Fictional Christmases (Christmas Blog Hop)

I’ve been trying to think of what books have my favorite Christmases in them. Like, ones that made me all warm and fuzzy.
I was thinking of the one in the Four Story Mistake, by Elizabeth Enright. The dad tells the kids that he’s pretty much broke and they won’t have much for Christmas. So the kids get busy and make presents for each other, or save pocket money to buy special things. And between that and presents from friends, they wind up having a great Christmas. But it was because they had given so much that it was so good.
Another favorite is the Christmas in the fourth Mitford book, Out to Caanan, by Jan Karon. Christmas is always good in the Mitford books, but that one is special, because that’s when the hardened construction foreman, whom the hero had butted heads with the entire book, has his huge change of heart. It’s wonderful.
In the first Harry Potter book, Christmas is especially nice because Harry doesn’t expect to get anything. And not only do his friends give him presents, but a mysterious benefactor gifts him his dead father’s invisibility cloak. Of all the Harry Potter Christmases, that one is the nicest, because the mystery is so pleasant.

(Although I do like the one in book 3, when he gets the new broomstick.)
What book Christmas is your favorite? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned?


More thankfulness (Christmas blog hop)

It’s two weeks until Christmas. Cue the screaming and panic.

I haven’t done any Christmas shopping at all. Mostly, all I’ve done is take care of a baby, and keep my head above water when it comes to school and housework. A night when I get enough sleep is a big deal. Christmas presents? I’ll get there. 

Especially since my kids want gift cards and kazoos for Christmas. Not kidding.

Me, I’m content to just be not pregnant. I’m not sick or in pain the way I was since March. I’m getting strong again, and babies are fun. That’s all the Christmas present I need. Heck, I can play video games with my husband again, instead of being in too much pain to even sit in a chair.

Let me tell you, I’m excited to head into a new year of not being pregnant. Whatever adventures transpire, at least I won’t be a bloated whale. So thankful for good health!

I do have a writing blog post brewing in my head. Not very Christmasy, so I’ll try to save it until New Years. Blogging every day is hard, but it also gets that brain working. I keep realizing that I do have things to blog about. 🙂 

Thankful for a battery (Christmas blog hop) 

 I know we just had Thanksgiving, but Christmas is a great time to be thankful, too. And right now, I’m thankful for a car battery.
I was due to have a baby on November 3rd. My parents watched the other kids as the clock counted down. My husband and I did last minute errands, ferried kids back and forth, and grabbed last-minute dates. 
I went into labor in the early morning on the 4th. We want to the hospital that afternoon, and I had the baby that evening. My hubby went home for the night, and came and got me when they released me and the baby from the hospital. The car acted just fine through all this.
Two days passed, and it was time to take the baby for his first checkup. We get in the car, and it won’t start. The starter just makes that buzzing sound when the battery is dead.
Fortunately, my parents had come over to watch the kids, and were able to whisk us to the appointment. Then my dad and hubby jumped the car and took it down to get a new battery.
It wound up being a non-issue. But imagine what might have happened if that battery had died when I needed to go to the hospital. Or if it had died in the hospital parking lot. Or any of the times we took the kids to where my parents were staying.
It could have died at all kinds of really rotten times. But it held on until the kerfuffle was past, and the best possible circumstances were in place.
If that’s not the hand of God at work, I don’t know what is.
So that’s why I’m thankful for a car battery.

Plans for Christmas Present (Christmas blog hop)

Haha, Christmas Present, I crack myself up.

Anyway, I forgot to write a blog post last night, so I’ve missed a day of the hop. Bad llama! I got busy playing videogames with friends last night and just … completely forgot. The baby cooperated for once and slept on my lap. It was wonderful to goof off again.

I’ve been trying to think of something special to cook for Christmas Eve. When I was growing up, we always had the big family get together on Christmas Eve, and we’d do a big dinner and stuff. Since our family was so big (six kids), we kind of winged it every Christmas. Some years we did Mexican buffet platters. Some years we did do-it-yourself sandwiches. Some years we did clam chowder in bread bowls. I know that turkey and stuff is traditional, but man, it’s all the same food you eat at Thanksgiving. Why not mix it up?

I was thinking about the clam chowder bread bowls, in particular. As it gets cold, I have this insatiable appetite for soups of all kinds. I’ve made potato soup lots of times, but I’ve never made clam chowder, even though I love it. And the kids have never experienced the wonder that is bread bowls. Makes me think of the song from Willy Wonka: “You can even eat the dishes!”

We have no family or friends down here to do holidays with, so I’ll just be cooking for us. Fortunately, there’s eight of us, so it’s not exactly lonely, heh!

Memories of Christmas past (Christmas blog hop)

Today the new Super Smash Bros came out, so my husband and kids are in the living room playing that. I’m in my nice quiet room with my laptop and the baby, and it’s time for a blog!

Last Christmas, my oldest daughter started throwing up on Christmas Eve. The day after Christmas, the rest of them did. It wasn’t a fun holiday, let me tell you. I ran from kid to kid with a bucket. So, this year, I’m pouring the kombucha to them. (Kombucha is a probiotic drink, a kind of fermented tea.) I’ll be darned if we’re going to have another sick Christmas.

Not to mention having a month-old baby who I don’t want to catch germs. He’s already so sweet and cute, and getting fatter by the day. He’s starting to smile at everyone. The kids fight over who gets to hold him.

There’s been lots of Christmas babies over the years. Some were tiny, while others were big enough to want to crawl to the Christmas tree and bite the lights. All of our ornaments are made of either wood or plastic, to ensure they survive from year to year. One Christmas that stands out in my mind was the year we were between couches, for some reason. The living room was huge and empty with no couch and chair, and our Christmas tree took up such a tiny spot all by itself. But the kids LOVED having all that empty space to roll around in and fill with toys. It was almost disappointing to get a couch in January.

Christmas wallpaper by lucky008

God’s been so good to us through the years, too. We don’t deserve the grace he showed us over and over. I always think of that verse about him gently leading the sheep who have young, because that’s been how he’s dealt with me. And I’m so thankful.

Click here for the blog hop hostess, Pom Pom!

Really big dollar bills (Christmas blog hop)

Earlier this evening, my son asked me, “Is there a bill higher than a 100?”

I replied, “I don’t know, Google it.”

We discovered that only the bills up to $100 are still being printed. However, there are also 500, 1000, 5000, 10k, and 100k bills. They’re still legal tender, and most are in private collections.

“So, who is on the biggest one?” I asked.

Apparently Woodrow Wilson is on the 100k. 10k has Salmon p. Chase, 5k has James Madison, 1k has Grover Cleaveland, and 500 has William McKinley.

I will likely never see one of these dudes outside of the internet. But isn’t that fascinating?

This got the kids interested in the Presidents. So we dug up the Presidents song by Jonathan Coulton. It’s kind of rude and sometimes irreverent, but man, is it a quick way to learn the presidents and a little factoid about them.

Also, it’s pouring rain outside. Never let them tell you it doesn’t rain in the American Southwest, because this year, it’s rained a LOT. The desert is gloriously green.

Every day in December bloggers 





Granny Marigold:

Karen (Happy One):





Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies – Christmas blog hop

Today was cloudy and dark, and we’re beginning to run out of snacks around here. So I decided to bake some cookies. But I was tired of chocolate chip cookies …so I present to you, courtesy of Pinterest …

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies From Crispy Crunchy Sweet

Mine didn’t turn out nearly this pretty. In fact, they were so ugly that my second batch, I did the hash marks with a fork just to make them look a little less like hardened splatmarks.

No, I will not show you a picture. You’ll just have to imagine it.

Anyway, they tasted great, and the kids summarily devoured them. My hubby asked for them to be included in his lunch. So I give this recipe the Stamp of Approval (TM).

Recipe over here!

Christmas blog hop day 4

It’s been another gorgeous day here in Tuscon, but it’s begun to cloud up. We’re supposed to have a big storm by the end of the week. I’m glad. Big storms make me want to bake Christmas goodies.

As I write, my husband is playing a puzzle game as the kids watch and give suggestions. The baby is asleep in my lap. It’s just a pleasant, peaceful evening. My favorite!

The baby is a month old today. I feel like my brain is slowly coming back. I’m able to make jokes again and enjoy life. All these things that had become super hard when I was big and pregnant are easy again. As I’ve been cleaning house, I find that I’d let so much slide–like mopping floors. I swept, but I didn’t mop, and boy are my floors bad. But now I have energy and I’m not in pain. Watch out, floors. You’re next!

Sorry this post isn’t very Christmasy. Mostly, today I was occupied with drilling math facts into the kids. Hopefully I’ll have better Christmas blog ideas tomorrow.

Babies and Jesus (Christmas blog hop day 3)

I’m trying to muster up some Christmas cheer today, but all I can think of is Monday. House cleaning. School. Juggling a baby who wants to be part of things but is only a month old.

Speaking of which, I’ve spent a lot of time holding him and thinking about baby Jesus. I’ve seen people argue about how old Jesus was before he knew who he was. Well, watching my little fellow, I think the answer is: birth.

My little guy knows exactly who he is and what he wants. He just can’t express it because his body isn’t developed enough yet. He watches me talk to him and moves his mouth in talking motions, imitating me. He studies his siblings and daddy, learning their faces, and he smiles in recognition. He’s a somber little guy, very serious and detail-oriented. I think we’ll get along just fine.

The point is, Jesus knew who he was. All babies do. They just can’t do much about it. And they really do hate being babies. I think it’s one reason they cry–out of sheer frustration. My little guy watches the other kids play, and he wants to play with them so BADLY. Especially his three and five year old sisters. He watches them with such longing.

Those are my thoughts for today–it’s Monday, and I’m mostly thinking about my dirty house and who will be assigned what chores. Hard to feel very Christmasy on a Monday. 🙂

Christmas blog hop day 2: Cinnamon roll cake

This past year, I discovered the glories of Pinterest.

Pinterest is like having stacks of magazines on any topic imaginable. Any time you want, you can pull them out, flip through them, and admire the gorgeous photography. This is especially true in regards to recipes.

Every so often, I’ll go on a pinning spree and collect all kinds of recipes I’d like to try someday. One of these was called cinnamon roll cake.

Cinnamon roll cake is a coffee cake with caramelized cinnamon sugar swirled through it. It’s delicious, especially if you add sliced apples to the bottom. My mom made it for me right after I had the baby, and it was the best thing I ever ate.

So, yesterday, as the kids were decorating the Christmas tree, I whipped up another one. And, oh man, was it good. I had to beat the kids off it so my husband could have some when he got home.

So if you’re looking for a tasty, easy-to-make treat for the holidays, here’s a good one.

Other blogs in the hop:

My Field of Dreams

Pom Pom’s Ponderings


Granny Marigold:

Karen (Happy One):