Friday, November 30, 2012

Homemade Chritmas gifts, gratitude

  It's the time of year we think of how blessed we are compared to others.  I have been blessed all my life, God gave me 5 wonderful children, 6 adorable grandkids and 2 just great grandkids. Along with sisters I love, and parents that I miss everyday.  I have also had 2 husbands in my life, the first was the father of 3 of my kids, for that gift I could never be grateful enough! And the 2nd gave me my last child, and 35 years of happiness. Th e hardest part of being blessed is letting go of those you love and just keeping them in your heart forever. We will never know why things happen as they do in our lives, but God does have a plan, and we are just trying to follow it to the best of our ability. I am grateful to have found a way to be helpful with my church family, by keeping in touch with cards and phone calls, and working with the Agency on Aging, calling seniors who live alone and need a little companionship on a regular basis. Spending a couple days a week talking to them is good for me too.
  Life has not been easy, my parents struggled to keep us going most of our lives. Dad worked as a printer when I was very young, and saved the wooden rollers from the newsprint. He took them home, cut them into various sized slices, painted them and made me building blocks for Christmas one year, they were great. Mom would find a doll at the good will, and fix it up and make clothes. I felt so lucky. Funny how you remember the lean years as some of the best. This year, we are only gifting the smallest, under 8 or so babes in the family and the rest we will give cards, e mails, pictures and maybe handmade things. Means so much more, and it is after all, Christ's birthday so remembering that, going to church and being grateful is more than enough!
  Ok, do you have a special child you need a gift for? Ran across a site on Pinterest that features all kinds of hand made for kids things, and loved this one, home made play dough. If you made a batch in 4 colors, red, blue, green and yellow, and put each into a nice tight closing container, what kid would not have fun with it. And its easy and cheap.
   In a sauce pan put 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
                               3/4 cup salt
                               1 and 1/2 cups water
                               1 tablespoon of oil(cooking)
                               1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
                               food color to suit
   Mix and stir, cook until no longer looks like batter, but sticks together and stays. should take 5 to 8 minutes. cool sightly, knead and place in containers. I would go for ones that have sealable lids, nice gift.
  How about a container of energy bites, pumpkin for this time of year.
    Pumpkin Energy Bites
 8 ounces chopped dates
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon of chia seeds or wheat germ
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup of quick oats
1 cup chopped nuts
 Mix first 5 ingredients together in food processor,  move to bowl and add the rest. Chill, make into balls.  Easy.
 I spent some days last week making seasoned salt, hot pepper and paprika, and Herbs de Provence. Plus face cream, body scrub and soap. Being a rather sloppy person, the kitchen took a beating. But now it's clean again and lots of jars of pretties are done.  Still have cookies to make, but waiting til just a few days before Christmas for those, they will be truffles.
  The joy is in the doing and giving. I am praying for decent weather the week before Christmas, so I can travel to NE to see my new grand daughter and of course, my 3 year old grand daughter that I have so much fun with. And the rest of my family, sisters , son and daughter in law , nieces and nephews, daughter in Il and grandsons there. And if I am lucky, my grand daughter and great grand babes in IL.
  Hope your Holiday season is full of love, gratitude and Happiness. Final thought, for wounded warriors recovering  from injuries, address an extra Christmas card to:  A Recovering American Soldier
                               c/o Walter Reed Army Hospital
                               6900 Georgia Ave
                               NW Washington, DC, 20307-5001
 I plan on sending several, we do owe them so much!
  Turn on the Christmas music, get your cards done and give thanks for having a home, food and family. Love to all!
 One last thought. Watched a Christmas movie last night that made me cry, called Christmas Snow. About a father and daughter.  Dad walked out on her when she was 10. She nearly hit him with her car at Christmas when she was grown, ended up taking him home with her. He convinced her that bearing a grudge was such a waste of time and living, turns out he was dead and she got a bonus few days with him, snowed in. She ended up traveling back to see her mom, that she had not seen in years, and forgiving in her heart all the hurts she had carried for so many years. What a great movie, if you find it listed, try and watch it.

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