Advent Verses

I found this great article in a Christmas edition magazine from Better Homes and Gardens. (2000)

For a quiet time activity that teaches the true meaning of Christmas, gather the family and share the Bible readings below. This compilation of verses includes the prophecy and birth of Jesus, interspersed with favorite Psalms.

Day 1 –Micah 5:2-5a

Day 2–Psalm 72, A Prayer for the King

Day 3–Isaiah 11:1-6

Day 4–Psalm 121, A Song of Ascents

Day 5–Romans 15:12-13

Day 6–Isaiah 7:14-15

Day 7–Isaiah 9:6-7

Day 8–Psalm 98,  Sing a New Song

Day 9–Luke 1: 26-38

Day 10–Luke 1: 39-45

Day 11–Luke 1: 46-50, 56

Day 12–Matthew 1: 18-25

Day 13–Luke 2: 1-7

Day 14–John 3: 16-17

Day 15– John 1: 14-18

Day 16–Luke 2: 8-14

Day 17–Isaiah 12: 5-6

Day 18–Luke 2: 15-20

Day 19–Psalm 100,  A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Day 20–Matthew 2: 1-6

Day 21–Numbers 24: 17

Day 22–Matthew 2: 7-10

Day 23–Matthew 2: 11-12

Day 24–Proverbs 3: 5-8

Day 25–Psalm 145,  My God and King

Take A Ride

The only money that this activity will cost is a little gas money.  Take your special someone….or the entire family, to look at Christmas lights.  Most cities and towns decorate for the holidays. If you’re lucky, you might find whole neighborhoods that go in together to put on a full light extravaganza. It is fun to see which neighbor has the most “over the top” display, or which one is “Christmas classic”.

Check out your local paper to see if there are any Holiday light shows or house tours going on in your area. I know when I lived in Knoxville, TN. we had the Victorian House Tour. I loved it! Several houses in Old North Knoxville would be decorated for Christmas. The owners were gracious enough to let us, “looky loos”, into their homes to see their turn of the century houses adorned with beautiful decorations.

There are also Christmas parades that don’t cost anything to watch….but are plenty of fun!

Plenty of things to do around town…things that don’t cost much, but would be full of Christmas memories.  Go look…and have fun!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I wanted to share something my friend Adela recently wrote for her Facebook status……

This Thanksgiving, we may think we’re poor, feel like bums, insecure.
But in truth, our riches astound. We have friends & family we love, We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more than they sell in stores, We’re wealthy, when push comes to shove.
So add up your blessings, enjoy what you’ve got; Realize ….it’s a lot,
And you’ll make all your cares go away!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY EVERYONE!!

Bargain Christmas

Now, I admit I might be a little slow….but, I did not know until recently that Goodwill had shopping online!  If you love Ebay, you’d love too!  I’ve been a fan of Goodwill for years, but I always just went to the store to shop.  (I have an addiction to   comfy T-shirts with crazy slogans on the front) Anyway, I’m getting off task here…. so, on a recent jaunt to the store I noticed a big sign out front that said shoppers should check out their online site.  Never one to turn down a deal I did as they said and was pleasantly surprised.

Now, if you are a mall shopper, and the thought of recycling items makes you ill then maybe you should not continue reading this post. If trash to treasure makes you uneasy or finding a hidden gem is scary….then this is definitely NOT the blog post for you.

BUT, if you are like me and are up for some treasure hunting and like to use your creativity for good, then you’ll love today’s Christmas experiment post.  I personally love old things. Things with a story. Things with character. I’m not a big fan of the mass produced if it can be helped.  So, I noticed when browsing the site today that there are lots of holiday decorations for cheap. You can go online and bid for an item–similar to the whole Ebay thing.  I noticed some vintage Christmas balls for the tree, still in the original boxes. Talk about character. They looked beautiful.  They would be perfect for the tree if you don’t have young children or pets that would grab them….or in a pretty bowl to set on your table. Or to hang from your windows with a bit of ribbon.  I also saw a ton of nativity scenes.  (Why anyone would want to get rid of their nativity scene is beyond me.) How about pieces for a Christmas village or the piece de resistance…a box of  four Christopher Radko ornaments? (a guy who designs and makes gorgeous glass ornaments) Some stuff is kitchy and not really what I’m interested in, but a true “yard sale junkie” loves the thrill of the hunt for that one thing that makes it all worth while.  You know what I mean.

So, go have some fun. Check it out.  Even if you don’t want to buy anything right now….you might get some good ideas.  Who knows you might find the perfect holiday piece, for very little money. With a little TLC you could give it an entirely new life….at YOUR house for Christmas.

Holiday Drinks

A couple of years ago my aunt gave me a Christmas book. ( It is Jeanne Bice’s Quacker Factory Christmas book. ) I love it!  It’s a simple book filled with family stories and loaded with great recipes and decorating tips for the holidays. Right up my alley, so to speak.

I thought I’d share with you, two of her drink recipes.

Donna’s Hot Chocolate—- this is a slow cooker recipe. I love to make it and have the family and I  dip into the pot through out the day. Nothing is better than a mug of hot chocolate on a cold wintry day!  Also great to take to a Christmas party, or to have available after a day of sledding, or an evening of Christmas caroling in the neighborhood.

1 box instant powdered milk (8 quart size)

1 pound box Nestle’s Quik

One 6 oz. jar non-dairy creamer

1/2 cup powdered sugar

(the ingredients might cost a little extra money up front…but it makes a lot of mix so you will get many, many cups of hot chocolate out of this in the long run.)

Mix the dry ingredients and put in a container until you need it. ( I use a large tupperware container–the one that is used to keep cereal in.)

To use:  add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry mix per cup of water in your slow cooker and mix it well. Turn the slow cooker to low, and let it simmer.  ( I give it an hour or two….but just taste test it to see if it is hot enough for you:)  You might wish to top with some whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Cider in a Slow Cooker—makes about 8 cups, but is easily doubled or tripled.

2 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon whole clove

1 teaspoon allspice

8 cups apple cider

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 sliced orange

Put cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it to form a bag.

Warm the brown sugar  and cider in the slow cooker until the sugar dissolves. Add the spice bag and place the oranges on top. Turn the slow cooker on low and simmer at least 2 hours….Just remove the spice bag before serving.  Enjoy!

By the way, both these drinks are yummy to consume….but also make your house smell absolutely delicious while they are simmering in the crock pot!

I found some more stuff to share for the Christmas Experiment…..guess you’ll have to check it out tomorrow!!!

Family Picture Wreath

People, the Christmas Experiment is like a snowball. The more I get rolling the bigger it gets!

I saw a super neat idea the other day for a unique indoor Christmas wreath.

Go find an old wire hanger. We all have these hangers around the house….somewhere. (I now prefer the plastic kind, but I still have a ton of the wire ones around….most in the hall closet.)  Bend the wire hanger into a circle to make a form for your wreath.  You can either use original family pictures (of various sizes) or if you don’t want to take the chance of messing up your pics, you can make color copies of them (if you have a copier).  Either take some scotch tape or some of that sticky tack  stuff to attach your pics to your wire wreath form.  Arrange the pics so some overlap others.  If you are feeling extremely festive you can get some ribbon and make a bow to hang from your wreath.  Hang your wreath in a place that it is easily visible to visitors. Family will have a fun time looking at your creative wreath full of family memories from years past.

(P.S.) This can also be done with the fronts of Christmas cards if you are just too squeamish to use your actual pictures.  Christmas cards will also be colorful and fun to look at:)

Simple Country Pleasures

The simplest of pleasures is sometimes just a kind word spoken to others……

Great little One! whose all-embracing birth
Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.
~Richard Crashaw

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up to find yourself in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found?”  —-J.B. Priestley, novelist and playwright

“At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.” –Thomas Tusser

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” –Dr. Seuss

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” –Peg Bracken

“The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.” –Helen Keller

“Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmas time.” –Charles Dickens