Getting ready for Christmas is not just about the lights, the tree, the cookies, or the presents. The season of Advent, preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ, is the real reason for the season. Advent is about the anticipation of the coming of Christ. In the middle of all the hectic rushing around preparing for our “worldly” Christmas, Advent reminds us to slow down and reflect on the real gift of Christmas, the gift of God’s own Son.
The birth of Jesus Christ, is the real reason for the season. I prepare in many ways, but during Advent our church adds vesper services on Wednesday nights. It’s a shorter liturgical service, without communion. Pastor reads the Christmas story during the reading, one section at at time, one week at a time, and then brings it to life during the sermon.
My View from the Church Piano during the Advent Season
I play the piano for Wednesday night Advent services, and I love to sit quietly in front of the church and absorb the message and hear the congregation sing. It fills the church and my soul. On Sunday I help the kids get ready for the childrens’ program on Christmas Eve, not only do I play during Advent services, but for the Christmas Eve program. The organist and I rotate songs and end with a piano-organ duet to Joy to the World.
The church is decorated not only with an Advent wreath and candles, but poinsettias, candles, and the blue vestments of Advent. I love many of the church seasons, but the season of Advent and Christmas as two of my favorite.
But waiting is what the Christian season of Advent is all about: contemplating the Second Coming of Christ, the Messiah, while also preparing to celebrate the First Coming, the birth of Jesus at Christmas. It is a season marked by prayer, song and …
For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting by Israelites for the birth of the Messiah, and the waiting by Christians for the return of Christ. The most famous hymn of Advent is “O Come Emmanuel.” Its lyrics …
In the conglomerated holiday season that is HalloThanksMas, the tiny season of Advent gets lost in the rush. In Christian tradition, especially in liturgical churches, the season of Advent began on Sunday, Nov. 30 and continues until Christmas. The …
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) – Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent. This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that …
Starting in the beginning of December I start baking cookies, lots of cookies. Now Peanut Butter Kiss cookies don’t look like Christmas cookies, but they are one of my kids favorites, so they get made. I usually make at least six different varieties of cookies every year, not including my candies. This tradition started when I moved from Connecticut to Oklahoma for school and was looking for an inexpensive gift to send to friends.
Another reason I started making peanut butter cookies is one year I ran our of flour and these have three ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, and an egg. So not only is it inexpensive it’s a gluten-free cookie for a friend who is gluten intolerant.
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Recipe for Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Preheat oven to 350F, unwrap candy kisses
1 Cup Peanut Butter ( I use smooth)
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 large egg
Mix together, roll teaspoon size balls, I use a melon scoop for uniform size balls
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes
Remove cookies from oven and immediately place an unwrapped Hershey Kiss into the cooked ball.
Cool slightly and remove from baking sheet.
There you go, so easy a child could do it, and who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate? Enjoy your peanut butter kiss cookies and if you have a favorite cookie recipe please share it in the comments.
Christmas Cookies Recipes – Joyofbaking.com *Video Recipes* · Christmas Cookie Recipes: 20 Sugar Cookies · Christmas Cookie Recipes: 20 Cookies Made With Chocolate · Christmas Cookies Recipe: Your Cheatsheet For Holiday Baking. Click here to …
Is it even possible to eat a Kit Kat bar without triggering that “Give me a break!” earworm from the ’80s? Seems not. So our cure to keep us from humming “Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar!” for the rest of the day is to bake up a batch of these …
There are many reasons to love the holidays, but Christmas cookies are definitely on the top of that list. With that in mind, we gathered together all the important Christmas cookie recipes you need to get through this season — and some great twists …
christmas cookie recipe I know it’s not even December yet, but I’m telling you the time to get started on your holiday baking is now. As the big days draw nearer and nearer, suddenly things start spiraling out of control with parties here, travel there …
In addition to Christmas cookies I also make Christmas pretzels, and I do it the easy way. Fill circle pretzels with almond bark and plop an M&Min the middle. Years ago it was difficult to find circle pretzels, there was a hunt to find them in the grocery stores. Now they are everywhere. I used to dip the regular twisted variety, but that takes too much time.
Hershey holiday M&Ms come in red and green and are perfect to give your cookie and candy plates that splash of color. Simply spoon the melted chocolate into the center of the pretzels. You can also use a frosting gun to squirt the melted almond bark into the pretzel centers.
Using a Pampered Chef frosting gun
Many people chose to microwave their chocolate, but I think it’s too risky. It doesn’t take too much heat before the chocolate gets too hot, seize up an become hard.I don’t get fancy with melting chocolate, almond bark is fine with me and I place the squares on a double boiler on the stove.
How to Use a Double Boiler
I’m off to dip pretzels now, you see, nothing is safe during the Christmas season when it comes to chocolate, I make more than Christmas Pretzels, I make pretzel rods, chocolate covered cherries, chocolate covered marshmallows, and chocolate covered apricots.
It’s more Christmas music!! It’s DAY 3 and I’m still on a music kick. For the past few weeks I have seen the video of Mary Did You Know floating on Facebook, but like I said, I don’t listen to Christmas carols until December 1st. Now that we are in the month of December it’s a free for all! This rendition of the popular song is hauntingly beautiful.
I love how it’s set in a cave because many Christians believe the stable wasn’t an actual building but a cave where animals were housed. Remember there was no room in the Inn and Mary was an unwed Mother. Joseph was poor, and probably didn’t want any extra attention to this baby, Christ the Lord who had already been named Emmanuel.
Purchase MP3 music adapter on Amazon
Pentatonix music is mainly acapella with limited instrumentals. Their music and videos are hauntingly beautiful and I can listen to it all day long. In December Christmas music is all I listen to and I plug my phone into the speakers in my car to listen to on my way to work. Since I have an older 20012 Ford Escape I use a Cassette Adapter.
My kids told me about this neat cheap way to turn your car stereo into an MP3 player. It’s really handy if your car still has a cassette stereo.
For your listening pleasure I present a playlist of Christmas music by Pentatonix. You can either listen on my blog or purchase the digital music and listen at your leisure anywhere you like. Just for your information, their Christmas albums are one of the highest selling CDs on Amazon, for good reason.
It is now December 2nd, and day number two on my Count Down to Christmas. I love the holiday season and everything about it including Christmas carols, outdoor light displays, making candy, baking cookies, and especially Christmas tree ornaments.
I Love Christmas Tree Ornaments
To me Christmas trees are a journey through life and memories of family and friends. My Christmas tree is a memory tree, each ornament has a meaning or is significant. The tradition is each year I buy a Christmas ornament for each one of my kids which represents their life for that year. The promise is when each of them gets married and starts a family their box of ornaments will go with them to start their own family tree.
For instance when my daughter played softball, it was a softball athlete. When we took a ski trip to Colorado it was a skiing ornament from the resort. You get the picture. Marine Moms are very sentimental and I would have to say every Marine Mom in the country has at LEAST one USMC Christmas Tree Ornament on their tree. In fact I know some Marine Moms who decorate full trees in a patriotic theme with red, white and blue accents.
Day 28: US Marine Corp Ornament
Our tradition is to open the ornaments first on Christmas Eve and although my boys don’t like to be Motards with a lot of Marine Corps paraphernalia but, they do like and appreciate their Marine Corps ornaments. The ornament above was the first one I gave to my oldest son his first year in the Corps.
I’ve started shopping for this years, but I can’t spoil the surprise for my boys my posting it here. So for those Marine Mom’s looking for Marine or military holiday decorations or themed Christmas tree ornaments here are a few selections.
Marine Corps Ornaments on Amazon
I like Amazon, it’s fast, reliable, and if there are any shipping issues it’s taken care of promptly. They also have the biggest selection and have just about EVERYTHING! How do you like to decorate your tree, is it thematic, color coordinated, or a memory tree?
Welcome to my 25 day countdown to Christmas. I kick it off with Leonard Cohen Christmas version of Hallelujah and I hope I will be able to post every day during the month of December and throughout the holiday.
I’m very addicted to Christmas songs and carols and love this version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It is similar to the the Easter version I posted earlier this year. I absolutely love this melody and I’m so glad Christ is playing a center role in the song during cover versions.
I do have a rule for Christmas music, it can’t be played until December 1st, I don’t like going into a store around Halloween and hearing Holiday music, I want to enjoy the fall holidays, celebrate Thanksgiving and then jump into December with gusto. My Pandora list is set on Classic Christmas music and I take out my piano sheet music to get ready for Advent services on Wednesday night.
With that being said, I kick off the Christmas season today, December 1st with this version of Hallelujah for Christmas. Enjoy
As far as sports go, I’m not a sports fan, or a big football fan. I like and respect team character, integrity, teamwork, leadership, and the people behind the plays. That is why I like Bo Pelini. It is also why I don’t like what happened this Sunday morning on November 30th. I’ve always been with BO, he loves the game, he loves his players, and they love him.
For Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst to announce to the players the firing of their coach and leader, Bo Pelini in an email is cowardly and unprofessional. What was so pressing that couldn’t wait until the players were gathered together in a meeting where they could vent, get mad, grieve together and figure out how support each other during this time period.
Regardless of what the press wants the fans and viewers want you to hear or know, the players love Bo Pelini. I know family members of a local player and I’ve been told they players would go do anything for this man. He sincerely cares about them as people, not numbers on the field, not X’s and O’s and certainly not as dollar signs.
But, this is what it comes down to isn’t it. The almighty dollar? Somewhere, someone, with political pull or clout thinks the Huskers are not winning enough National Championships. Well I’m sorry, ok, maybe I’m not, but when did going to college become all about winning a National Football Championship? How many of these young men will play professional football anyway? A few, many former Huskers are playing professional football right now, and they were not on a National Championship Football team.
Bo Pelini Announcement in an Email
What a way to find out your coach got fired. In an email. Who really even checks their email on a regular basis anymore, especially college students. So many of the players found out via text when their phones blew up with messages from team mates, friends and family.
If college football is a business, like many would like to convince us, then let’s look at this from a business perspective. Do you announce the firing of the boss in an email to employees on a Sunday morning at 10:30 am? Or, do you wait until Monday morning, when all the employees arrive at work, have a meeting and then communicate in a professional setting where emotions and questions could be expressed in a controlled setting?
Announcing the firing of Bo Pelini from behind a computer screen is cowardly and unprofessional. Players responded with shock and took to social media, resentment and emotions on both sides are hot and heavy. They took to Twitter Sunday (read them here) and showed their support of Coach Bo, something they did NOT do when Callahan was fired in 2007. Shoot, I’m writing about this and I don’t even bleed red. This is BAD public relations.
Bo Pelini Accomplishments
Put Nebraska in the National spotlight with the Team Jack touchdown (no one will ever be able to forget a touchdown a 7 yr old made)
One of the nations most successful coaches over the past six seasons. One of only three coaches in the BCS to win nine games their first six year during their first head coaching position. (taken from www.huskers.com which I’m sure will get taken down soon)
Pelnin and Osborne Comparison
Bo Pellini matched the performance of much admired and loved Coach Osborne during his first seven years
In 2013 had 30 student athletes named to the Academic All-Big Ten team. Not a feat very many schools can touch.
An impressive 123 of 130 players on track to earn their degree from the University of Nebraska.
Isn’t that what a University is supposed to do, graduate students and prepare them for a successful future? The college student athlete, their experience is multi-faceted, players are thrust together from all walks of life, from all over the country, poor, rich, urban, country, and must come together as a successful team. These are 18-19 year old-young men, many of them with egos the size of a house, all with the attitude of something to prove.
Ameer Abdullah Said it Best
During the 2014 student-athlete speechat the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon Ameer Abdullah really wraps up my feeling on why I admire Bo Pelini. Everyone who is not an athlete, or sports fan should listen to this speech. During these eleven minutes this football player shows what college football is all about.
“I have come to realize that life is bigger than football, and that my chances of long-term success in life will be greatly enhanced by completing my college education,”
So here ends my rant, as my husband says “Stick a Quarter in you and you’re wound up” yes, some things I am passionate about and the loss of character in the University of Nebraska football program is indeed a loss. Not for the fans, but for the players. Bo Pelini I will miss you, yes, even your side line and press conference rants. It shows you have passion.
I’m With BO! shirt on CafePress
More Response to the Firing Of Nebraska Football Coach Bo Pelini
Fake Bo Pelini, aka @FauxPelini, has more than 152,000 followers on Twitter. Since the account’s creation, it’s handler has created a series of hilarious interactions with everyone from Bo Pelini himself to rival players and even police department …
Nebraska’s players woke up Sunday morning to find that head coach Bo Pelini was fired. And few, if any, embraced the change. Many took to Twitter to express their anger and frustration. Here’s a snapshot of those reactions: …
Pelini served as head coach of Nebraska for seven seasons, being hired by Tom Osborne at the end of the 2007 season. The decision appears to have been made by Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst, who said the program is looking to move in a “new …
“He asked me if I had seen the e-mail and so I read it and … yeah, I did not see that coming,” Darlington said of the news that Nebraska had fired coach Bo Pelini after a 9-3 season that most Cornhuskers players saw as a positive looking toward the …
Nebraska football players were informed of coach Bo Pelini’s firing via an email from athletic director Shawn Eichorst on Sunday morning. Defensive lineman Jack Gangwish shared a portion of the email on Twitter, and he and other players voiced …
Some foods I cook from scratch, other have a little bit of help, and I deviate from the script. My favorite turkey stuffing recipe varies every year, depending on what I have in my refrigerator and cupboards. But regardless, it always comes out delicious and there is never enough for left over “turkey plates.”
Start with Stove top Stuffing as a base
Start with Stove Top Turkey Stuffing Mix
Yes, it’s cheating in a way, but I’m brand loyal and Stove Top stuffing has amazing flavor, the seasonings are already mixed in so I don’t have to guess. But I don’t stop there, I chop 3-4 of the following added ingredients and add them to the pot.
Just follow the ingredients on the box.
Add water and butter to a large saucepan, bring to a boil.
Turn off burner
Add breadcrumbs from box
Remove from heat
Add 1-2 cups “EXTRA” ingredients and quickly mix with fork
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes
I normally add about a 1/4 cup of each ingredient to my turkey stuffing, notice I said ABOUT, I don’t measure I just chop until it looks good. If you don’t like apples, leave them out, but it does give a nice sweet flavor to the stuffing. They cook down soft, so most people don’t even notice.
Homemade stuffing with a twist
I bake my turkey with the stuffing inside, the turkey drippings add an amazing flavor which unmatched by just stove top cooking. Use a large serving spoon and pack the stuffing inside the main body cavity and under the neck flab, just lift and tuck, lift and tuck. (Sounds like an exercise doesn’t it)
Lift the bird and spoon the stuffing way down inside the body cavity. Pack it full. If the stuffing is sticking out the back end of the turkey, that’s ok. It will get nice and crispy and is perfect for snacking on when you take the turkey out of the oven.
Click to Order a Stuffing cookbook
After all of your stuffing has disappeared into the turkey, then proceed to season the outside, slip some butter under the skin and cover with bacon. If you’re into that type of thing.
I should fix more stuffing throughout the year. Turkey stuffing isn’t just for Thanksgiving and there are a lot of recipes to use with chicken and pork chops. Maybe I’ll venture beyond just stuffing at Thanksgiving.
Given the time I love to cook, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to break out traditional recipes like my Bacon Basted Turkey. I roasted my turkey with bacon way before bacon was cool. I watched my Dad obsess over his turkey when I was little and this started a family tradition. You can have your fried turkeys, slow cooker turkeys and your precooked turkeys. I like my Thanksgiving turkey oven roasted and the whole process becomes an event. I’ve even baked my Thanksgiving bird in a roasting bag a few times just to try it, but it’s not near as good. You have to know that my Dad didn’t really cook much, but Thanksgiving was his holiday and he loved fixing and carving the turkey. I only bought a Butterball prebasted turkey once, and that was enough, it wasn’t near as moist. The secret to a juicy turkey is lots of juice, basting frequently, and not letting the bird sit in the oven and get dried out. Eat it less than an hour after it comes out of the oven.
Place frozen pats of butter under the skin
Roasted Turkey Recipe
1 lb bacon
1 lb frozen butter (1-2 sticks under skin, 1-2 sticks for stuffing)
Lay Strips of Bacon on buttered and stuffed turkey
Turkey Roasting Instructions
Preset oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Rinse and remove the packaged giblets from inside the bird (neck & leg opening)
Place turkey in large roasting pan
Slide frozen pats of butter under the skin as far as you can reach on both sides (an inch apart)
Spoon stuffing into body cavity and under the neck flap (pack it in)
Season turkey with sage, poultry seasoning, and seasoning salt
Cover turkey with strips of uncooked bacon
Cover roasting pan with lid, or tinfoil
Place in oven and bake for 20 per pound of turkey
Serve and eat!
Basting is very important to getting a juicy and moist turkey. When the turkey is about halfway done, or as liquid starts to accumulate at the bottom of the roaster start basting. The bacon fat and butter will melt, soak into the turkey and collect at the bottom of the pan. What a waste. Pull back the tin foil, and use a large turkey baster to suck up the juice and squirt it on top of the turkey. Yeah, just suck up all the yummy buttery bacony (is that a word) goodness and pour it over the skin of the turkey, making sure to cover the breast, legs and even the wings. BASTE EVERY 30 MINUTES This is important. Set the timer. You have to babysit the bird. This is when my Mom would start saying “The turkey is never going to cook if you keep opening the oven door!” Well, the turkey cooks. You might have to add another 20 minutes to the time, but when the turkey is a nice brown, golden color and the bacon crisp and crunchy it’s done. If you really want to know when your turkey is done you can use a cooking thermometer and when it reaches 160F it’s done. My Mom’s way of telling is to “shake the leg”, if it shakes back it’s done, or if it falls off, it’s done. When the legs start to sag away from the bird it’s also done. Doesn’t it look delicious!! There is nothing better than a bacon basted turkey at Thanksgiving. Remember the cook gets to pick at the bacon and turkey before it’s served. Many turkeys have pop up thermometers and you can use them as a guideline to when your turkey is done, but if it looks like the photo above, it’s done. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. The meat will continue to cook and you when your biscuits or crescent rolls are done it’s time to eat. At my house we don’t eat at a certain time, we eat “around 1:00 pm” or whenever the bird is done. After opening the door several times for baking the aroma starts to draw people to the kitchen and dining room. You can then assign volunteers to set the table, place the mashed potatoes in bowls, and pour the drinks. Enjoy your Bacon Basted Turkey and if you have any Thanksgiving traditions I would love to hear them!
I sit at my computer on the night of my youngest son’s Marine Corps Ball and reflect on the journey I’ve taken as a Marine Mom and want to say “Thank You.”
For four years I have been a Mother of two Marines and the first letter I wrote to the Marine Corps was more of a request, two years later I have a different sentiment. Since then I have watched my sons grow into responsible, mature young men. The Marines have played a large part in developing the men they will be the rest of their life and I’m very proud of them both.
This year I was blessed to spend more quality, undivided, one on one time with my sons than I have in their entire lives. No competition with other siblings, no competing with friends, or capturing an hour here or there during their short military leaves.
I was able to spend not hours, not one day, but several days in a row, getting to know my sons on an adult level, with an opportunity to stand back and observe, take them in and realize how much they have grown, how much I love them, and how proud I am of the men they have become.
I want to take this opportunity, on the Marine Corps birthday to thank you from the bottom of this Marine Mom’s heart. A few years ago I loaned you my sons and I have to say you have treated them well and I am grateful.
Thank you for giving them clear expectations, with a clear set of guidelines and rewards when a job is well done. Thank you for teaching them to be aware of their surroundings, how to defend themselves, how to protect the weak, and to stand firm against injustice. Not only against our enemy abroad, but in every day situations in life.
Being in the Marine Corps has also taught my sons patience, tolerance, and the ability to adapt to changing situations. Dealing with ever changing leave orders and plane reservations does carry forth to civilian life when apartment plans, GI Bill delays, and schooling don’t go as planned. For this increased patience, thank you.
I have seen first hand the pride they take in being a part of a brotherhood, and watched my sons interact with fellow Marines not only with professionalism but respect. It’s the everyday things that happen on a Marine base, such as colors and the national anthem, while at the time may not mean a thing, which will give them an anchor and pride in Corps and country in the future. It’s the casual greeting of Semper Fi to a fellow Marine which serves to remind each of them of the lifelong brotherhood they share and will remain Always Faithful.
Thanks to the Marine Corps, my sons have had the opportunity to become leaders, volunteer in their communities, take advantage of continued education during active duty, and become part of a long tradition of men and women who have given a part of themselves to their country by serving in the military.
This year I consider myself blessed to be a Marine Mom and I thank Marine Corps for a few of those blessing.
A Mother of Two Marines
The actual US Flag flown at Iwo Jima displayed at the National Marine Corps Museum
If you are a Marine Mom or a parent of a Marine what changes have you seen in your son or daughter? I’d love to hear your insight on their experience.