But I'm going to change things up a bit and give a little present to my newsletter subscribers anyway!
I have been wanting to memorize more Bible verses (though it's been challenging to follow through with how busy things have been the last couple months!), and I think it is so much easier to memorize verses if they are printed in a pretty way.
The very first year Derek and I were married, I went all out on the holiday baking. When you are newly married, the holidays are twice as exciting, and for Thanksgiving and Christmas that year, I baked as much as our small budget would allow us. I actually made four different kinds of fudges for Christmas. Four! That's not even counting the cookies and store bought candy. It's a wonder we made it through January without having to buy all new pants.
Lucky for you guys, all that fudge recipe experimenting made me a fudge-making expert, and now I come up with a new variety practically every month. Since Thanksgiving is in two days, I thought I'd share my newest fudge recipe with you. In case you are an over-eager holiday food maker, like I am. You may not need another pumpkin recipe with the abundance of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but this recipe is great for Christmas too!
A few months ago I went to a party of a friend. She used one of those e-invite systems (I'm still not sure what I think about them, because I'm old-school and still send party invites through the mail). With e-invites you can usually see everyone else's comments about their RSVP - and I was in a curious mood, so I read through some of the responses.
One comment in particular caught my eye - someone said they couldn't come to my friend's party because the party was in the evening, and their toddler usually went to bed at 7:00 PM.
The comment struck me, I think in part because I understand even more than most how miserable things can get when your child is cranky and tired. I have four kids under five, three of whom still nap and also go to bed at 7:00 PM. When one of the kids cries, at least a couple more join in.
This year we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house. I am not one of those mini Martha Stewarts that has a grand plan for place settings and gourmet-type Thanksgiving dishes. But my sister-in-law told me long ago that hosting Thanksgiving can be easy, because you just cook the turkey and have guests bring the sides. I am taking her sage advice, and we are keeping things simple. If I get the urge, I may buy some cloth napkins for our Thanksgiving table. This is the extent of the "fancy" around here.
I want to keep Thanksgiving simple this year, because I want to spend less time stressing about getting a huge meal prepared, and more time enjoying our family and focusing on our gratitude for the blessing God has given us! So one thing I would love to do over the days leading up to Thanksgiving is teach my kids some Bible verses that have to do with giving thanks.
I have a little confession to make - Christmas time stresses me out.
When I was a child, Christmas season was a month full of fun. Parties, Christmas decorations, good food, time with family and friends, presents - what was not to love? Little did I realize how much work went into all that Christmas magic every year, especially by my mom. Now I'm the mom, and I realize just how stressful all the logistics of Christmas can be.
Over the last couple years I have been trying to figure out how to go about making Christmas less of a stress - so I can have a December that is a month full of fun for me too! These are a few things that I have figured out so far (I'd love to hear any of your tips, so comment below with your thoughts)!
I had an afternoon with half the kids the other day.
Maybe I should back up a bit. Life has been busy but good. I am slowly figuring out this four kid thing, but I'm not going to lie, our house is rarely peaceful these days! Derek took the boys with him to process his deer last weekend (we really only eat wild game, and it saves us a ton of money in beef costs), and I was left with only Gwen and Clarice.
I forgot how quiet the house is when there are half the kids around. On the one hand, it was nice to have a relatively peaceful afternoon. On the other hand, I almost cried kissing those sweet little boy faces goodbye, even if it was only for a few hours.
"We're having a baby!"
As those words fell joyfully from my sister's lips, I began a journey that has been one of my most treasured aspects of my life. I gained a title before my name and it changed my world.
"You get to have all the fun of kids and at the end of the night you get to give them back!"
This is the tongue in cheek attitude towards being an aunt that everyone talks about,
but there is so much more that no one ever discusses.
Have you ever had that experience where an event simultaneously seems so recent and so long ago? That is how I am feeling right now thinking about Clarice's birth. Has it really been a month already? But at the same time, how is it that a month ago we didn't even know this little darling yet? It seems like she has always been here!
I am a mother who works. I didn’t intend to end up this way, but I didn’t avoid it, either. I never spent a lot of time deciding whether I should stay at home exclusively or split my time between chasing little kids at home and caring for sick ones in the hospital. Yet that is where I find myself, and I’m learning more about motherhood through my work than I ever realized.
I was lucky to find my way into the nursing profession, mostly as a skill to use working overseas. While my husband and I worked in Cambodia with a nonprofit for three years, we decided to have a go at parenting. We gave birth to our son, and I stayed home with him for the next eight months, until we moved back to the States. There really wasn’t another option. Daycare doesn’t exist in Cambodia, and I wanted those precious first months with him.