Friday, December 4, 2009

Advent....wassat?


Growing up, neither our church (Assembly of God) nor our family celebrated, nor even mentioned Advent. At least not that I remember. As I grew older and heard of other types of churches celebrating it, I just thought it was another one of those 'liturgical things' that had nothing to do with me.


Just this year I've learned that the Advent-part of our Christmas celebrations can be a very meaningful part of our preparation and celebration of Jesus' birth. For years Dave and I have had a desire for our family to be less 'sucked in' to the growing meaninglessness of the holidays. I have studied Advent for the past weeks with some of my friends and have learned a TON! May I share?


Advent has similar origins as Christmas...started out as a pagan celebration of the sun/light/fire and was tweaked later on (sometime in the sixteenth century) to become what we call Advent now. Here's some more stuff I've learned:


  • The advent wreath is round to symbolize no beginning and no ending of our Great God.

  • The traditional evergreen used in the advent wreath symbolizes the Lord's unchanging love for us. Depending on the evergreens used, there is symbolism behind each type utilized:Laurel - victory over sin and death; Pine, yew - immortality; Cedar - healing and strength; Holly's prickly leaves represent the suffering of Jesus. If you add pinecones, nuts or seedpods to your wreath, they represent resurrection life!!!

  • There are five candles in an advent wreath, showing Jesus as the light of God coming into the world. There are four colored and one white. The four colored candles represent the 4,000 years that passed between Adam and the coming of Jesus. The white one is the Christ candle...white for His purity and holiness. This white candle is a more recent addition to the tradition...the original Advent wreaths only had the four colored candles.

  • Three candles are purple to represent His Royalty. I also read that purple is the color of repentance....but that seems a little random to me...or at least not as well-known as the purple being the 'King's color'. One candle is pink...this is lit on the Sunday closest to Christmas (some light the pink on the third Sunday of advent...I guess it varies!), symbolizing our great joy at the of the closeness of his coming.

  • Advent is celebrated beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The final white candle is lit on Christmas Eve.

  • Some families/churches have the tradition of putting up their Nativity scenes little by little with each Advent Sunday...and they put the Baby Jesus in His manger on Christmas Eve.

  • The lighting of each candle can accompanied by any or all of the following: a short Bible reading, a devotion, a song, a prayer. Many adhere to the tradition of dousing all other lights except for the light from Advent candles during this time of devotion to the Lord. Cool, huh?

  • On each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas one candle is lit....one on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday and so on. As Christmas approaches, the candlelight is brighter as His coming gets closer! Some have the tradition of allowing the oldest child to light the first candle and so on down the line. (Insert fire-safety discussion here...)

All that being said, advent wreaths of today can be of any shape and candles of any colors...check out Google Images of advent wreaths. I saw some non-lightable candles made from toilet paper tubes...I saw wire and burlap. I saw candleholders made from apples and all sorts of other materials. Getting the fam together and thinking about the Lord is a good thing whether that includes candles and wreaths or not.


Our own family advent wreath is still in process...and yes, I am aware that the 4th Sunday before Christmas has come and gone this year. I am hoping we'll enjoy the Truth of this little ceremony in our home irregardless of us lighting the candles at the traditionally correct time! The point is not the dates and the ceremony of it all for me...it's more the preparing of our hearts for the real Reason for Christmas.


My apologies for any misinformation above...I've learned this from studying articles on the 'net and from some books and I did not verify the sources...Please feel free to correct me. And also feel free to share your own Advent or Nativity thoughts/traditions. Such RICH truth!

Monday, November 30, 2009


It's 4:13 am. I woke up at 2:50 and laid there for about 45 minutes...then I gave up trying to sleep and here I am. I used to HATE these sleepless nights. Tonight it's like an oasis. It's dark and quiet and the candles in the family room are flickering. Uninterrupted time to think, to ask God stuff, to get the tangles out of my head.


It has been a bumpy ride this year. Dave's been jobless for ten months now, except for a short stint at a job that did not work out. We have been up and down. We have been more than well-provided-for financially (frequently miraculously!) and never even come close to having to do without the necessities. But emotionally and mentally...oi. Tough times.


I think we've both come to the conclusion that this whole season isn't really about joblessness at all...that it's about being cared for in a different way. It's about our Father being kind enough to take us through the dryest of times to show us our hearts and some decisions that we've made about Him in the past that are not about Truth.


I mean, who sets out in their life to knowingly believe stuff that's really a bunch of hooey? But as I've gone through this year I've seen that there's quite a bit of renewing that needs to happen in me (duh.) For many reasons, I have embraced that which is not the Whole Truth and I have not 'til now seen it clearly. As my dear friend Dawn says, if a person knew they were being deceived it wouldn't be called deception, right?


For about a decade now, my frequent request has been for the Lord to show me my pride, to draw me closer to Himself...and through these past months, He seems to be taking me up on that in an accelerated course of learning. I wasn't prepared for how painful it is to see the partial truths (okay, LIES!) I've believed, to see that I've chosen to play the blame-game instead of resting and trusting. Through these revelations of my shortcomings and the lies I've held close, I've been astounded by the tender, attentive care given to me by the Lord. He's not ticked and wanting to ostracize me like I've thought. I have tasted a new freedom and I sure would like more of it.


I confess that I have been in a very dangerous boat: the U.S.S. Presumption. I see that 47 years of life on this earth does not even SCRATCH THE SURFACE of all there is to know about ANYTHING. And I am most thankful this season to see that I am being RESCUED by the One Who is the Way out, He Who is the Truth that cannot be Refuted, the One Who is the Life I've always longed for.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pete Thinks Bree Might Need a Rescue...

The temperature of the pool water....

And the crazy girl who jumped in it. Petey is very concerned, can you tell?

video

Ode to Petey Sweetie


Today our family is losing a wonderful friend. Petey has lived with my sister, Marcia, and her family for some years now. He got sick with bone cancer and it has quickly spread through his system. Today will be his last day on earth and our hearts are aching.
The first time I was around Petey, I was visiting California for Josh's graduation. Petey was soooo gentle with our youngest little girl, Kristin, who was about 2 yrs. old. But holy cow....was he a roughneck with the grown ups who wanted to play crazy. He and my brother, Lee got in a wrestling match and Petey gave Lee an ear piercing!!! It bled and bled...Lee never held it against Pete - quite the contrary...I believe it was a bonding experience!
Pete came with his fam on a road trip to visit us a few years ago. He was a great houseguest. He was a very good 'carpet-snack-vacumn' and got along great with our dog, Bella. When it was time for the Baileys to return home and we were all outside saying our long farewells, he also vacumned up something gross that I won't mention here, but has been the source of a funny story and a lot of gagging from Marcia and me.... (ask me later).

When Bree and I visited So. Cal. for our "sunshine fix" last February during possibly the coldest and rainiest and un-sunniest part of the winter there, WE FROZE. But Petey and his best friend, Molly were always there to snuggle up with. They are great heaters. A few times when we were in CA, we ran around the pool in the Bailey's backyard, playing keep-away from Petey. It was fun and a little scary. I was always a little afraid that if he'd catch me, he'd take a friendly nip out of my posterior. One crazy day, Bree wanted some excitement in her life and decided to jump, fully clothed, into the 56 degree water of the pool. Petey was very concerned. I thought he'd jump in after her...

Pete is the reason we have Easton, our three-year-old boxer. When Petey came here, we fell in love with his temperment and his expressive eyes, his wrinkled forehead, the quizzical look that he gave with his head cocked to one side...we loved his lap-dog-attitude in his VERY big dog body. Boxers just pretty much rock.

Just a few years ago, I would NEVER have believed that I could be sooooo torn up about losing a dog. Especially one that is not even my own. But Pete was a pup that was willing to be loved by whomever...it felt like he was ours too.

Petey has been a gift to all of us, but especially to my sister, Marcia. He has been a comfort and a joy in some very tough times for the whole Bailey family. I just can't stand it that they are hurting so badly. It is hard to be so far away from them.
You just never think stuff like this is going to happen and I cannot help but wonder why it is happening. We were all hoping for a miracle. What I am sure of is that Pete was a godsend...Thank You, Lord, for Petey Sweetie Punkin Head. And I am trusting that the same God who sent such an amazing doggy our way will give comfort like only He can and that He'll get us through this time.





Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jesus, You have Carried Me

I can remember my Grandma Bilt (Mom's mom, Mary Vanderbilt who has gone to be with Jesus) often exclaiming, 'Mercy!'....I find myself exclaiming this myself more and more often these days. Sometimes it just seems like there is hardship all around: people getting sick with terrible diseases, families in trouble, people passing away, friends in financially dire straits, scary things happening in government...need I say more?
During these crazy times, it seems things get distilled down to their most basic... during the 'easy' times, I feel like I have some semblance of control over my life, that things are on the right track. I see now that this 'control' is only an illusion!! And during those good times, I'm sorry to say that I do not interact with Jesus as much. Often (sadly) He gets relegated to a spoke in the wheel of my life. When things are hard, I see the Truth that the only stability I have is the Lord; that to live life as I am purposed to live, He must be the center of the wheel. During the simpler times, I forget how much I need to rely on Him (hello, TOTALLY!!) ...and now, during this rougher patch, I'm seeing in a new way that I HAVE TO HAVE HIM...
I'm remembering the hymn we sang at our church when I was little: "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey".
As we drove home from visiting w/friends and family today, this song came on and I was nearly undone. It's a song that has made me cry and yet comforted me many times, reminding me that I am not alone. Hope you like it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKUV5rYFfk0
And I say, 'Thank You, God, for these difficult days that show me Your Truth, and show me the way out of the death of serving myself.'

Monday, April 20, 2009

Beautimous Brisket


Our late spring favorite: Beef Brisket! I've loved having brisket in bbq restaurants, but not 'till this year have I made an attempt to cook one. I've found them to be VERY easy...they just take time. It's the kind of meat that's best cooked LOW AND SLOW. I've bought the brisket at Sam's and have been very pleased. The smallest one I've found there was 6 lbs...so if you do not have a ravenous horde at your house like I do, you can freeze the leftovers. I went crazy with the foil in the pan so I would not have any difficult clean up. I cook it in a 9x13. If the brisket is very large, I cut it in half and cook it in two 9x13's. Cook the brisket with the fat down on the bottom. When it is done cooking, flip the brisket over and lift or scrape the fat from the meat and discard. Slice against the grain. We bought whole wheat rolls to serve the brisket on this past weekend. Deee-licious! Also quite yummy on the sandwich: cheese and jalapenos and additional bbq sauce. The following are a couple of recipes we've tried and liked a lot.


Also, oh, happy day, here is a link to a study that points to the possibility that the fat in beef brisket is GOOD FOR YOU!! http://www.cantstopthebleeding.com/?p=13355 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BBQ Beef Brisket

5-6 lb. brisket

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

1-2 t. pepper (I used the 2 t.)

1 t. garlic salt
BBQ sauce:

1c. ketchup

1/3 c. Worcestershire

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 t. lemon juice

(I did not make this sauce....I used Cookies BBQ Sauce from the store.)


Sprinkle brisket w/garlic salt, worcestershire, and pepper. Bake uncovered 30 minutes at 450 degrees in shallow pan. Remove from oven, cover w/foil, bake 7-8 hours at 225 degrees.


For BBQ SAUCE, remove 2 c. of meat juice from fiinshed brisket. combine with BBQ Sauce ingredients.


Chill brisket. Slice thin against the grain. Pour sauce over it. Cover and return to 300 degree oven until hot. (an hour, maybe? the recipe does not specify...)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brisket Marinade

1/2 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. canola oil

1 1/2 c. beer (12 oz.)

2 T. liquid smoke

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 T. salt (this is not a typo...it's really one tablespoon!)

1 T. brown sugar

1 t. cayenne pepper

1 t. black pepper
Combine in a shallow dish or ziploc bag. Add meat and marinate for a few hours to a couple of days.I was expecting this one to be really hot & spicy. I marinated it for a day and a half. It was NOT spicy...but it had great flavor. Cook it as above in a 450 oven for 30 minutes uncovered. Then cover w/foil and bake for 7-8 hours more @ 250 degrees. Can't wait to have it again tonight for dinner!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

For, lo, the winter is past...




Winter lays bare a lot that is normally hidden. And it's been a cold, dark, long, windy winter. Now that spring approaches, it seems the right time to do some maintenance, clearing the dead sticks that have dropped to the ground...and dealing with some branches that have broken from the trees, but have not yet fallen. This is true with the outdoors and seems to be true in my heart.
This winter season has exposed to me that much of what I do is out of fear - and not the good kind of 'don't touch the stove' or 'don't walk in front of a moving vehicle' type-fear. I've been fearful of walking away or 'growing away' from Jesus. I'm afraid of not being a good wife. I'm fearful that I'm not mothering our children well (that's fear supplemented by a generous dose of [false] guilt...) General anxiety about 'getting it right' accompanies me.
I've been reading Jan Karon's Mitford Series (AGAIN.) And the main character is dealing w/a paralyzing fear. As he admits his fear, his cousin's wife says, "Fear is not from God..." Obviously, I've read this before, but this time as I read, it was an arrow straight to my heart.
Newsflash to me: getting it right is not my job! It is God's job.
I've mentioned this before, because it means so much to me...now I'm reminding myself yet again: the Christian life was lived successfully once, by our Lord Jesus. I'm not expected to live that life again....I'm expected to plug into the 2:20 (Galatians) and take up my cross and die daily and give myself fully to Him. FULLY. My thoughts. My words. My actions. My desires. MY FEARS.
And why should I fear anyway? Don't I know that the Maker of the Universe cares deeply and attentively for me? Don't I know that He supplies all of my needs? Haven't I realized after knowing Him since 2nd grade (that's forty years this year, folks...) that what He allows, He allows for my good? Hasn't it sunk in yet that He has great plans for me?
I'm convinced that fear = lack of trust. And lack of trust can be from a lack of knowing someone's character. And it's not like I've never studied the Character of God. But what have I studied lately? The wandering Children of Israel gathered manna daily (Exodus 16)...any that they saved got wormy and nasty. I'm thinking that's part of my issue. I need to be knowing Him more, not resting on what I've learned in the past.The manna that I'm thinking is feeding me stinks and may have maggots...
My fearfulness is also the result of my 'needing' to be responsible for so many things that are not really my responsibility. (for example: keeping my family "happy", the sins of past generations of my family, how others perceive me, and etc.) The Lord knows that this is not my conscious intention, but I often find it 'sneaking in'...it is a tendancy of mine. Some would call it 'control'.
I've been trapped by "What would Jesus do"....I am caught up in DOING. (human doing or human being...?) I've been caught up in the unbiblical "You are the only Jesus some will ever see..." Alas, I tend toward the typical first-born performance orientation. Ew. I hate that.
So as spring 'springs' in our region, and hopefully inside of me, I pray,
'Lord, allow me to let go of all that holds be back from knowing You more, of trusting you fully. I open my hands and give You the things I see, like the busyness of life and my habit of being 'responsible' in a wrong way (control). And please show me what I'm not seeing that holds me back, so that I can repent and ask for Your help! Thank You that You are not silent. Thank You that my struggle is part of the process You have ordained. Thank You that there is no condemnation for this struggle because I am in Jesus. Thank You for this changing season. Thank You for the death of winter and the new life of spring. Thank You for Easter and new life in You.
Is being born-again AGAIN (afresh, over again) Biblical? I'm not sure if there is a chapter and verse to support that concept. I need an overhaul. I could use a new start...


Friday, March 13, 2009

New Favorite: Molten Chocolate Cakes


We had this rich, dark dessert tonight...I love that it makes one small cake for each family member. No chance of overindulging with a second (or third) helping! We were wishing for some vanilla ice cream and/or some whipped cream and/or some kind of berries to top the cakes. But they were plenty good on their own. Mmmmmmmm.


Molten Chocolate Cakes

1 c. plus 2 T. cocoa powder

1 c. plus 1 T. butter

1 1/2 powdered sugar

1/2 c. flour

3 whole eggs

3 egg yolks

Grease 6 custard cups or soufle dishes. Place on baking sheet. [Deb's note: I used small coffee mugs.]
Melt cocoa and butter in double boiler or microwave. Stir until completely combined. Add powdered sugar and flour; mix well. Add whole eggs and egg yolks. Whisk or mix w/electric mixer until well blended. Divide batter evenly among custard cups.
Bake @ 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cakes are firm around edges and soft in the middle. Let stand one minute. Run a knife around cakes to loosen [I did not need to do this...] Carefully invert onto dessert plates. Garnish as desired. [We dusted w/powdered sugar...]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Twenty-five Random Facts

A prompt to compose this list has been going around Facebook (apologies to fellow Facebook-ers who've seen most of this previously as '17 random things'). I thought I'd post it here too. I'd love to know twenty-five random things about those of you who are not presently on FB or who haven't posted theirs on FB yet. Send me an email with your twenty-five! Here are mine:
1. I heartily dislike dark cold winters, but love a good snowfall.
2. The person I admire most is my husband, David. He pretty much rocks.
3. I really like my butter bell. http://butterbell.com/
4. I'm HORRIBLE at most math. Except I'm good at figuring out the tip...no calculator needed.
5. Caramel has replaced chocolate in my favorites repertoire.
6. I love being near the ocean...(why am I landlocked?...oh, yeah, to be near my most amazing hubby...)
7. My home is full of deep colors - no neutrals here.
8. I paint almost all my ceilings the same color as the walls.
9. I have walked in two 'Race for the Cure's, done the running part in a team-mini-triathlon, and walked a half-marathon, and hope to do more races this year...not to win, but just to have fitness motivation.
10. I really like Listerine.
11. I stink at drawing, keeping up with housework & staying calm when our kids are hurt.
12. I really like our new French Press for coffee.
13. I play about 9 chords on the guitar and wish I owned one.
14. Stealing a line from Chariots of Fire: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me a singer. And when I sing I feel His pleasure.
15. I gave my life to Jesus at a Bible club held at Dossin Elementary School (public), Detroit, MI, in 1969. (2nd grade)
16. Even though I've known Him for forty years now, (forty! shoo-wee!) I'm still amazed that the Lord loves me and has forgiven me.
17. I've lived in Virginia, New York, Michigan, California, Colorado & Nebraska.
18. Walnuts are part of my daily life...they are the protein in my morning oatmeal and if I have a bowl of ice cream, I love a small handful sprinkled over the top. Oh, yeah.
19. I'm thrilled and scared to death to be singing with the Omaha Symphony one night this coming summer.
20. I love art of all kinds and love to create (just don't ask me to sketch anything...see #11).
21. I hope to make a quilt someday. I've made rag quilts, but not yet a 'real' quilt.
22. That our two oldest girls are the closest of friends is one of the biggest blessings of my life.
23. Since I was little, I have been terribly motion-sick. I hate flying, riding in cars, boats, trains and playground swings, but I love rollercoasters. They do not make me sick. Go figure.
24. Not my forte: video games, tent camping, staying organized, sudoku.
25. I'm amazing at Balderdash, Speed Scrabble & Catch Phrase. Fear me.
Thanks for reading my randomness!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Farewell to Bella







We put Bella down on February 27th. We are missing her greetings - after coming in from our downstairs garage, she'd meet you at the top of the steps and wag her hiney and give her doggy smile. We are missing the way she used to sit on our feet when we sat on the couch! We are not missing her trash-picking or undie-eating ways! She was such a neurotic freak, but so much a part of our family for 7 1/2 years. Strange to dislike and love a dog so much. She was really the first dog I ever really learned to love just a few years ago. (see porque dogblog from 4/20/08) I'm glad we have lots of goofy pics of her. She was a sweet girl and it's tough getting used to being without her.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Real Deal

Crazy day, Crazy week, Crazy life...
After 16 years with the same company, my hubby is officially laid off as of tomorrow. Today we cleaned out the company car for one final time. We will be loading up all of his home office supplies, electronics, files, etc. into the car. Tomorrow morning, he meets his bosses (who are driving in from 2 1/2 hours east of here) for breakfast at the Farmhouse (one of our favorite restaurants!). He will hand over the keys and that will be it. So weird. I will pick him up from the restaurant.
Will we laugh or will we cry? Maybe a bit of both. We know we will be taken care of. We know the Lord is taking care of us. This is where the rubber hits the road with our faith. Lord, we believe.....help our unbelief!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Should I Shudder or Shout?




As the Inauguration approaches I am asking myself some questions: Am I cracked? Am I betraying my Republican roots? Am I wrong to be excited that we have elected an African-American to the White House? Am I going against everything I've learned from Rush Limbaugh's E.I.B. Network? Don't get me wrong...I'd much rather it was Clarence Thomas or even Herman Cain getting inaugurated next week. But I think that we have come a long way from our shameful past of slavery, bigotry, & racial repression (Not that we don't have a whole heck of a long way to go: one of our close relatives still uses the 'n' word. I just hate that.) And I wish some of us on the right would acknowledge that.

But the values that President-elect Obama seems to represent are at the very least, troubling to me. I am concerned and tempted to be so worried regarding the path down which he will lead us. I'm finding myself easily consumed with apprehension over the Change he has made his theme. It's not like I don't know there is a GREAT divide between what President Obama has promised to do and what I believe is right for our country...

As I watch the images of our outgoing President Bush, a president I have such great affection for, I'm sad that I feel no such great devotion to our incoming leader.


Not because I feel like it, but because it is right, I am asking God to bless President-elect Obama and his family. I am asking the Lord to be their Protection. I am asking the Lord to give him dreams and visions. I am thankful that the Word of the Lord says that, "The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; He guides it wherever He pleases." (Proverbs 21:1 New Living Translation)

I need to be careful. I do not want to be guilty of disrespecting the office of our President. I don't have to agree with him, but I DO have to "request, pray, intercede and give thanks for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (I Timothy 2:1-4 N.I.V.) I won't love anyone to the Truth by dissing our President.

Jesus is Lord. He is the same yesterday, today, forever. His Love will never change. He deserves our praise and our worship. He has allowed Barack Obama to be elected President of the United States. He can do whatever He pleases, whatever brings about His Kingdom. My heart is trusting in Him.

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His.

He changes times and seasons;
He sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;

He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him." Daniel 2: 20-22 N.I.V.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Candy Cane Disposal




Bree and I are taking down the tree today...I like to leave it up until Christmas vacation is officially over: that's today. I just love having it up. I love awakening in the dark, walking down the hall and switching on the tree's soft light to welcome the morning. I enjoy arising early and getting some tea and having my quiet time with God next to the tree. Some years I've left it up so long that I've been tempted to take down the Christmas decor and put up Valentines on it.
We traditionally put up the (artificial) tree the day after Thanksgiving...it is a big production. Every year lately, I say that I want to get a pre-lit tree...the lights take so long to apply and it is a job I greatly dislike. This year, Bree put about 2/3 of the lights on and I actually enjoyed doing the rest! I like so many lights on the tree, that if we did get a pre-lit tree, I'd most likely add more anyway.
Stringing popcorn is a tradition that I just love...we strung popcorn when I was young: a happy memory! It really doesn't take THAT long to string it and I like having something to do with my hands when we are watching all of those Christmas specials on tv! There is just no garland that looks so adorable...kind of rustic. Sometimes we add cranberries. This year we did just the popcorn. Because we have two rather large dogs, we cannot put the popcorn all the way to the bottom of the tree, otherwise the pups would help themselves to the handy snack. This morning, the strings of popcorn have been removed from the tree and are hanging on our squirrel feeder out in the yard. Hopefully our squirrels will help themselves before our next batch of snow falls and turns the popcorn into mush.
We buy our kiddos each an ornament each year, so that when they fly the coop, they'll have some ornaments for their tree in their own homes. In years of late, they have delighted in going to a local store called 'Hobby Lobby' and picking out their own. Our tree is not a themed one...it is a hodge-podge of memories...very casual and just fun. We just pile everyone's ornaments on and reminisce and enjoy them. For now, as we are taking down the tree, we just piled everyone's ornaments in the same containers together. Soon it will be time to separate them and for each to go his or her own way. (sigh)
After taking down our tree today, we have a few dozen candy canes leftover. At the beginning of the Christmas season, I could not buy candy canes fast enough to keep them on the tree 'cause everyone was chowing down on them. I guess the novelty wore off...the candy cane consumption has slowed considerably. But I found this website that should help us out: http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/item/33_candy_canes/ These suggestions will make it easy to utilize the leftovers, but might make it tough to stick to our healthier eating resolutions!