Saturday, December 18


Just a quick note/update for those who read this:  I doubt that I will be on here much between now and New Year's weekend.  There will be so much going on!  But I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I'll pick up where I left off in a week or two.  Thanks to everyone who enjoys reading my silly, probably-oftentimes-irrelevant ramblings.  It's nice to know you care enough to want to know what I'm up to!  Have a great holiday!

P.S.  I've added the seven layer bar recipe and a bread recipe to the Recipes page.

Thursday, December 16

Christmas Events

Lights Before Christmas
We took our annual trip to Toledo last Friday to the Toledo Zoo's "Lights Before Christmas" display.  It's always a neat trip.  The animals are all in bed by the time the zoo opens at night, but walking through a zoo completely covered in all sorts of Christmas lights is so fun that you don't notice that the animals are not on display.  There were a few animals out (we saw a polar bear--gasp--you mean they didn't all die from global warming??), and the reptile house and aquarium were open to view the animals there too, but that was it.  It was okay though.  The zoo was quite busy, due to it being a Friday night, but it didn't take away from the awesome light displays.  Last year when we went, we saw these dripping icicle lights (for a YouTube video of what I mean, click here) and they looked so neat!  When we were able to locate them at a store, it was no wonder why we'd never seen them around before--besides being new, they were extremely expensive.  We first found them at Bronner's, a Christmas store located in the tourist town of Frankenmuth, MI, and they wanted around $140 for a string of 5, and add-on strings were about $120.  Needless to say, they won't be hanging from our eaves anytime soon!  Oddly enough, our downtown sidewalk trees are decorated with them this year...even though the city couldn't afford to have the leaf pick-up program again this year.  Ah, politics.

Christmas Program
Well, the McKinnis house had our annual Christmas program again this year.  It was a good time, and it is always a special treat to see the house lit entirely by candlelight.  There is a coziness about it that cannot be described, but has to be experienced.  We had live dulcimer music, baked goodies, Christmas carols, and a little Christmas tree, cut from the surrounding wilderness.  It was a great time, and everyone who volunteered had fun.  Please come out to see one of our programs if you are ever in the northwest Ohio area!

Christmas Party
The day after our Christmas program, we had our second annual McKinnis volunteer Christmas party.  Yes, it was a busy weekend, because all three of these events took place last Friday-Sunday!  It was held at the McKinnis house this year, and probably for the years to come.  We had fires going in the fireplace and woodstove, and it was quite cozy again, as a winter storm was dropping snow outside.  We had a gift exchange and carry-in lunch, with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, lasagna, ham, cranberry relish, fruits, and a full table of desserts.  Yum!  The gift exchange, which was a white elephant exchange, had all sorts of neat gifts.  I left with a gift basket of homemade goodies--caramels, applesauce, and cranberry-orange bread.  Very festive!  It was a good time, and I look forward to starting the new year of programs in early March. 

With Christmas always come New Year's Eve/Day.  I always wonder what the new year will bring--will it be good, bad, sad, exciting?  These past few years have been trying, but I feel confident in saying that it will be better this year!  But really, it all comes down to our perspective and the faith we have in our God.  We don't know what the new year, or future will hold, but God does.  Jeremiah 29:11 urges us to trust in God regarding our futures: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  No matter what happens, we should count it all  joy, because the Lord is in control of every situation.  What a comfort that will always be to me!

Thursday, December 9

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Holiday Baking
I've begun my holiday baking again for this year.  (Look out, Mom, I'm bringing some with me!)  So far, I've made chocolate no-bakes, chocolate fudge, 7 layer bars (hubby loved these--I'll post the recipe soon), and a tweaked chocolate cookie to which I added peppermint extract and subbed M&Ms for the prescribed chocolate chips.  Not a bad experiment!  I still plan to make chocolate-covered pretzels and peanut blossoms, then give them all away.  I remember when I was young, my mother would spend days baking all sorts of delicious Christmas cookies, because she and the other neighborhood women would all exchange cookies.  No one seems to do that anymore.  Everyone is diet-crazed and acts like Christmas cookies are a disease on a plate.  It makes me sad, because it was such a neat tradition, and an excuse to get together and visit with others around the holidays.  Wow, seems like those days are looong gone.  I think I'm getting more nostalgic as time goes by.  Does this mean I'm an old woman already in an early 30s body??

Beautiful Snow

It seems as though winter has finally arrived here in Ohio.  As I type, snow is falling softly and silently outside of our office window.  It's beautiful, and so peaceful.  We have had small amounts and dustings of snow all week.  I feel like I live inside of a snow globe!  There is something about the purity and silence of the snow that is so attractive.  A snow-covered farm landscape or cozy home seems like the perfect setting to me...the snow covers the dead brown grass and bare trees with a striking contrast of dark and light and seems to make everything clean.  How I long to live in the middle of the woods, in the middle of winter!  There would be nothing more peaceful and perfect as being curled up in front of a blazing fireplace with a quilt and my husband and watching the snow fall outside.  To me, that would be heaven!


Can you believe that Christmas is two weeks from Saturday??  Where has the time gone?  I love this season, but it seems to go by so fast anymore.  We are done with our shopping for this year, except for one more gift to purchase.  It's nice to have that done, because now I can sit back and relax.  I am not one for crowds anyway, so I try to get Christmas shopping out of the way early so that I'm not fighting crowds at the stores.  This year I finished later than usual.  I did a decent amount of shopping online too, which is something I don't do very often.  I just found some really good ideas/prices online this year.  Now we are free to enjoy the holidays, which includes a few Christmas parties coming up.  Should be a fun time, especially with the snow that is being forecast for this weekend!

This time of year is the best time, in my opinion.  However, it's easy to lose sight of the real reason that we celebrate this time of year.  When we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we celebrate the real gift that God gave the world, and the ability to spend eternity with Him if we choose to do so.  So when the snow falls, and the presents are opened, I hope that everyone remembers the Gift that was given to wash away all of our sins and make us pure and worthy of a relationship with God: "...though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)  Praise the Lord for the incredible gift He has given!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas season, and that you carry it in your heart all year long!