Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas around the world!

I joined a "blog hop" at Baptist Missionary Women.
Missionary ladies from around the world have put a link to their blog. 
Follow the link to read about their special Christmas traditions and celebrations.


Sweet Treats!

  Although I had planned to organize another activity for our ladies during the Christmas season, I didn't even have time to suggest it before they approached me the last Sunday of November.  Due to the hecticness later on in December, it became clear that we needed to fit our ladies night in right away.  Right away meant exactly that...RIGHT AWAY!  I ended up with just a few days to plan and prepare.  I decided to keep it very simple and just use this time to build friendships with the ladies that could come. 
(We had at least three more ladies that really wanted to come, but their work schedule hindered them.)  

As I rolled, cut, and baked....rolled, cut, and baked....rolled, cut, and baked...gingerbread houses, it became clear to me why the kits can be costly in the store.  It is time consuming to prepare so many individual ones. 

Building and decorating gingerbread house was a big hit!

Everyone received a tray and gingerbread pieces.  I prepared a couple batches of Royal Icing.  Most of it was left white, but I did add a little red and green color to some of it.  I also set out some candy and lots of sprinkles.  Then the fun began!

Lena and her daughter - first time guests (Lena attends Ron's English class)

This was the very first time for all of these ladies to build and decorate a gingerbread house.

(left - Tonya, faithfully attends our services     right - Sylvia, came to our  first ladies' tea and attends Ron's English class)

Irena, attends our Sunday Services, attends Ron's English class
We enjoyed homemade pizza pockets, goodies, tea, and coffey as we decorated the gingerbread houses.  Toward the end of the evening, I taught them "Silent Night" in English.  They were each given a nice card with the Christmas story from Luke 2 to take home with them.

I'm looking forward to planning another special time with these ladies in the next couple of months.  Sure would love to hear some ideas from you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Do you hear what I hear?

Christmas is just around the corner.
Just in case you enjoy listening to Christmas music as much as I do,
I thought I would share two great links:

#1   KNVBC is a ministry of North Valley Baptist Church (
Right now they are playing a wide variety of Christmas music.
You can enjoy beautiful, festive, fun, and majestic Christmas music 24 hours a day here

#2   Abiding radio plays Sacred, Instrumental, CHRISTMAS, and kids music.
This station has a great selection
including many songs from Patch the Pirate and Majesty Music.
Enjoy the sounds of the season here.

Enjoy these choices for lots of great Christmas music......we sure are! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Name them one by one

Novermber was a very special month as we did several extra things that focused on thankfulness.
Our biggest activity was our Thankful Tree which you can read about here.

At the end of the month we took a while during our morning family devotions to read all the things that had written down that we were thankful for.  It sure is fun to count your by one.

Last year I had made up a little song book with Thanksgiving hymns.  We got those out again this year and sang "Count Your Blessings", "We Gather Together", "Great Is Thy Faithfulness", and "Thanks To God".  These songs helped focus our hearts on the many blessings God has given us.

We also read Sarah's New World  as a family. 

Then on the 24th we drove to Latvia for Thanksgiving.  It ended up being a longer trip than we expected, but we finally made it.  There was a group of 20+ Americans that celebrated Thanksgiving together.  Some were in Latvia to finalize an adoption, two families were missionaries in Latvia, another family drove in from Lithuania, and of course our family.  It was a full house.  I sure wish I would have taken some pictures, but I actually wasn't feeling real well on that trip and it just didn't happen. 

It was also a special treat to visit with fellow missionary friends, Adam and Betsie Lewis and their three kids.  They live in Elva, Estonia - about 2 1/2 hours from us.  They invited us to stop by for lunch.  Our family always enjoys our time with their family.  As we were preparing to get back in the car to finish our trip, Sarah was asked to stay with her friend, Jazmynn, while we were in Latvia.  My heart was torn....I wanted her to stay with her friend, but I didn't want to leave her.  Ron and I finally decided that some time with another little girl would be good for her and we let her stay.  We were back to pick her up two days later.  I sure had missed her and was so excited to see her.  When we arrived, both Ron and I were almost knocked down as Sarah ran to us and threw her arms around each of us.  She had sure missed us too....and I'm glad =)

God has blessed me more than I deserve and I want to make sure I am thankful - not just on Thanksgiving Day or just in November, but every day all year long. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surprise party!

November 18th.....


Andrew really likes cowboys, horses, guns, boots, and about everything that has to do with cowboys.
we had a cowboy birthday party.

I made some decorations to match the theme.
We played some games :
*dart gun shoot out
*cowboy pictionary
*guess how many beans in the jar
(among others)
After games, cake and ice cream, and presents
we enjoyed a few episodes of The Lone Ranger.

We had a great time celebrating Andrew's birthday with him.  Part of the fun was keeping all the plans a secret from him.  Of course, he knew something was up - - he just didn't know what.  The other kids enjoyed getting to be in on the secrets.  The funnest part was getting to spoil him on his special day.

Early....very early....on that November morning 11 years ago I was blessed with a wonderful gift to love and treasure.  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Andrew!  I love you!


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