Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 24th (Christmas Eve!!)

It’s Christmas Eve!!

And it’s snowing again, which is always lovely. As of last Wednesday evening, I just knew we would have a white Christmas, but I still am such a little kid about it. Anyway.

Yesterday afternoon Nate and I went to my grandma’s house for food, fun, and presents! We had an excellent time. I am proud to say that my family enjoyed my toffee and fudge…to the point that I came home with almost none of either one! That’s okay, though. I can always make more, but this way I’m not as tempted by it, haha. And of course, we took cheese with us, too. That’s always the request. Still no cheese curds, but one of these days we’ll remember them!

Gift opening was great fun. We gave my parents and siblings a set of the Extended Editions of The Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray, which I let my youngest sister open; I seriously thought she was going to cry when she opened it! (I own the DVDs and took those with me when I moved out, so…yeah…I had to do the same with the Harry Potter DVDs last Christmas!) Mom and Dad also received a book of our wedding photos, which everyone thought was really nice. The other family gift was a book called Broken, by Lutheran pastor Rev. Jonathan Fisk. Both my sisters received face washing sets of all-natural ingredients. My brother received a Green Bay Packers wall clock.

Nate and I received a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which we loved. He got two shirts from my parents, and I got a shirt from them, a Lewis Carroll and anย Alice teacup from my one sister and a teapot pincushion from my brother. My youngest sister didn’t have her gift for me yet! I know I’m forgetting a few of the gifts already…but I’m still sleepy and I need to go finish my shopping for Nate’s family! Oh dear. Good thing Target is open. Nate said I should grab myself a peppermint mocha from Starbucks and enjoy shopping. He’s so sweet. I need to get a few more things for him, as well. Last night he opened one gift from me, The Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Yes, we’re old souls and fans of British humour. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So.

I wish the house were cleaner and that Nate actually had the day off work, but you know what? He’ll be able to attend church with me this evening, and that’s the important thing. And we had almost the whole day yesterday.

No matter where you are, who you are spending your time with, and what your circumstances in life, I genuinely hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas and that you never forget the Reason for the season: Jesus Christ, Who came down from heaven to become like us so that He could take our sins upon Himself and wash us clean before His Father in heaven.

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Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 23rd (Sunday Serenade)

This post is technically for yesterday, but since I was out of the house all day visiting family, I didn’t have my computer, plus didn’t want to be rude and anti-social. I don’t see my parents and siblings much so I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, Sunday Serenade. Well, today is the last Sunday of Advent. In church we sang a few Advent hymns during Holy Communion, and the other hymns were Christmas carols. The church looked so beautiful, all decked out for Christmas. It’s been decorated since the beginning of December, but being this close to Christmas Eve, my eyes see things through rose-colored glasses, if you will. Though I always try to see the beauty in the world, there are times when it is just that much more apparent.

Today’s music that I will share with you is not just one song — it’s an entire radio station. An internet radio station, to be exact. One that at this moment is playing sacred Christmas carols nonstop. Lutheran Public Radio is a wonderful station to have on any time of the year, but right now more folks may be willing to listen to it, it being Christmas and all.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 22nd (Oh, Fudge!)

It has arrived. Christmas weekend. Many of you will perhaps be celebrating with your families today and tomorrow, saving Christmas Eve and Day for your smaller celebrations at home. That’s what we are doing this year. Nothing today, but tomorrow we will be visiting my grandma’s house. I still have a few gifts to get before then…eek! Good thing the driveway is finally plowed. Also, it is barely 10 degrees outside. Brrr.

Anyway, it’s Christmas weekend. You’re hoping to be off to Auntie Bertha’s house in a few hours, but you don’t have a dish to pass or anything to share. Cookies usually take too long, but you really don’t want to go back to the store. Well, how about fudge? With just a few ingredients that you probably have in your pantry from other baking endeavours, you can make some of the creamiest chocolate fudge ever. And did I mention it takes less than an hour? And doesn’t have that nasty marshmallow creme???

Quick & Easy Fudge

4 cups confectioners’ sugar (also known as powdered sugar)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Grease a 9-inch pan or line with foil or wax paper. In a microwave safe bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Pour milk over mixture and place butter in bowl. Do not mix. Microwave until butter is melted, approximately 2 minutes. (NOTE: this took longer in my microwave, but I think that’s because it is only 700 watts.) Stir in vanilla and stir vigorously until smooth. Pour into prepared dish. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes before cutting into 1-inch squares.

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Ta-da! You have fudge. And nobody at Auntie Bertha’s has to know you made it in the microwave and freezer! Unless, of course, some favorite cousins simply must have the recipe. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have some fudge…

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 21st (Happy Solstice!)

I’m fairly certain that we got more snow here yesterday than we got all last winter. It snowed for a little more than 24 hours and the total snowfall seems to be about 15-16 inches. Not very far south of us, there wasn’t nearly as much. Though it was nasty out, I feel blessed to have gotten so much, since you all know by this point that I love snow.

So, we have come to the shortest day and the longest night of the year. From here on out, the days get longer! And of course (as I knew) the Mayans were wrong. Come on, people. I wasn’t even going to say anything about it since it was so obvious that nothing was going to happen. But yeah.

And now the true rush begins. Christmas Eve being on a Monday can really throw things off, because the weekend has just finished. Just don’t forget the real Reason for the season in the midst of your last minute shopping, baking, and cleaning!

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 20th

It’s been snowing since a little after 10:00 last night. We have close to ten inches (by my estimate, anyway) and there’s no sign of it stopping. I’m so happy!!! I am, though, praying hard for my dear husband, his dad, his uncle, and the other milk truck drivers on the road. Nate claims he likes driving in snow, which I believe, and he’s good at it, but at the same time, anything can happen.

Also, it’s my sister’s 22nd birthday today, and since I know she reads this…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HEIDI!! ๐Ÿ™‚

So.

Since shoveling the driveway at this point is a terrible idea — I’d get nowhere — I think it’s time to throw the rest of my apron together and get that Christmas baking done! And, you know, go enjoy the snow at some point. Get all bundled up and run around in it like the five-year-child that I am at heart.

White Christmas “Snow” Song

(Note: I don’t honestly know why I was able to embed a video once and now I can’t. Any suggestions?)

P.S. I really wish I had a camera because my posts would be so much more interesting. I even know exactly what camera I want, but it’s not cheap. Ah well. Soon.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 19th (The One About Snow)

There are many reasons I love living in Wisconsin. One of them is that we get blizzards. I know, that sounds really weird. But I’m one of those rare people that would rather be enjoying snow than sitting on a beach. I hate sand. And the sun is never good to me. And beaches are so rarely quiet. The silence of a snow-covered forest gets me every time. Snow makes everything beautiful. Yes, it’s hard to drive in. sometimes impossible, and with the blizzard moving into the area tonight and tomorrow, I will be praying hard for anyone on the road, especially my husband, his dad, and the other milk truck drivers who have to pick up that milk no matter what.

But we still love snow here in Wisconsin. Most of us do, anyway. Because now it is certain that we will have a white Christmas, and we can always hope that the snow that blows in tomorrow will stay all winter long. (And that we get more!) Last year we missed out on the winter recreation. There wasn’t enough snow at any one time to do anything. Our snowmobiles sat in the garage, and the ski hill (which we’ve never used, but still) had to make snow in order to operate. I wanted to cross-country ski, but not even that could happen last winter!

So, with the blizzard on the way, with the possibility of nearly TWO FEET of snow, I’m doing some Christmas shopping today and hopefully going to be baking tomorrow. Though that may have to wait…if it’s as windy as they say it’s going to be, we may lose electricity. Good thing I have a huge supply of candles. Maybe I’ll make tomorrow into a Little House on the Prairie kind of Christmas. For that, I have the perfect recipe. (These are amazing, by the way. And because there’s no egg, you can eat the dough!)

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Heart-Shaped Christmas Cakes

“Mary and Laura pulled out two small packages. They unwrapped them, and each found a little heart-shaped cake. Over their delicate brown tops was sprinkled white sugar.”
Little House on the Prairie

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You will need:
ยฝ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
ยผ teaspoon vanilla
1 ยผ cups all-purpose flour
Flour for sprinkling
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Measuring cup and spoons
Large mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Floured board
Heart-shaped cookie cutter, about 2 or 3″ across
Cookie sheet
Pot holder
Wide spatula
Wire rack

Heat the oven to 325%.

Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until they are light and fluffy. Stir in the flour.

On a floured board, pat the dough out in a circle about 1/3″ thick. Cut out shapes with the cookie cutter. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar. Put the heart shapes on the cookie sheet and bake them for about 15-20 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle more granulated sugar on the tops. Carefully remove the cakes from the cookie sheet with the spatula and put them on the wire rack to cool.

Makes about 12 cakes.

Recipe taken from The Little House Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Erikson.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 18th (Gifting Craziness!!!)

Who is finished with their Christmas shopping? Not this girl. I mean, I ordered a few gifts from Amazon for my family (Amazon Prime is the best ever, by the way.), but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. My friends and I haven’t really given each other gifts in recent years, so maybe I’m off the hook there, at least for those I haven’t talked to as much this year. And the rest of my family…well, that’ll get done. I’ve always been a last minute shopper. I spend so much time in the first weeks of December thinking about what I want to give to people that suddenly it’s a week until Christmas and I don’t have any gifts!

Originally, I had been hoping to make most of my gifts, using Pinterest. But time got away from me. I have a feeling that’s partly because of the above reason and partly because I was trying to do too many things at once. (This is going to be way worse when hubby and I have kids…I can just see it now…oh the horror…lol.) Note to self: Don’t try to do everything at once because then you end up staring at the computer screen (or a book) and doing nothing productive. Which happens less than it used to. I do have my own house now.

So…I guess I’d better go Christmas shopping in the next two days. And grocery shopping. And I say two days because there’s apparently a snowstorm going to hit us on Thursday. Which I am greatly excited about, but it would be a good idea to get all the shopping out of the way. Then I can spend all day Thursday wrapping presents and getting the house tidy even though I don’t think anyone is coming here. Thank goodness.