Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Baking Day 2010

The annual cookie project usually involves me baking at any given opportunity from November 1 up until the week of Christmas. I give the cookies to friends, neighbors,and co workers. They have become our way of loving on these folks at the holidays.
I got a little behind in production over the course of November.  I got to thinking it would be fun to get a lot done all in one day. I spoke with the secretary at church about using the kitchen there, reasoning that 3 sinks and 2 ovens would lead to bigger production. So I reserved the church kitchen and invited some friends to join me. Now the difficulty with using the church kitchen is: Is it stocked with bowls, measuring cups, and scrapers, etc.?  Not typically. Having never used this facility before I chose to pack my own tools to cut down one the hunting for tools while trying to get much accomplished.

The girls and I arrived at 9:20 and took about 20 minutes to unpack tools and ingredients. Organizing a bit to simplify the process I sent the girls to wash up and then we began. Love Bug is in charge of Rice Krispie treats and Bright One starts Honey Oat Jumbles. Both recipes are no bakes and I am able to help them both while allowing them a good deal of autonomy. I loved watching them take ownership. Following the Rice Krispie treats, Big Girl began some Oatmeal Scotchies... but soon got distracted. Her sister joined her in running the halls while I cleaned the first round of mixing bowls. 

Not long into this process my wonderful friend,(whom I will refer to as T) arrived with her 5 recipes and I looked at my list of 25 recipes and realized I MAY have bitten off more than I could chew. The children ran the hallways, stopping periodically to "help". T set her stuff up and began her first recipe.  Soon it was 12:30pm and I felt like I had accomplished very little. The Admiral arrived to collect my girls and give them some daddy time. I kept at it and soon W, another terrific friend, showed up with her daughter.  They went to work. We all jammed out to music and baked and baked and baked. Did I mention that we baked? T left around dinner time. W & I kept at it and finally cleaned up and left around 9:45.

The Results? 7 dz Rice Krispie treats (3 flavors), Rum Raisin cookies 6 dz, Mint - Mint Choc cookies 3.5 dz , Oatmeal Raisin 5.5 doz, Honey Oat Jumbles 3 dz, Oatmeal Scotchies 5.5, Caramel- Heath drops 2.5 dz, Caramel Heath w/ Apple bits 3 dz, Carrot - Molasses 3 dz, Entire bag of Pretzel twists covered in chocolate & Entire bag of Pretzel rods, AND Gingerbread dough made.

IT was a hugely productive day. I overdid it. I was worn out completely. But I got tons done!I am so thankful to my friends who are willing to jump into the deep end with me!

The Army of Gingerbread People

Update: Since The 11th of December I have dipped 2 more bags of pretzels, made 2 more batches cheerio crunchies, and baked the gingerbread cookies. 


This day of work was a huge blessing. I got a lot done in a smaller amount of time. I made some fun memories with the girls and my friends. I have lots of goodies to give.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Did you see Me?!?!?

It is always a joy and a privilege to watch your child perform. Hard work and weeks of practice finally paying off. She marches up the aisle with enthusiasm and excitement. Sister confidently takes her place. Little girl smiles tremulously and stretches her neck trying to find us in the huge crowd of parents and grandparents. The annual school advent program for kindergarten, first, & second grade. Everyone worked exceedingly hard. It was a fun presentation!
     We arrived early  and dropped each daughter off in their classrooms. Then we headed to the sanctuary to find seats. Soon the children processed in, our girls smiling as they looked for us.  We strained to see them amid the earnest faces. The evening progressed and Love Bug sang her part beautifully. Then Bright One's group got set up. She delivered her lines with panache, speed, and supreme cuteness! ( yes. I am biased.) The pageant ended. The children returned to the their classrooms. As they recessed out of the church, I waved at Bright One and she waved back. I bursting with pride in both girls and ready for some cookies. It took a few minutes to traverse the crowded hallways.  Love Bug's classroom is at the far end of a long hallway and several folks stopped me to chat on the way back to the cookies. Bright One's teacher caught me. I sent my big girl to go and find her daddy. The teacher tells me that upon returning to the classroom Bright One burst into tears. She insisted that we didn't see her at all during the show because she apparently never saw us. By the time I got to the cookie party little girl was calmed down but very serious as she told me why she was upset. She couldn't find us in the huge crowd and was sure we hadn't seen her. Daddy convinced her that we had indeed witnessed her performance.

Bright One with her BFF after the program
Later, I reflected on the incident. Bright One did an excellent job. She sang her songs with passion and joy. She delivered her lines clearly. Her thoughts? "Did You see me, Mama?!?" " Did you see Me, Daddy?!?" "Are you proud of me?" Then her joy is stolen. "Mama didn't see me. I couldn't find them." Her perception that we couldn't have seen her. Not truth. But perception none the less.  We are like this sweet child.  "Did you see me God? Are you watching? Are you proud of me, Lord?" " Are you there,Jesus?"  Our perception that He doesn't see when we hurt or do well? Yet he does and He cherishes our victories. He feels our hurt. Christ knows what it is to be human.  Our Lord chose to become human and endure all that we do and so much more. I am so thankful for this reminder in the form of my daughter's tear-stained face. A reminder that truth is different than my perception. I can call out to Him for reassurance. I can seek Him in His Word. He wants me to seek Him in the crowd. God wants me to find Him.

Have you sought Him in every circumstance lately? Even when all appears that He is not watching, He promises in His Word to care for us every day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Rain Barrel

So this morning I logged in and looked at my blog. Then I freaked out. I apologize dear friends for almost two weeks of silence. I am not really sure what happened. Time flew past me. I am amazed at how fast the week has gone and all the adventures I haven't shared. God's lessons small and large building up around me. I process and I work. I watch my girls play in the snow.

                              pic from
Christmas is a time of chosen joy and deliberate attention to God's gifts. Taking time to read next to our beautiful tree is a special privilege. Baking to excess and sharing the bounty, a pleasure. Wrapping gifts to create loving surprises. Each activity is a memory drop stored in the vast barrel that collects them like the huge rain barrel that saved rain for watering the garden. I save these little memory drops and store them for those dry days when my inspiration is parched and needs rejuvenated. This time of year is rich with memory drops as we step away from the mundane and into special activities, books, tv shows, ideas. When January comes and we return to the mundane the barrel is precariously full, in danger of flowing over. In that moment I know that I am blessed.

Fill up your rain barrel. Stock up on memories. Be intentional about making memories. Choose not to survive the Holidays - Choose to LIVE them richly. Treasure the gift of God that makes it possible for us to have relationship with him.

So I wasn't ignoring my blog this week - I was out filling my rain barrel.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pizza parts

My family has reached a delightful life stage. My oldest is voraciously reading everything with words on it and finishes her library books the day she brings them home. The five year old is sounding everything out anytime she sees letters. This place is wonderful. Love Bug loves to escape into books. She dives into stories, swimming through them, discovering new places! Bright One is a kindergartner who desires to read like sister. She wants to read it herself. Accomplishing this goal  is coming quickly and she loves sounding out words and then asking what they mean. Watching our daughters develop a love of reading is a joy. This process is also leading to some quite hilarious moments.
Last evening on our way to a family night at the girls school we stopped at a stoplight. Bright One began to sound out the large letters on the billboard out her window.

Bright One "aaa ttt Oooo"
Me - " "au' says  'ahh' "
Bright one " Aaahhh t t t ooooo,  Auto? Mama? is it Auto?"
Me - "yes love it is Auto"
Bright One - " zzzzzzz  aaaa  nnnnn, auto zaan?"
Me - " No there is an e on the end so the O says it's name"
Bright One " OH! yes "zzzOOOnneee, Auto Zone? What is that?"
** Cue Light Change***
Bright One "ppppIZZA!" ( just catching the p in parts as we are pulling away )
Me (answering the earlier question) " They sell parts..."
Bright One - "PIZZA PARTS!"
Me - " Ummm No, Car parts."
Bright One - " Mom it didn't say car parts.'"

So I went on the explain that auto is short for automobile which is car. And that there would be no pizza involved at all. She was very perplexed. Her father and I worked very hard to not bust out in laughter.

What an amazing blessing! The gift of Laughter and Joy in a little one's new found skills.

Count your little gifts today and be aware!