Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Decorations

Here are some photos of our Christmas decorations. I had hoped to post them sooner but the past couple weeks have been busy with finishing up sewing orders, handmade gifts and baking cookies. : )

                                                                                The lovely delft nativity my sister Rachel gave me.
                                                     Winston stealing bows off the packages under the tree!

The Christmas village from my childhood. I would always love to watch mom set the village on the shelf of the hutch.

                                                                                                                   Candle on the kitchen table.
                                                                                Our kitchen with lights and a vintage tablecloth.
Adam's 1940's record player. He completely rebuilt this player, and it is so much fun to listen to the old Christmas records.

    Two years ago today Adam asked me to marry him. : ) Rachel gave me this lovely ornament to celebrate our first Christmas as husband and wife.

I found this beautiful ornament at the Salvation Army the day we bought our tree. The date on the ornament is 1985: the year Adam and I were born.

Now off to drink a cranberry juice and ginger ale mix. I found this delightful set of Christmas glasses at a barn sale, brand new in the original box.

I hope you all will have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Frosted Butter Cookies

We have been baking these delicately delicious cut-out cookies since we discovered the recipe in a Christmas cookbook a little over 10 years ago. They are always a favorite each Christmas with family and friends. I made a batch earlier this week and plan to bake more over the weekend.

 Frosted Butter Cookies:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks; beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, orange juice and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Cover refrigerate 2-3 hours or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough, half at a time, to 1/4 inch thickness on well floured surface. Cut out with cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. After cookies are cooled frost.

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-4 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Silent Night"

It was Christmas Eve in the Austrian Alps. At the newly constructed Church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, a Tyrol village near Salzburg, Father Joseph Mohr prepared for the midnight service. He was distraught because the church organ was broken, ruining prospects for that evening’s carefully planned music. But Father Joseph was about to learn that our problems are God’s opportunities, that the LORD causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. It came into Father Joseph’s mind to write a new song, one that could be sung without the organ. Hastily, he wrote the words, “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright…” Taking the text to his organist Franz Gruber, he explained the situation and asked Franz to compose a simple tune.

That night, December 24, 1818, “Silent Night” was sung for the first time as a duet accompanied by a guitar at the aptly named Church of St. Nicholas in Oberdorf.
Shortly afterward, as Karl Mauracher came to repair the organ, he heard about the near-disaster on Christmas Eve. Acquiring a copy of the text and tune, he spread the hymn throughout the Alpine region of Austria, referring to it as “Trioler Volkslied.”

The song came to the attention of the Strasser family, makers of chamois-skin gloves. To drum up business at various fairs and festivals, the four Strasser children would sing in front of their parents’ booth. Like the Von Trapp children a century later, they became popular folk singers throughout the Alps.

When the children- Caroline, Joseph, Andreas, and Amalie- began singing “Trioler Volkslied” at their performances, audiences were charmed. It seemed perfect for the snow-clad region and perfect for the Christian heart. “Silent Night” even came to the attention of the king and queen, and the Strasser children were asked to give a royal performance, assuring the carol’s fame.

“Silent Night” was first published for the congregational singing in 1838 in the German hymnbook Katholisches Gesang- und Gebetbuch fur den offentlichen and hauslichen Gottesdienst zunachst zum Gebrauche der katholischen Gereinden im Konigreiche Sachsen. It was used in America by German-speaking congregations, then appeared in its current English form in a book of Sunday school songs in 1863.

Were in not for a broken organ, there never would have been a “Silent Night.”

From “Come Let Us Adore Him” by Robert J. Morgan

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Mint

This afternoon I baked a batch of Andes mint chip cookies. I have been in the mood to bake some traditional Christmas cookies, but plan to wait until closer to Christmas.  This recipe seemed a good start towards our annual Christmas baking.
Here is the recipe:

Andes Crème de Menthe Cookies

1/2 cup salted butter - softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package (10 oz.) Andes® Crème de Menthe Baking Chips or 2 packages 4.67 oz Andes Crème de Menthe or Toffee Crunch Thins, chopped.
2-2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Blend butter, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and eggs until mixed.
Stir in Andes Baking Chips and then flour. Chill approximately one hour in the refrigerator.
Measure out approximately 1 oz. of dough. Form a ball and slightly flatten.
Raise oven rack one level above the middle and bake on non-stick baking pans.
Bake at 350° F for approximately 8 - 10 minutes.
Cool on pans for two minutes before removing.

Last weekend I found a delicious powdered mix for chocolate mint cappuccino. Adam and I have enjoyed drinking a mug of this seasonal delight in the evenings as we sit by the Christmas tree.

Today Adam repaired our record player. I have enjoyed listening to some old favorites, as well as some Christmas records from Adams collection I had never heard before. Two of the records I especially liked were Vic Damone's Christmas album and a record of music box Christmas music. Have you begun listening to Christmas music? If yes, what are some of your favorites?

May you all have a blessed weekend!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why The Incarnation

This morning I read this devotional during my quiet time, and thought it was too beautiful not to share.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:14

Our heavenly Father yearned through the centuries and the rise and fall of civilizations to redeem His needy people. He never ceased to reach out to His prodigal family. He did this in every possible way: through the glories of His creation, through the immeasurable gifts He gave them: through the words of the prophets and teachers. He dispatched His servants with countless messages that said the same thing in ten thousand ways: "Come home, come home! You are loved now and forever."

In the end and at long last, in the fulness of time, God himself made the journey. He poured His Godhead into flesh and blood and visited the earth as a man. He walked among us- a King in disguise, the Creator among His creatures. He entered our world through a doorway called Bethlehem and the world was changed forever.

That's something to celebrate! That's the reason it's a merry Christmas. The Word became flesh and dwelled among us. He is your Emmanuel today- God with us... God with you.

From "Discovery" by David Jeremiah.

He is God incarnate: not man becoming God, but God coming into human flesh, coming into it from the outside. His Life is the Highest and the Holiest entering in at the lowliest door

-Oswald Chambers 

Monday, December 2, 2013


I hope you all enjoyed a very blessed Thanksgiving and beginning of December!

This week I am offering a special sale of 15% off everything in my Etsy shop. Please be sure to stop by and check out the new books I have been listing. To take advantage of the special offer use coupon code LILAC15 when checking out.