All Is Well (Christmas blog hop)

Did you know that Frank Peretti, author of supernatural thrillers, wrote a Christmas story? And recorded an audiobook of it? Which is on Youtube, complete with illustrations from the children’s book version?

All Is Well, by Frank Peretti

When Penny and her mom run out of money and can’t pay the rent, it looks like they’re going to have to move. To help any way she can, Penny goes door-to-door selling whatever isn’t nailed down – including a box of Christmas ornaments. Through kindness and compassion, Penny, her mother and the whole neighborhood discover that all is well and that God does provide.


Christmas Story: A Candle in the Forest

It’s time for Candle in the Forest! This is my favorite Christmas story ever, and reading it is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.

K. M. Carroll, Author

It’s almost Christmas, and that means it’s almost time for Candle in the Forest! This is a sweet little story that I like to post each year. It’ll get you into the Christmas spirit in a jiffy.

christmas_by_lucky008Christmas by lucky008

Candle in the Forest
by Temple Bailey

The small girl’s mother was saying, “The onions will be silver,
and the carrots will be gold–”
“And the potatoes will be ivory,” said the small girl, and they
laughed together. The small girl’s mother had a big white bowl in her
lap, and she was cutting up vegetables. The onions were the hardest,
because she cried over them.
“But our tears will be pearls,” said the small girl’s mother,
and they laughed at that and dried their eyes, and found the carrots
much easier, and the potatoes the easiest of all.
Then the next-door-neighbor came in and said, “What are you doing?”

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Christmas speculation (Christmas blog hop)

I’m sitting here with this cute little guy asleep in my lap. He just had a bath, and this is his favorite place to be. It’s a chilly evening tonight in the desert, kind of cold and damp.

I was thinking about the Christmas story, how Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem. But did you ever think about how they didn’t leave Bethlehem? They were still there two years later, when the magi showed up. Then Herod had the babies killed, trying to catch Jesus in the net.
I imagine it would have been too hard on Mary and the baby to travel, so Joseph just set up shop in Bethlehem for the next few years. Then the magi arrived, gave them all this extra money and expensive goods, so they could afford to hide out in Egypt until Herod died.
Maybe it comes from writing stories all the time, but I get hung up on logistics. The Bible gives just enough information to speculate about the logistics of travel and survival. Joseph was a carpenter, so I imagine he could work anywhere. They need wooden stuff built in Egypt, too. 
Then when they moved back to Israel, they settled in Nazereth, which, according to Nathaniel, later on, was kind of the armpit of the area. “Can anything good come out of Nazereth?”
Another thing I always wondered about. By the time Jesus is crucified, he has his disciple John look after his mother Mary. So Joseph must have died by then. Do you think Jesus healed Joseph or considered resurrecting him? Jesus didn’t do it for everyone. He allowed his stepfather to die. That’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? God doesn’t operate the way we do.

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!