Saturday, November 28, 2009

Show Us Your Life ~ Christmas Traditions


We love Christmas time. Not because of the busyness of the season and the buying of presents, but because of the celebration of the birth of our Savior! If there is one "tradition" that I want our girls to remember when they get older it is that they truly understand that this season is really about rejoicing that God made a way for us to be with Him forever! I really don't think that there is anything wrong with decorating and buying presents, but if we don't understand WHY we are doing those things then why do them?

I'll admit that I have gotten caught up in all of the hulabaloo of the crazyness that is buying the perfect toy and making sure the girls have exactly 10 presents apiece to open, but that is so not what it is about. It is really about celebrating the fact that a little over 2000 years ago God took on human flesh and came into this world as a baby to give us a way for salvation!
We usually put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.

For our Christmas we usually go to my Dad's on Christmas Eve and Brian's mom (Nana) usually has something on either day at her house.

Her house is so pretty decorated for Christmas!

Christmas morning we wake up and open presents and then head to Brian's dad's store where he always cooks a big Christmas breakfast.

Last year Anna drew Poppy a picture with apples for him to hang in his store!

We get a Honey Baked ham to eat on Christmas Day and then I fix a simple meal to go along with it. I usually fix tins full of different candy's to give to our family when we have our get togethers. These are the candies that I fix:

*Peanut Butter Fudge
*Chocolate Fudge
*Puppy Chow (Rice Chex mix with melted choc & PB tossed in powdered sugar!)
*Chocolate Covered PB&Crackers
*Chocolate Covered Pretzels
*Chocolate & PB Buckeyes

I didn't get pics of the candy last year, but here is one of the cheese balls that we love to eat every year. We love snacky type foods that we can just munch on for a few days!

We love this dip/cheese ball! It has three simple ingredients and it is so yummy! You can add different sauces if you want, but it is just as delish with just this:

Cream Cheese
Green Onions

How much you need is according to how much you want to make! Usually you can use just 2 blocks of cream cheese, but I wanted to make a larger portion this time so I used 3.

Finely chop the ham & the green onions and add it to the softened cream cheese.

You can either eat it right out of the bowl or form it into a ball and roll it in some crushed nuts. Then serve with your favorite crackers!

We hope you have a truly Blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We want to wish you a very
Blessed Thanksgiving!

We are grateful to God for the many blessings that He has given us!

The Tradition of Thanksgiving
(Article from

The tradition of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and thank Him for His blessings dates back almost four centuries in America. Colonists held Thanksgiving services in Texas in 1541, in Florida in 1565, and in Virginia in 1607 and 1619, but it is from the Pilgrims that we derive the current tradition of a Thanksgiving that includes prayers to God, a meal with friends, and a time of athletic competition.

The Pilgrims arrived in America in December 1620 and experienced a harsh winter of extreme hunger and starvation in which half of them died. The following summer, the Pilgrims reaped a bountiful harvest. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow (who later became their governor) affirmed, "God be praised, we had a good increase of corn. . . . [and] by the goodness of God, we are far from want."

The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their friends. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days of food (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), of athletic games (the young Pilgrim and Wampanoag men engaged in races, wrestling matches, and other athletic events), and of prayer. This celebration – America's first Thanksgiving Festival – was the origin of the holiday that Americans now celebrate each November.The first national Thanksgiving was proclaimed in 1789 by President George Washington, but after Washington, national Thanksgiving proclamations were sporadic; most official Thanksgiving observances occurred at the state level. In fact, by 1815, state governments had issued no less than 1,400 official prayer proclamations, almost half of which were for days of thanksgiving and prayer.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey's Lady's Book (a popular lady's books containing poetry, art work, and articles by America's leading authors) began to lobby for a national Day of Thanksgiving. For nearly three decades, she contacted president after president until Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of that November.

Over the next seventy-five years, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln's precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day, but the date of the celebrations varied widely from proclamation to proclamation. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November and maintained that date year by year throughout his presidency. In 1941, Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday in November as the national Thanksgiving holiday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cumberland Falls

A few weeks ago we took a drive down to the Cumberland Falls. The fall leaves were at their peak color and the drive down was absolutely gorgeous! Here are some pictures from our day!

This leaf was stuck on my window before we pulled out of the driveway.

The edge of Lake Linville from the interstate.

Anna at the overlook.

Ahhh....the falls! This is one of our favorite state parks. You can see why!

Down from the falls there are these huge rocks. This picture does not do them justice.

Another view.

Anna and Daddy

This was up on the other end of the Cumberland River before the falls.
The water here is just so calm and peaceful.

John 4:13-14
"Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

White Hall State Historic Site

This summer we went to White Hall, home of Cassius Clay!
His father, General Green Clay owned most of the land in Madison County and some surrounding counties at the turn of the 19th century.

They are almost constantly doing renovations on the house.
Heading to the house for our tour to begin.

A really old tree that they are trying to preserve.

We were not allowed to take any photos inside the house :( It is very beautiful inside with so much history and a lot of original pieces owned by Mr. Clay and his family.

That is the chicken house on the other side of this cooking site :)
(Click to enlarge)

Ice House

Back view of the house.

Side view with the sun porch beside the Rose Garden.

Rose Garden

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