Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On the First Day of Christmas

Well, I've had a couple really rough days.  The weekend I staying home except for a trip to get some food on Saturday.  Kyle picked me up some more Mucinex on his way home from work and not even that seemed to help.  By Monday morning I was coughing, hacking, throwing up, and a lot more, but we won't get into all that.  Today has been just as bad.  Kevin came out to check on me as I was running back and forth to the bathroom to see if I needed anything.  Then he apologized for not being able to do more than be supportive.  Wow!  I love that man.  I love that he wants to do more to help me to try and take away my suffering.  I don't know why this season, this year, has been so hard on me.  It's so frustrating!  I'm just glad the weather is getting a little warmer over the next couple of days.  Hopefully that will help.  I'm done with this whole being sick thing!  Please go away!

Now, let's change the subject and talk a little Christmas....today, other than the recipe, it's all stuff I wanted to share because it's makes such a difference in our holiday traditions!  Hope you don't mind.

Something Old:

When you are purchasing your stocking stuffers, include a couple of the single serving size boxes of your child's favorite cold cereal.  Then they can open them and snack during the gift opening instead of just munching on candy and treats so early in the morning.  They'll love it and they'll have something to keep their tummies in check until brunch is served.  

Something New:

This is something brand new for us, and could be something new for you too!  With it being the first day of the twelve days of Christmas, it's the day to begin the 12 candles.  Light the first candle tonight and discuss during dinner the real meaning of Christmas.  The candles remind us of the Light of Christ.  Then tomorrow, light two (the one you lit last night and a new one), then three and so on until Christmas Eve when you have 12 candles lit (It will be Christmas Night for our family since we started this late).  At first it will be hard to see with only one or two candles lit, but eventually the glow will be bright and warm for your Christmas Eve dinner (Ours on Christmas Night).  And each night, you'll have remembered the Reason for the Season and brought the Spirit into your home.  Now isn't that the most important part?

We lit our first candle tonight.  We did it around the kitchen counter because no one felt like preparing a big meal and eating around the table tonight.  We picked up fast food through the drive through.  It wasn't the best meal, but this made up for that.  This was very quick.  The question was asked what do you think about when you hear the name Christ and we went around talking about that for a bit.  Lexi went first and shared what she thinks of.  It was nice.  I even got an, "I love you Mom." about half an hour after.  I can't wait to light the rest of the candles.  I think this will be something we all will look forward to every night.   Below is a photo of our tray of candles and our first candle lit.  A new tradition has begun.  Love it!  

Something Borrowed:

I never dreamed I would be saying this, but I've sort of had my fill of looking at Pinterest and all the holiday pins.  After all, women cannot live by Pinterest Christmas pins alone!  Whodathinkit??  Here's a yummy Christmas Cookie idea....

Candy Cane Snowballs

3 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla (or if you prefer a stronger peppermint flavor, you can replace 1 teaspoon of vanilla with a teaspoon of peppermint extract)
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups finely crushed candy canes, divided.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk

In a mixing bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add vanilla and egg and beat until combined.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Slowly add to mixing bowl, beating until combined, about 1 minute. Stir 1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes in by hand.  Roll dough into small balls using just under a teaspoon of dough. Rolls balls through granulated sugar to coat and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool. While cookies bake, stir together remaining 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar with 2-3 T. of milk. Add just enough milk to form a thick glaze. Drizzle over cooled cookies and top with remaining crushed candy canes immediately.

Something to do:

I don't know about you, but I'm not ready yet.  I have a lot to do still.  (being sick isn't making this easy)  I'm trying to stick to the budget!  Speaking of budgets....I was reading an article about holiday budgets and found these thoughts and wanted to share.
Most of us cannot remember gifts we received last year, let alone as a child.  It's the family traditions and memories that really stand out.  When deciding what to buy and what to do, first consider your family's favorite traditions and holiday memories. What truly brings a smile to your face? What is the one thing you'd most like to do this holiday? Is there something new you'd like to try?  ... If you don't have the cash in your pocket, you shouldn't be buying. You can't afford it. Next month, when the bills are coming in, chances are you're not going to be in better shape.  

I thought that this was basic wisdom.  When things were go we would go completely crazy for our kids at Christmas.  Other years not so much.  On the years we went completely crazy we would feel the effects of going crazy for several months into the new year.  Then, one day I heard Dave Ramsey say, "cut up those credit cards" and it changed my whole perspective.  Our simplified Christmas has become so much fun.  Our improved traditions of sticking to a budget and sometimes using categories (sometime the categories just don't fit) has simplified it all for me and our budget is much less stressed!  The kids have no way of guessing who's is who's and then when they start opening gifts and calling out, "This is the need!  This is the want!  This is the talent!", it's a hoot to watch.  It's becomes a favorite tradition and it's saved thousands in the past few years!  Love it!  Here are some suggested categories....

1. a want
2. a need
3. a book
4. a movie
5. something to wear
6. something church related (from new ties to a framed picture of the temple, to a new set of scriptures or a new music CD to listen to)
7. something talent related

Pajamas and stocking stuffers do not count.  It's been the best thing that's ever happened to our Christmas....to the budget, to the memories, to the Christmas morning event itself!  We love it!

This year has been tough because Kyle says he doesn't want anything.  I'm having a hard time coming up with things for him.  I am doing pretty good with Lexi and the categories though.  Love it!  

A few rambling thoughts:

  •  I came home to what you see in the photo below after going out to get fast food tonight for dinner.  Dogs!  At least it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  Silly dogs. 

  • I mentioned that I've made a few lifestyle changes recently right?  Well, basically I'm eating healthier and drinking a lot more water.  There's a lot more to it, but all in all it's been great.  I have lost 18 pounds so far.  Yay me!  Now, my doctor has never said this to me, but I'm sure the extra pounds do not help me when I get sick.  So, I'm determined to shed a few of them and try to improve my overall health.  I think 18 pounds lost during the holidays is an amazing accomplishment, don't you??  
  • Watching people like Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Annie Lennox, Stevie Nicks, Olivia Newton-John, and Pat Benatar perform is awesome, but my 49 year old brain cannot wrap my head around these singers from my teens being so old!!!  I'm not aging, whys are they???  (ha!!!, I wish!)
  • It's suppose to rain at the end of this week.  At least that's what my phone showed this morning.  I love it when it rains, but for some reason the whole idea of a cold snap scares me to death now.  I don't want to get sicker.  WAIT!   It's changed!  Thank goodness the rain forecast has disappeared from the phone now.  Yay!
  • Danielle and Chance will be spending Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day with us.  We will get to talk to Curtis in 12 more days!  Yay!  
  • Tomorrow they are doing a gift exchange at work.  I'm thinking I won't be participating so as not to go out in the night air tonight.  I don't want to risk it and not make it to work tomorrow.  I think my co-workers will appreciate that I be at work and not participate, right?!
  • We have tickets!  We are going to the movies at the end of this week!  I'm excited.  It should be fun for all of us.  Love it!  Can't wait. (Let's hope I won't be hacking and coughing so I can go.)

Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.  Enjoy your day.
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