Friday, December 31, 2010

The BEST Popcorn Balls Ever!!

Chewy Popcorn Balls

2 cubes of butter (use real butter)
1 cup of sugar
¾ cup of light corn syrup (Karo)
1-cup real heavy whipping cream

Air Pop about 5 qts of popcorn
Remove any kernels and set aside

In medium saucepan, melt butter, add sugar and corn syrup. Stir until mixed well; add whipping cream.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat to a soft ball stage. (Be careful not to scorch)

Pour over popped corn and form into balls

(Tip: Wear rubber gloves and rub with butter)

These are so GOOD!!!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

10 Tips to Help You Ease Holiday Stress

The holiday season is one of the most stressful times throughout the year. While the holidays bring visions of sugarplums, family gatherings and parties into mind, it also brings tired feet, empty wallets and anxiety trying to find that “perfect gift” for each family member.

Below is a list of ways you can de-stress during this busy time and take a moment for yourself.

1. Do only what you can. While trying to please everyone, you can only get so much done yourself. Share the celebration, the joy and the planning with family and friends.

2. Take care of your body. Lack of sleep and overly exerting yourself can lead to major stress. Making sure to get enough sleep and take care of yourself as it’s especially important during the holidays.

3. Keep it simple. Pre-wrapped chocolate gifts for the hard-to-buy, dessert treats made-in-minutes…. Utilize some of our premium chocolate holiday ideas as a way to maximize your valuable time.

4. Check it off. Make a check list of what needs to be done. Set priorities of what needs to be accomplished along with a reasonable timeline. This could include menu planning, gift selection, shopping, baking and cooking. Once it is on paper, it can be easier to keep track and get it accomplished.

5. Adhere to a budget. Take a close look at your current financial situation and create a holiday spending budget. This will help alleviate money stresses and prevent from overspending. This is one of the most common sources of stress during the holidays.

6. Ask. Don’t feel bad asking people what they want for Christmas. Surprises are great but asking others can make shopping less stressful and fun when you know they’re getting something they really want.

7. Plan some fun. Schedule a girls (or guys) night out right after the holidays. This gives you something to look forward to once the holiday madness is over with.

8. Enjoy the season. There is so much more to the holidays than entertaining and shopping. Rent a couple of Christmas classic movies, listen to some of your favorite Christmas tunes and consider taking a drive with your significant other to see the lights and decorations around town.

9. Have a potluck. Instead of having to cook for hours on end, make one of your gatherings into a potluck where everyone can bring one item.

10. Enjoy “me time”. Sit down, put your feet up and relax. Indulge yourself with a smooth-melting Lindor truffle. Take the time out after a busy day to silently unwind and pat yourself on the back for all of your hard work!

Lindor Truffles

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christ: The Real Gift of Christmas

Christ: The Real Gift of Christmas is a wonderful new website with resources for your family and Friends.

By focusing on your loved ones, enjoying or building holiday traditions, and following the Savior's example of service, you can give yourself and your family true, lasting Christmas gifts.

Christmas Videos
Christmas Traditions
How to Have a More Worshipful Christmas
Christmas Media Resources
There is music player to Play the song, or in a MP3 (Music & Words) or MP3 (Music Only)
Great Articles
Coloring Pages & Games

Luke Chapter 2, King James Version Luke 2 in the New Testament is the sacred account of the birth of Jesus Christ. With links to songs, articles, and videos, you can now experience the familiar story in a new way.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Can Be Magical

from my Mom's blog

Elder and Sister Tanner

When you are far from home, no matter what you do Christmas becomes "different" and we have found that it is okay. We have talked a lot and thought a lot about Christmas this year.

Mostly for me it has been recalling a lot of special memories. Christmas seems so magical when you are a child. It really doesn't have to do with how much is spent. It is the gifts that money can't buy that are the most important and the most memorable. One of Michael's memories that he has shared with me often is a wagon full of oranges. Oranges in the winter time in Idaho, what a wonderful gift for him. He has never forgotten it and it still becomes the topic of discussion a few times during the season. My memories put me into another world. Lights, cookies, candles, music, stockings, the tree, wrapping and ribbons, fudge, divinity, cards, relatives, the artificial fireplace, hard candies, a bowl of nuts, giggles, anticipation, secrets, food (oh my) the food. Did I know we were "poor"? Never at Christmas. To me Christmas was magic. When I grew up I found out that someone has to create that magic. My mother was at the center of all that magic for me. When I think back on all those wonderful memories, I don't know how she did it. I know my dad and grandpa helped and probably many others, but it was her that pulled it off every year. Then I realized that responsibility fell on me now. I picked up the torch and was determined that the magic of Christmas would not be lost with me. It was not always easy, but the magic continued. As we moved on through our lives and found the Church, the magic continued, but increased and become even more meaningful in the very special way of knowing what that magic is all about. The Jesus present become the central theme of our celebration. The Christmas story though mentioned and heard as a child, now become vital to our family. We carried on a lot of our traditional activities, tweaking some and adding some of our own. It was magical. Certain music and certain smells can transport me back in seconds.

I have often said that I wait each year for the Christmas Spirit to come. There is always something that triggers it. Some years it is early and others it is evasive and hard to find. This year it has come later, perhaps because we are away, or just that we have been so busy. The video that has been circulating on the internet about the flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus in a food court really helped. The most important thing that really brought the spirit to us was letters from family members. Home made cards, hand drawn pictures, testimonies, letters, special talks, little books. They touched our hearts and made the tears flow. They will be a treasure always, not just at Christmas.

To be serving this mission and associating with these missionaries at this time is surely a blessing we will always cherish. I think the Lord gives extra special blessings at this time of the year when it is difficult to be away from home and family. There is a warmth and peace that comes from within, to know we are in the Lord's service. When all is said and done, when all the gifts have been opened and we move into the New Year, we realize it is not magic, but the Spirit that makes it Christmas. That little baby who was born in the stable has grown up and now is our Savior. We are grateful for his loving sacrifice.

Love you Mom!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Hidden Meaning

In 16th Century England, it was a crime to be a Catholic. Catholics were forbidden to practice their faith publicly and privately. Throughout history, when Catholics were persecuted they found little traditions to practice their faith and to recognize other Catholics. Thus came along "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to help young Catholics remember the tenets of their faith without getting caught.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree - Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. The partridge represents the courage and devotion of Christ dying for his people. A mother partridge will lure predators away from her chicks, even sacrificing her life for them. The pear tree symbolizes the wooden cross upon which Jesus died. Recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

Two Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world. Doves also symbolize truth and peace.

Three French Hens - French hens were the food of kings in sixteenth century England. Here they represent the expensive gifts brought by the wise men to the newborn Jesus. And the Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Four Calling Birds - The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

Five Golden Rings - The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah, the Pentateuch and as the Law of Moses.: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

Six Geese A-laying - The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1). The eggs, from which new life springs, symbolize creation.

Seven Swans A-swimming - The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11) The swan, a graceful bird, symbolized these virtues.

Eight Maids A-milking - The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10) Being a milk maid was one of the lowest jobs in sixteenth century England. Jesus came to save the poor and the humble, thus this gift represents Jesus' love for the common people.

Nine Ladies Dancing - The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Ten Lords A-Leaping - The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

Eleven Pipers Piping - The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

Twelve Drummers Drumming - The twelve points of doctrine in the prayer
Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy Catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting. The drummers may provide the cadence for reciting this prayer.

There is some controversy over the actual history of this song. Although, church historians have declared this account basically accurate. Some people say it originated in a children's book as a memory game. Some say it came from France many years before. Wherever the song came from, the song helps Christians to celebrate their heritage through one more tradition. When you hear this once thought secular nonsense song, will you be reminded of what it symbolizes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tips to Keep You and Your Christmas Organized

            Set up a Wrapping Station 

Find a nook or cranny with bit privacy and storage space – it might be a walk-in closet, a corner of the basement, or even the laundry room. Gather all the wrapping materials there: paper, bows, tape, scissors, bags and ribbon (now is a great time to inventory!) When you bring home gifts, assign someone who likes to wrap to have at it in the wrapping room. Wrapping gifts with small children can help them feel included in the joy of giving. The only trick to this making sure the supplies don't wander off!

Inventory Your Pantry

Few things are more stressful than finally having time to do some baking and realizing that you don't have enough sugar. Or cream. Or those little crushed red and green candy sprinkles that your youngest loves so much.

Make a list of the things you usually bake, or things you would like to bake, and then take an inventory of your pantry. Do you have everything you need?  

Look at the fridge and freezer while you're at it. Do you have things for quick dinners on the go? If you're up to it, go ahead and freeze some doubles when you have time. You know they'll come in handy.

Plan to Serve

Most of us want to serve others during the Christmas season, but as schedules fill and stress builds, it's easy to get to the New Year and be disappointed.

This year, make plans early to do something that will make this Christmas one to remember. Make a commitment, write it down, and enjoy serving others. You might ask your bishop what you can do for the ward, or sign up to help a local homeless shelter. Families with small children usually find that a promise made to the young ones does not get forgotten! Find out what good causes are happening where you are and make a date to serve. You will enjoy your Christmas all the more knowing you've helped others. 

Jingle Those Bells Singing Christmas carols can actually help you feel less stress. So sing along – even if you aren't the best singer in the choir. Experts say that singing encourages good breathing and releases endorphins, improving your mood!  

Also a great mood lifter – exercise. Go for a brisk walk, play a game, or do some of those desk yoga exercises. Anything that gets the blood pumping will make you feel better, especially about those delicious and tempting desserts everywhere!

 Nurture Your Spirit

Make time for prayer, mediation, and scripture study. It's so easy to say, "I'm too busy – I'll get to it later" but the well-known tools really are the best when they're used everyday. They help you stay on track with your priorities, and keep your patience with long lines or children with the"gimmies" They can even help you take a deep breath and enjoy the holidays. Make the time, even when it seems like there's none.

What Can Be Moved?

Look at your planning carefully and consider – what could be moved out of December? What would happen if you took the family photo for Christmas letter in October? Or send a Happy New Year letter instead? Is the week before Christmas really the best time to have a party? Some things can't be moved, but some things can. See what you can move off your plate by doing it well before the holidays, or even bumping it to later. 
Simplify Gifts

 Elder Oaks has counseled us, "Remember, don't magnify the work to be done – simplify it" Take a list of your Christmas plans, especially the gifts you plan to give, and ask yourself how you could simplify. It is time to do a gift exchange with your extended family rather than trying to buy for everyone? Could your children do gifts of service for their siblings or a DVD of Christmas carols for grandparents rather than buying or making elaborate gifts? 

Plan a Screen-Free Day

Take one of those days between when the kids get out of school and Christmas and designate it a "screen-free day. No television, no computers, no video games. Spend the time talking, playing board games, or baking. You'll be amazed how much this cuts out the stress. You may even want to do it again!

Reason for the Season

Along with your regular habits to stay close to the Savior, look for ways to include Him in your celebration of Hid birth. Some families bake a birthday cake to eat Christmas day. Many do evening devotions of scripture, a song, and maybe a story or a thought. Whatever way you find work best, remembering the birth of Jesus Christ will make Christmas less stressful for you and those you love. 

By Sarah Jean Carter

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jocelyn's 2010 List of the Best Christmas Books for Young Children

Jocelyn's List 
of the 
Best Christmas Books for Young Children

This year's book list theme is: Teaching children the joy of giving to others!  Enjoy!
Dec 1: Who is coming to our house? by Joseph Slate
Craft: Paper Star
Dec 2: Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Richard H. Schneider
Craft: Felt tree
Dec 3:  The Animal's Christmas Eve by Gale Wiersum
Craft:  Paper Nativity 
Dec 4: Humphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer
Craft: Paper Globe
Dec 5:  Good King Wenceslas by Christopher Manson
Craft:  Stained Glass Ornaments
Dec 6: Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
Craft:  Snow Baby Ornament 
December 7: We Were There: A Nativity Story by Eve Bunting
Craft:  Sock Doll Baby Jesus
December 8:  Jingle The Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola
Craft:  Felt Ornament 
Dec 9:  The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger
Craft: from artwork
Dec. 10:  Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Craft:  Paper Spring Snowmen
Dec 11:  My First Story of the First Christmas by Deanna Draper Buck
Craft:  Clay Pot Holy Family
Dec. 12:  The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Craft:  Lamb Cutout Ornaments
Dec 13: Olivia Claus by Kama Einhorn
Craft:  Puzzle Piece Wreath
Dec 14:  This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten
Craft: Popsicle Stick Stable
Dec 15:  A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S. Monson
Craft:  Memory Mittens
Dec 16:  The Christmas (my own version)
Craft:  Christmas Oranges
Dec 17: The Snowman Movie by Raymond Briggs
Craft: Washcloth Snowman
Dec 18:  The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving by Jan & Mike Berenstain
Craft:  Gift Card Holder Ornament
Dec 19:  A Small Miracle by Peter Collington
Craft: Wiseman Paper Craft
Dec 20:  On Christmas Eve by Peter Collington
Craft: Christmas Key
Dec 21:  Santa Mouse  by Michael Brown
Craft:  Christmas Tree Ornament
Dec 22:  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May
Craft:  Rudolph Handprints
Dec 23:  The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Craft:  Glittery Sugarplums
Dec 24:  The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
Craft: Angel Craft

Jocelyn's 2009 List of the Best Christmas Books for Young Children

Jocelyn's List

of the
Best Christmas Books for Young Children
From the blog:

1 – The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
by Susan Wojciechowski - Ornament Craft: Heart Ornament

2 – A Christmas Dress For Ellen
by Thomas S. Monson - Ornament Craft: Scrap Ball Ornament

3 – One Wintry Night
by Ruth Graham - Ornament Craft: Paint Swirl Glass Ball Ornament

4 – Christmas Oranges
by Linda Bethers - Ornament Craft: Christmas Orange Pomander

5 - The Polar Express
by Chris Van Allsburg - Ornament Craft: Santa's Jingle Bell

6 - The Gift Of The Magi
by Sauber/O. Henry - Ornament Craft: Wrapped Mini-Gift Ornaments

7 - Grandfather's Christmas Tree
written by Keith Strand, illustrated by Thomas Locker - Ornament Craft: Carve duck family out of soap

8 - Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect
by Richard H. Schneider - Ornament Craft: Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree

9 - This Is The Stable
by Cynthia Cotton - Ornament Craft: Manger

10 - Humphrey's First Christmas
by Carol Heyer - Ornament Craft: Folded Paper Camel Craft

11 -The Clown of God 
an old story told and illustrated by Tomie dePaola - Ornament Craft: Easy Felt Ornaments with "colored balls" buttons or one to represent each color juggled
12 - Who Is Coming To Our House 
written by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff - Ornament Craft: Toothpick/Christmas Card Ornament
13 - My First Story of the First Christmas
retold by Deanna Draper Buck, illustrated by Jerry Harston -
Ornament Craft: Glittery Christmas Star
14 - Snow Music
by Lynne Rae Perkins - Ornament Craft: Snowflakes Paper

15 - The Donkey's Dream
by Barbara Helen Berger - Ornament Craft: Tea Bag Donkey

16 - Snowmen at Night (or Snowmen Christmas Eve)
written by Caralyn Buehner, pictures by Mark Buehner -
Ornament Craft: Marshmallow Snowmen
17 - The Crippled Lamb
by Max Lucado - Ornament Craft: Woolly Sheep Ornament

18 - The Sweet Smell of Christmas
(with scratch & sniff scents inside) written by Patricia Scarry, illustrated by J.P. Miller - Ornament Craft: Gingerbread Ornaments

19 - We Were There: A Nativity Story
by Eve Bunting - Ornament Craft: Christmas Spider
20 - Santa Mouse
by Michael Brown - Ornament Craft: Merry Christmouse
21 -  Morris's Disappearing Bag
by Rosemary Wells - Ornament Craft: Small "Disappearing Bag"

22 - The Animal's Christmas Eve
(a little golden book) written by Gale Weirsum, illustrated by Alex Steele Morgan - Ornament Craft: Baby Jesus in Manger
23 - The Night Before Christmas
(a golden book, printing 1975) written by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Corinne Malvern - Ornament Craft: Sugarplum/gumdrop ornament

24 - The Littlest Angel
written by Charles Tazewell, illustrated by Sergio Leone -
Ornament Craft: Paper Angel Cutout


Learn how to say “Santa Claus” in another language

Santa Claus is known by many names—like St. Nicholas and Father Christmas—but some seem a bit stranger. Kris Kringle? Where did that one come from? Kris Kringle was the lead character in Miracle on 34th Street, but the name probably originates from Christkindl, or Christkind, the Austrian and Bavarian Christmas gift-bringer modeled after the baby Jesus. Here are some other pseudonyms Santa uses across the world:

USA/Canada—Santa Claus
Brazil—Papai Noel
China—Shengdan Laoren (Old Man Christmas)
Chile—Viejo Pascuero
Dutch—Sinter Klaas
England—Father Christmas
Europe—Saint Nicholas
France—Pere Noel
Germany—Saint Nikolaus
Hungary—Tel-apo/Mikulas/Winter grandfather
Italy—Babbo Natale
Morocco—Black Peter
Peru—Papa Noel
Russia—Ded Moroz
Spain—El Nino Jesus

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How to Find Joy during the Holiday Season

How to Find Joy during the Holiday Season is a simple question to answer.
You don't look for it – You Make it Happen!

Live the Commandments; "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt 6:33

Continue regular Prayer and Scripture study, both individually and as a family

Study the Saviors Life and Learn of Him and what he did

Perform meaningful acts of Service to your fellow men

Have old Traditions and crate new ones

Always set priorities – Plan what is most meaningful
 and enjoyable to you and your family

Make quite time, slow down – Say No!!

Cut back of gifts and activities

Make a budget and Don't over spend

Do what you can and let go of the rest

It is very hard for a Starving Spirit to Experience Joy.
Don't Forget – Christ is what Christmas is all about

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gifts to Yourself

Have your Daily Prayers
Read your Scriptures
Eat Well and Get Plenty of Rest
Give full attention to children when they want to share
Buy Yourself Flowers
Buy a Christmas pin to wear on your coat!
Take a long, hot Bubble Bath
Take a Brisk Walk
Enjoy a few minutes of a good book with a cup of herb tea or hot chocolate
Get a manicure or a pedicure
Spend time with loved ones
Organize Now!! To avoid a stressed or discouraged feelings later

Find and Take to Heart the Blessings You Possess.
Know in Your Heart that You Have the Ability to offer Much Love and a Testimony that can inspire others.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Family Traditions for Christmas

The True meaning of Christmas can be brought into your Christmas through Family Traditions. Something that can be done each year will bring great memories for everyone.
  • A Christmas News Letter each year with a Family Picture
  • Baking Cookies
  • Going Caroling
  • Making Gifts
  • A Service Project
  • Visiting Shut Ins or at a Rest Home
  • Letters and Care Boxes to Military and Missionaries
  • Sitting by the tree with all the other lights off Singing Together, drinking Hot Chocolate
  • Watching Christmas Specials and Movies
  • We always opened one gift on Christmas Eve – (Pajamas from Grandpa and Grandma)
  • Reading the account of the Birth of the Savior – acting out the Nativity
  • The Foods we eat – the Treats or your Menu for Christmas Dinner
  • "The Jesus Present"
  • "The Twelve Days of Christmas" – Do your "own" version for someone for 12 prior to Christmas 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What is the True Meaning of Christmas?

I have always loved this time of year. Growing up my Mom worked so hard on making it magical. Through the years I have continued working hard making memories. Yes it takes planning to make memories. But this year I have had mixed emotions, I really don't like how commercial the holidays have become.

The magic is in the simple things.

What can we do to make Christmas more meaningful?

First – consider those things that are most important

Second – cut down on some activities and preparations that are not important, then spend more time on things that are.

So much of our time, money and effort are put into gifts.
How can we plan Christmas gifts so they honor the Savior and feel the true spirit of Christmas?

Do our gifts pass this little test?
1 – Is the gift in the spirit of Love?
2 – Is it a reasonable choice and not too expensive or time consuming for the giver?
3 – Will it be ready before Christmas so that it will not take last minute preparation that should be spent on more important things?

Think back, do you remember what you got each year? You might remember the year you got a bike, but not what you got each year.
Money is not what's important – many can probably afford nice gifts – just things – gifts of the heart are memories for you and the one that receives.
Cutting down on your list to whom you give gifts.

How can we enjoy preparing Christmas food so it will add to the Spirit of Christmas?
It needs to be kept simple.
Make up menus and shopping list weeks before Christmas and purchase items on sale and when convenient.

How can our Christmas decorations add more to the spirit of Christmas?
If Christmas decorations are too time consuming and expensive, they can detract from the spirit. If left to the last minute they often add stress and confusion.

Family Traditions
Which of our traditional Christmas activities add to the spirit of our celebration and bring us closer to the Savior?
You may want to begin a Christmas tradition that puts service and love first in your plans by visiting long neglected relatives, lonely persons, or neighbors with whom you are not well acquainted.
By sharing food, toys and gifts with families in need, you may find a new meaning in your celebration of the birth of the Lord.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Decorations That Add Meaning

As you plan your decorations, think about and discuss traditional decorations that can remind us of Jesus because of the symbolism.

Lights, Candles and the Star – The star is the heavenly sign of promise from long, ago. It represents the star that shown in the east that appeared on the night of the Saviors birth. That Christ is the light of the world.

The Christmas Tree – Eternal life, because it stays green all year. All needles point to heaven; this symbolizes man's thoughts returning toward heaven.

Red – as in Holly Berries and Poinsettias – The blood of Christ that would spill for our sake.

The Bell – Represent guidance, sheep bells, and lost sheep to return to the fold

The Bow – is placed on presents to remind us of the brotherhood of man.

Candy Canes – The Shepherd's staff, that we are our brother's keeper.

Holly – The crown of thorns that would pierce our Saviors head.
Green – as in Ivy – Life and hope.
The Wreath – It is continuous, never ceases, stops, or ends. Unconditional love

The key is to keep it simple

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beautiful Advice

An Angel says, 'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety . If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13.. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19 Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray...
24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus .'
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29 Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego..
33 Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

Thank you Mom, I really needed this.