Faith at "Walk with me by Faith" hosts this carnival each year and I love it. It gives me the opportunity to 'send' you a Christmas card through my blog and wish you the most blessed, and beautiful Christmas.
I love what my friend put on her Christmas card. It reads, "May Christ's love be at the top of your list." And that is my hope for each one of you.
If it wasn't for Jesus, there would be no Christmas.
Joyce over at "From This Side of the Pond" hosts this weekly meme of Wednesday Hodgepodge. She puts the questions out there some time on Tuesday so that we can link up on Wednesday. Hop on board and join her. If you've never checked out her blog, you are missing out!
1. What does it mean to have the 'holiday spirit'? For me it's the whole package ... The Christmas tree is up with Christmas decorations throughout the house. I'm in the middle of shopping, I'm working on getting my Christmas cards out, going to cookie exchanges, the Christmas music is playing in the background and I am generally in a really good mood anticipating all that Christmas is. And in the midst of the busyness I am remembering that it's all about Jesus.
2. What sits atop your tree (s)? Why?
A sweet, little, white angel that my hubby and I purchased before we were married in anticipation of all the Christmases she would adorn our tree. She has a plain face, no eyes, nose, or mouth. She is made with white paper that has been curled at the ends and has a cute little head of brown hair with a bow made for wings. She brings us back to our very first Christmas together as a newly engaged couple. We both LOVE Christmas and the promise and hope that it brings.
3. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
I think in the past few days. I am working at starting my own chiropractic practice here at our new home and God has been bringing people my way that are interested in coming to see me. I haven't really been talking about it and they are inquiring. That makes me feel good.
4. Which of your senses is most sensitive this time of year?
I love all of the smells of Christmas. The smell of pine is amazing and cooking with lots of cinnamon makes me happy. I love mulled cider because of the cinnamon and cloves that go in it that fill the air of our home with its aroma.
5. What do you have too much of in your kitchen?
Sugar! and ceramics. I have a sweet tooth and pottery makes me go weak in the knees.
I think my house is getting cluttered with pottery!
See? I told ya.
6. What do you do for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Big meal? Breakfast tradition? Open the cookie tins and have at it?
Christmas happens to be the birthdate of our twins, Grant and Cooper. They'll be turning 9 in 9 days! We usually make whatever it is they request for breakfast and dinner. After about half the day, we switch gears to Christmas Eve and go to church. We take the kids for a drive to see all of the Christmas lights and decorations people have put up. When we get home, we open up one present which is new pajamas. If there's time, we'll watch a Christmas movie.
On Christmas morning, I make a ham and cheese strada for breakfast. We sing happy birthday to Jesus and have a cinnamon roll.
7. What is the best thing about winter? Putting on cozy pajamas, slippers, and snuggling up by the fire.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
These days I'm feeling a bit better about blogging again. I'm trying to be more consistent in posting, but can do better still at reading blogs and commenting.
Cherry Chocolate Shortbread Cookies: Prep Time: 20 minutes ~~ Bake Time: 20 - 30 min ~~ Yield: 3 1/2 Dozen Cookies 1 cup butter, softened (no substitute) 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 tsp. almond extract (I used orange extract) 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup cornstarch 1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries 1/4 cup chocolate chip morsels 1 T. sugar
Drizzle: 1/4 cup chocolate chip morsels 1 tsp shortening
Mix butter, sugar and almond extract thoroughly using an electric mixer. Gradually blend in flour and corn starch. Add cherries and chocolate..
Form into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Pour sugar on a small plate; dip bottom of drinking glass in sugar and gently press down on each cookie to flatten. (You have to use the sugar or it will stick).
Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown.
Cool 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cook completely.
Drizzle: Place 1/4 cup morsels and shortening in a small resealable freezer bag. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Snip off tiny piece of corner and drizzle over cookies.
We had this photo taken on Thanksgiving day. Jill and Sarah collaborated their efforts (one held the umbrella and the other one shot!) and got this for our Christmas card.
It's in front of our new home. I realized just the other day that I have not, in fact, posted many pictures of it on my blog. So.... when I have the time, and that's few and far between lately, I shall post pictures of the Busse Homestead. Sound good?
Today I am baking cookies for a cookie exchange that I was invited to. Because there will be 21 other ladies there, I have to bake 88 cookies plus 8 more to put out on a plate for sampling. My cookie choice is:
Cherry Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
I'm not a HUGE fan of shortbread, but these are yummy!
If you'd like the recipe, I'll post it with a photo of the cookie tomorrow.
On Saturday night we'll go to our church's Saturday night service where we serve in the ministry for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. It's called Next Level and is the "Sunday School" for those grade levels. We are really enjoying working with the kids. There was a time when Shawn and I lead A.W.A.N.A for 5 years, and now the Lord has us in Next Level. I think you move to different ministries as your kids grow. That's the case for us anyway. And the beauty of not leading A.W.A.N.A. anymore is that we now go on a date while our younger 3 are there and the older 2 are serving as leaders in training. God's provision is perfect!
Grant and Cooper, our 8 year old Christmas Eve twins, have a birthday to celebrate soon. Because their birthday falls on that date, we usually plan their birthday party on a different day. So this Sunday they'll get to have 7 of their friends over for a few hours in celebration of them turning 9. They are so excited! It looks like we might have snow and the hubs will be entertaining 9 young gentlemen perhaps on the quad around our property. Grant has requested a coconut cake for his birthday and Cooper would like white cake with white frosting. And, yes, I do make 2 cakes because they are individuals after all.
1. What is the most interesting thing you've done in the last year?
Oh let's see. I moved from England back to Michigan in March. That is a tremendous feat and I feel, in some ways, that I am still reeling from the move. I think that coupled with the ginormous move, putting our firstborn into high school after homeschooling him for 7 years was HUGE. So, I guess between those two things it was a pretty big year.
2. What is your most meaningful family heirloom?
I don't really have any heirlooms. My mom was not one to hold onto things. I guess one of things that I cherish that I will hold on to and pass down is one of the last dollars that my father made while driving a taxi in N.J. It's in my wallet tucked away and each time I take a peek at it, it reminds me of the hard, dedicated worker he always was.
3. What food festival would you most like to attend? If you're not sure click here to see a list of possibilities. The Alba White Truffle one. That's the one that sounds the best to me. And, like Joyce, I love Italy, too.
4. Snow...do you love it or is it considered a four letter word where you live? I love the look of snow, the joy that it brings to my kids, and the fun I can have in it, BUT I don't enjoy driving in it! That pretty much sums it up.
5. Can you ski? Do you ski? Are you any good? Me no like to ski. I'm a big chicken.
6. What quality in your spouse or best friend are you most thankful for? His dependability. He has been there for me since day one for anything and everything. I adore him.
7. Describe the coziest spot in your home. The coziest place in our home is the living room. I like cuddling there to watch a good t.v. show or a movie together as a family.
8. Insert your own random thought here. Life is so busy these days. It seems that when I lived in England I found the time and inspiration to blog. Since I moved back, I just don't have it in me to write a post on any regular basis and it bums me out. I miss those of you that I use to visit all the time. When I finally get around to putting a post up it gives me joy and puts a smile on my face. That's my random thought for today.
My girlfriends and I like to celebrate each other's birthdays.
We usually go out to dinner and then lavish the birthday girl with gifts.
The coined term for our gifts to each other are called
An Auntie Bag consists of all kinds of goodies. The goodies can range from fun socks, to a photo frame with a special friend photo, to a sweater, or a favorite treat. I usually try to include all of those things or a variety of other things.
Sarah introduced us to the Auntie Bag. Her aunts, on her mom's side, always gave them a plethora of gifts inside of one bag and it was fun to see the combination they came up with.
When Sarah first told me of this tradition, we quickly adopted it. I think one of my love languages is gifts: both giving and receiving. :-)
Lizzy is the birthday girl this time and we were all headed to Red Robin for a nice, juicy burger. On your birthday, they give you a free burger of your choice. On that particular night we had 2 extra coupons for $3.00 off and our waitress ended up giving us 3 free burgers. We kept trying to make her understand that we were only celebrating one birthday, but she insisted on the 3. So we enjoyed the blessing she gave us.
Isn't Liz's headpiece cute? It happens to be a little gift that I received for my birthday. I thought it only fair that our new tradition would be to re-gift it to the next birthday girl who will then have to wear it in public for at least 5 minutes.
I think Liz Longstocking wears it well, don't you?
Mike really wanted to be a part of his wife's birthday celebration, so now the husbands come along and we like that just fine!
My man is quite the looker!
When we got home, we enjoyed Emma Lynn with her ever-joyful presence.
All of the kids can't get enough of holding her and making her giggle.
Here's our group minus the hubby's.
We had fun playing on the Wii and then had cake.
We recently celebrated Sydney's birthday. That's coming up in a future post.
My "Giving Thanks" entry for today is blogging. I am extremely thankful for my blog, the people I've met through it, and for how it allows me to journal about our family and the adventures God has provided for us.
Through blogging, I've met other Christian women, I've learned decorating techniques, I've been encouraged to menu plan, to organize in different ways, to craft, to be creative, to lift others up and pray for them, to share about our family, and the list goes on.
Thanks to everyone that takes the time to read my blog, even if only occasionally. I love to hear from you and thank you for being an encouragement to me!
Leah at South Breeze Farm has reminded us to give thanks this month. Quite honestly, we need to have a thankful heart everyday no matter what comes our way. God tells us to, and I am up for that challenge.
So here's my list...
7.) Fun Things To Do
I'm thankful that we have this quad that the kids get so much enjoyment out of. The kids wear their helmets and drive all around our property. They love having their friends go for a ride with them. Braaten is taking my friend, Kristi, and her son, Tyrus, for a ride in this photo.
8.) Watching Melanie play soccer for the first time.
She is in the bottom row, far left.
Honestly, it's good to be done with the season, but we had a lot of fun cheering her team on.
9.) Volleyball :-)
Both Braaten and Melanie played volleyball for our home school co-op team.
Our entire family enjoyed watching them play. It was their first time playing and they improved so much from the beginning of the season.
Austin even got to be a line judge.
10.) Emma Lynn
Baby Emma is as precious as a baby comes.
I'm not sure I have ever met a more content, joy-filled baby than her.
She is 5 months old and my girls and the twins are in love with her.
When she hasn't been around for a few days, they ask for her and want her to come over.
I want to just squeeze her and love her up.
And today I did just that!
Her mama and a few other friends came over for coffee and scones.
Tonight we celebrated my girlfriend, Liz's, birthday. Six of us went out to eat while the kids were at home under the care of the oldest child of the group, Sydney, who is 19.
The kids had homemade pizza and snacks and we ate big ol' burgers from Red Robin. After dinner we came back here to enjoy a homemade birthday cake and some decaf. We got our game on and played the Wii and listened to some familiar tunes from the 80's. And what a great time we had.
Friendship is a gift. God is so gracious to provide people to stand alongside you, that share your faith if they are believers, and just do life together. We had our husbands celebrate with us which was wonderful. We usually do the girlfriend thing, but Liz's husband, Mike, wanted to be a part of things. We decided collectively that our husbands should be a part of these celebrations from now on. They are great friends, too, so it just makes sense.
I could say loads more about what my friends mean to me, and in another post, I probably will, but I think this sums it up well.
Today I am thankful for my husband's job. He works for a certain, very famous cereal making company here in Battle Creek. Hmm... for fun tell me your favorite cereal that they make in your comment. :) He is very dependable, extremely intelligent, and great at what he does. The skill set God has given him allows me to stay at home full time with our children and I love it!
Thanks, Honey, for all you do.
Have a blessed Friday! BTW, my favorite is... Crispix :) I love Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes, too.
Leah over at South Breeze Farm is hosting this terrific meme. She is encouraging us to talk about what we are thankful for each day in November.
Thanks, Leah, for inspiring me to come along on this journey.
Sometimes it's easy for me to feel overwhelmed, complain, or simply not take the time to remember all the goodness God gives me each and every day. I don't like that about myself. I'm pretty sure it ties into me being an impatient person. The title of my blog is "Joy in the Journey" and I, most certainly, am not always joyful. Ask my husband and children.
So now that I have aired one of the things I struggle with, it's high time I share what I am truly thankful for. What I write is not in any particular order, though it goes without saying for me that I am most thankful for my God, my precious husband, and my 5 children. Everything else is icing on the cake.
And since I am a few days behind, I'll put 4 things down and then keep up each day. I will also post it on my sidebar. :)
November 1st - I am thankful for our home. For many years we longed for a property that has acreage. We are living on 7 acres now, compared to 2/3 of an acre before our move to England. Our previous home was spacious, and fun, and a place we really enjoyed, but we have room to do all kinds of things now that we didn't before. We have a swimming pool, 9 chickens that give us fresh eggs daily, and a place to run around and play. I guess there was a whole bunch of thankful stuff mentioned in this 1st entry.
November 2nd - I love my husband more everyday. He is an amazing provider and he loves the Lord and wants to honor Him in all he does. Just the other day we had to get everything that was on the floor of the kitchen out to have the wood floors refinished for the 2nd time in 6 months. (That's a whole 'nother story.) And on this particular day, I had a homeschool co-op that the kids and I are involved in from 8:45 until 3. After that we headed home, I made dinner, and then had to go to the chiropractor. Yes, chiropractors go to other chiropractors to stay healthy. :-) After the chiropractor, which took awhile because it was my 2nd visit in which I saw my x-rays, I had to go and vote. I was running out of time because the polls close at 8 and my appointment was done around 7:15. I did not want to miss casting my vote and I made it!
So after this long day, we had to clear the floor, not only of the kitchen, but the entryway, laundry room, and a powder room since all of these spaces are attached. Well, my dear husband cleared almost all of it while I brought kitchen stuff down to our basement. We are temporarily living down here (probably for the next week.) His work ethic is incredible and he knew what a long day I had had, not that he didn't, and wanted to make life easier for me.
Notice I am writing way too much because having been a horrible blogger in the past few months, there is tons I want to share with you.
November 3rd - My morning coffee. Seriously, I love waking up knowing that I will have my Biggby's coffee as soon as I can get it brewed.
November 4th - My children. I get to stay at home with the 4 youngers and homeschool. Our oldest, Austin, is at the local high school after being homeschooled for the past 7 years. He is doing fantastically, praise the Lord, and we are blessed that it is working out so well. And being home with Braaten, Melanie, Grant, and Cooper is what I love to do. Is it difficult at times? Yes. Would I change it? Not for all the world!
So that, my friends, is what I'm thankful for. How about you? Why don't you join Leah and write all about it.
When I was hosting the 2 parties at our house a couple of weeks ago, I had the table all set with a fresh, clean tablecloth. And since we couldn't eat at the kitchen table, we had a pizza picnic in the living room.
The kids love it when we do things like this. It was easy clean-up and a memory that was made.
And Melanie and the twins had just picked fresh wild flowers outside to help set our "table".
And you know how sometimes you don't do something because it's much bigger in your head than what the reality actually is? I hate it when I do that. Like when my shoes are all caddywompous in my closet and I just won't organize them because it seems like it will take an hour, but it really only takes 6 minutes? Or that pile of recipes that you desperately want to organize in a 3 ring binder with tabs to separate main dishes, desserts, appetizers, breads, breakfast casseroles, etc.? I have to do that job soon.
Well that's me with making homemade bread.
Until yesterday, that is.
Perhaps the only down-side is the waiting.
and waiting a little more for the dough to rise.
And since I didn't have any raisins on hand, I used toasted pecans like some of the other people that made the recipe and left a review did.
Lots of people mentioned giving a loaf as a gift, and I think I might just do that for Christmas. Only I probably will make mini loaves.
So what do you think? Is it something you will try?
Do you make homemade bread? If you do, I'd love to try a recipe that you absolutely love.
We had to clear our Saturday schedule on Friday. Why you ask?
Because that's when we found out about my husband's 20th high school reunion that would be taking place the very next day. There was a bit of a mix-up with where to send our correspondence since we only moved back from England this past March.
Someone did not get that memo.
Didn't everyone know that we were coming back since it was one of the hugest deals in our lives?
I blogged, faceboo*ed about it, e-mailed the world, called people, skyped, and even snail-mailed to let people know that we were returning to our beloved land.
No worries, though. We asked our friend, Sarah, to cover for us in the ministry we are starting to work in at church called, Next Level. It's for middle schoolers and it's basically their Sunday school, only it's on Saturday nights during our 1st service.
Boy do I digress.
I'm trying to get to the big news...
But wait, there was one more thing we had to change/miss/reschedule.
We also had to have our girls miss a sleepover for a dear friend. She was turning 12 on 10/10/10. I felt really badly about that, but just the mere mention of Grandma and Grandpa makes all things better. The girls were screechin' and squealin' about how they get to see their wonderful grandparents AND see their cousins.
And so here's the news...
I got to see Pam from "You're Gonna Miss This" again and I love catching up with her. She is a precious woman of God. She has six kids: James, Zach, Leah, Lucas, Jadon, and Kiahna that keep her very busy, on her toes, and on her knees. :-) They are a blessing and she is a beautiful mom.
And I finally met Julie from, "Life with the Lehman's", for the first time. She and I have been hoping to meet much sooner, but God's timing is perfect, and Saturday night was the night. She is full of joy, kindness, and her smile lights up a room. She happens to be a blogger that I won a prize from last February. And because of my crazy schedule, I wasn't able to get my prize in person until this past weekend.
The reunion was the perfect place to collect my winnings. :-)
Miss Julie is a talented seamstress who made each of these beautiful things. One is a tissue holder, a checkbook holder, and the other is a small make-up case.
You should have seen me practically jumping up and down when I saw them. I'm not kidding.
I know it's embarrassing, but I really did do that and I quite possibly squealed with delight, too!
I guess I should mention that these ladies happen to be classmates of my hubs, and Pam is the one that inspired me to blog. Julie eventually found me through Pam after finding out that I married one of her classmates.
Ya following me?
We had the best time and I have to say that Shawn comes from a great class. Everyone welcomed me and I feel at home when I'm around them.
And even though that rock music was blaring, we danced in spite of it, and had a good old time.
I’m so glad you stopped by. My name is Carol. I am a Jesus-adoring, husband-loving, blessed mama of 5, back-adjusting, scrapbooking, quilt-making, furniture painting, friend appreciating, blog writing, recipe making, dessert lovin’, Jersey born, Michigan-living kind of girl. I love going to church and serving alongside some of the best people I know. Traveling is one of my passions and I hope to do it more.
I started “Joy in the Journey” about 9 years ago when I lived in England. We moved back in 2010 and life has changed in a few ways; well, it got busier.
Join me as I share about life in our home, what it means to have 2 kids at Michigan State University and 3 in high school. We stay busy with the high schoolers in 3 different sports. Austin is a junior, Braaten is a freshman, Melanie is a junior in high school, and Grant and Cooper are freshman.