Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter S'Mores

Who doesn't love s'mores?  I recently came across this great idea to make s'mores for our Christmas cookie platters.  I love them for two reasons: they're easy to make and they are so cute!

Here's what you need:
graham crackers
mini marshmallows
chocolate (for melting)

Break each graham crackers into four pieces.  Place 1/2 of your pieces on a cookie sheet lined with foil.  The other 1/2 of the crackers will be used later.  Place three mini marshmallows on each piece.  You can add mini chocolate chips if you'd like, but we didn't.  Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  While they are baking, melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir it up to get the chunks out.  If needed, microwave for another 30 seconds, but be careful not to burn the chocolate.  As soon as the crackers are done, top each cracker with another cracker that was set aside earlier.  Dip each s'more into the melted chocolate and top with sprinkles.  We placed ours on plastic plates, but you can also put them on parchment paper.  As you finish a plate, put it in the freezer for 5 minutes so everything will set quicker.  Voila!  Winter s'mores!

Friday, December 14, 2012

This Christmas

Our family has loved this song from the first time we heard it, but we never imagined how personal it would become.  This Christmas will be our first with our son.  I remember a particular day last year, the Sunday before Christmas, when we were shopping with our girls.  They kept picking items they wanted to get for their new brother.  My husband and I would remind them that we didn't yet know when we would be going to Taiwan to get Alex, so we wanted to hold off on buying anything.   The very next day we got the email telling us we could come and get him!  It was a frantic mess around our house over the next week, wrapping gifts, packing, getting the final documents together, and preparing our home for a new family member.   We had two Christmas celebrations, one on Christmas Day with our girls and another in January when we brought Alex home.  It was a joyous occassion, but not a real Christmas.

This Christmas will be different for our little boy.  Last week, Alex was able to help decorate the tree and our house.  He is enjoying to choose gifts for his sisters.  He is looking forward to our traditional family celebration with church on Christmas Eve, stockings, pajamas, games and a big family meal. Most importantly, he knows the love of Jesus and the real meaning behind Christmas.

This Christmas is also different for my husband, our girls and me.  We didn't stop at enjoying a song.  When God put a little boy in our path and left a door standing wide open, we walked through in obedience.  Something that seemed impossible has become a reality for our family, simply because we said yes.  Often our family want to do something and we're told no, because the kids are too young or the timing isn't right or a multitude of other reasons.  Often the no comes from within our family because we are scared or lack the energy or another multitude of reasons.  Occassionally, we take a small step, like saying yes, and God rocks our world with the giant leap he can make out of our small step.  Through this experience, we witnessed a body of believers pull together in a way many people don't get close enough to see.  These people are willing to go to amazing lengths to build families and we felt that first hand.  God showed Himself in a big way to our family and our faith exploded because of the evidence of His love and faithfulness. 

This Christmas can also be different for your family.  With over a week until Christmas, there is time to purchase a gift for a needy child, adopt a local family, serve dinner at a shelter, send Christmas cards and share a little bit of love.  God will multiply your gift, so do not be afraid that it isn't enough.  Share your joy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christ-Centered Christmas Book Review

While we love the music, gifts, and decorations, my husband and I have always felt that it is most important to keep our family focused on Christ throughout the Christmas season.  Some years have been easier than others, but we have definitely been more successful this year with help from the eBook Christ-Centered Christmas by Hal and Melanie Young. 
Full of recipes, carols, stories and activities, this book has given us more ideas than we could possibly incorporate into our celebrations this year.  It has been the jumping off point for several conversations in our family this week and I'm sure this will continue to be true as our kids grow.  I expect that we will return to this resource year after year for great ideas.  Who can go wrong with a book that includes a shopping list for your Christmas baking?
If I had to choose one thing I really love about the Youngs' latest release, it would be the style in which it is written.  I feel as if I'm sitting down with an old friend, talking about how we celebrate the season.  As she sips her tea, she tells me all about her family traditions and activities.  Hmmm, I think it's time to brew some tea for myself before I get back to reading.  I would recommend that you get your own copy and join the conversation soon while this 80-page eBook is still available to download for only $6, 60% off the regular price of $15.
** I received a complimentary copy of Christ-Centered Christmas in exchange for my honest opinions.