Countdown To Christmas 4

This week let’s bake the cookies for the family. Having the kids or grandkids help to make and decorate them is always fun. Make sure each of the kids has a part in the fun. At two they can pour something in the bowl (maybe with a little help) from the measuring cup. The three through four-year-old’s can do this themselves. Around six the can start to do the measuring. Show them the mark on the measuring cup and guide them to check the mark each time they add more of their ingredient.

This is my recipe for sugar cookies. One that most kids love and have fun making.

1 cup shortening

1 ¼ cup sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

3 t baking powder

½ t salt

1 t vanilla

Mix ingredients in order of the list. Drop by a spoonful on a cookie sheet. Or you can chill the dough and roll out to ¼ inch on a floured counter and use cookie cutters to make the shapes. Bake at 375 degrees 8 to 10 minutes. Edges will be slightly golden.

Once the cookies are baked and cooled let them have fun with frosting and decorating. This is my frosting for sugar cookies. It forms a light crust when dry.

4 cups of powdered sugar

½ stick of butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

a splash milk at a time until frosting is thick and smooth

Beat well between additions of milk to check consistency. This makes enough for a double batch of sugar cookies.

Then have colored sugar, sprinkles, and candies for decorating.

Another thing you can do with the kids is have them go through their toys. Tell them they can give toys or games that they don’t play with anymore. Pick the nicest looking toys or games and wrap them. Call a children’s hospital and see if there are children your kids can share their gifts with.

This will be a good lesson for them on sharing. As you give the gifts, have the kids talk with those receiving them how you can pray for them. Don’t visit too long, you don’t want to tire the kids out.

Please take time for yourself to rest. Don’t worry about things. Enjoy what you have ready. The time with family and friends is what is important. The Reason for the Season is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Countdown To Christmas 3

Do you send Christmas cards or a Christmas letter? My husband writes our Christmas letter. People tease me about not doing the letter with me being an author, but my husband has a real sense of humor and writes a really fun letter.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Your husband or kids, if they are old enough to help, can sign and address the cards and envelopes. The younger kids can help with stuffing the envelopes and putting on the stamps.

Will you be sending our packages this year? Mail them out this week to make sure they get there on time. It’s also something to mark off your list that’s time sensitive.

This is also a good week to think about those who serve you or may be alone over the holidays. Start some extra baking of some simple things. They can be cakes, bar cookies, breads. Make them size appropriate to where they are going. If it’s a person that’s alone make a half cake, small loaf of bread or small plate of cookies. For the police and fire station take a whole cake, platter of cookies, or a larger loaf of bread.

Encourage the kids to help with making these and decorating them. Talk with them about why you are taking them to shut ins. That some people don’t have many family or friends in the area and they really appreciate others thinking of them. Also talk about how the police and firemen are always available to protect us. It makes them feel good when people tank them for their service and take them some treats as a thank you gift.

Make sure you have the kids go with you when you deliver the goodies. Spend time with the people when you drop off the things you have baked. Take a picture and post it showing how your children are reaching out in thanks for those who serve us. You’re reaching out in love to others and serving God too.

Who will you be reaching out to?

Countdown to Christmas 1

Christmas is just around the corner. Take a deep breath you can do this. It just takes a little planning.

We always put up an Advent calendar for the kids when they were young and now their children. It’s a fun way to count down the days until Jesus’ birthday. Here’s link where you can get many ideas for making your own Advent calendar:

Take stock of where you are on your shopping lists, both food and gifts. Do you have things to order and ship? Make sure to allow enough time so everything is ready by Christmas. Remember to buy ahead as much as possible. It helps to spread out the cost and the frustration of having so much to do later.

When do you decorate the house?

Make it special.

It can be your immediate family or you can invite extended family, and friends. One year my husband was working on a renovation project and I had the two oldest grandchildren for the day. They were four and five at the time I had them help me decorate. They had a blast. I got the step stool out so they could reach a little higher with the ornaments, while I did the upper part where they couldn’t reach. My husband and I had gotten to a point where we didn’t get out all of the ornaments, but the kids had every single one out of the box. They were either on the tree or the bookshelf. I left the tree decorated the way it was, bare spots and all. They were so proud of themselves for all of their hard work.

Assign the decorating by age. Make sure the little ones feel part of all of it. Have a craft or coloring pages for them if they loose interest in the decorations. This will keep them busy while the others finish up.

When you are done turn off the lamps and enjoy the Christmas lights. Read a story of the nativity to remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. Here are some links for books: The Berenstain Bears, The Very First Christmas (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) Kindle Edition , The Christmas Story Hardcover  , Away in a Manger Paperback , This Babe, So Small

You can have dinner by the tree. When our girls were little we lived in Michigan. My husband was in charge of dinner one night and decided to have a winter picnic thinking it would be an easy dinner for him to prepare. We spread out a blanket and used paper plates. Cooked hot dogs on a stick in the fireplace, and had all of the regular picnic food. We continued this until the girls were adults. It became a fun tradition.

If you live in the south think of something wintery to do. Have hot comfort food and for dessert hot cocoa and cookies. If you have a fireplace light a fire and turn off the lights except for your decorations. If it’s warm you can always open the windows.

Make it a special time that is out of the ordinary for where you live. It will make it even more special.

Take things a little at a time. Write out a schedule for each week with your tasks. This way it won’t be so daunting. Relax this year and enjoy the season.

What special things you do when you are decorating?