations!  It was such a fun way to end the evening!

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The greatest reflection is Christ, our Savior Who came to be born so you and I could have eternal life!  That is a reality for every day of 2020!  No matter what comes, He is our Hope!

I pray your Christmas was a reflection of God’s love.

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