The Charming Tyrants

The Charming Tyrants

Good Words

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way. - Anon

Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Re-Cap

I thought that I would do a Christmas re-cap before this year was over and as you can see I'm barely going to make it.  So here goes.  Warning, it's going to be heavy on pictures, 'cuz that's what the people want . . . well okay it's what I want.

HT excited to see what's in his stocking.

EM concerned about what might be in his stocking.
The boys really had fun opening presents and it was fun watching them.  Well I should say HT had fun opening presents, EM was decidedly more into checking out the box full of bows or seeing what had already been opened.  I have added a few captions to the pictures, that I'm sure if EM could use words instead of baby talk he would have been saying.

EM "unwrapping" the bows.

"No really Mama, these are much more interesting than presents."

"Wow, look what HT got, can I play with it, rather than open my present."

"Say, there's a button here to push, wonder how long it will take to
drive everybody nuts."

"Aren't you done yet, I wanna go for a ride!"
 EM can say a few words, like "car" and "go" and "uh-oh".

"Look this is where it goes."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peace on Earth

As the moon shines bright
on this dark cold night
we once again celebrate the coming of a king
a babe in a manger, 
yet the world sleeps in silence
while God works in miracles
and all of heaven sings!
Peace on Earth!

As a new day dawns
the sun fills the sky
bright beams of light break across the earths crust
awakening our hopes and dreams
of the salvation this day brings
while God works in miracles
and all of heaven sings!
Peace on Earth!

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill
toward men!"
Luke 2:14

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy HO HO Hodgepodge

I had so much fun playing along a few weeks back I thought I would join in the fun again.

1.  Share your Christmas Eve tradition.

Rushing to the mall to buy that last almost overlooked gift.  Try to get everything wrapped.  Making one last grocery run for Christmas Day dinner.  Getting to church late for the children's Christmas Eve service, enjoying the chaos of the impromptu live nativity.  Going home tired and exhausted then wrangle two little munchkins into bed and finish up with the wrapping and filling stockings and falling into bed myself for a much needed hour of sleep.

What do you think, do you like the stockings?  I made them myself.
2.   What is the best book you read in 2010?

Do children's books count?  Cuz' that's about all I've read.

3.  Do you have any pets and do you allow them on the furniture?

No and no.  Sometimes I think I'd like to keep my children off the furniture, at least until they are 21 but that'll never happen.

Sitting atop the train table, "cleaning" off the window sill.
4.  What event from 2010 are you most thankful for?

That God has provided, despite being faced with yet another year of seasonal work.

5.  What did you do in 2010 that you had never done before?

Resurrected this here blog that my sister started several years ago.  Was it a good idea?  You tell me?

6.  Brussel sprouts . . . friend or foe?

Well I've never actually had one so I couldn't say.  Truth be told I have been unwilling to try one, they just look so, well, vegetable-y.  Except I thought the ones Bobby Flay made during the Throwdown challenge with the Pioneer Woman actually looked good and I thought I might like to try one.

7.  Who would you nominate for man/woman of the year?

I don't really think my opinion counts, but since you asked I would nominate a soldier, someone who's done his/her best to serve their country despite great personal sacrifice and hardships on their family and friendships and at risk of losing their life for a sometimes ungrateful country that protests their going to fight and their battle weary home coming, even if that home coming is in a pine box.  Next time you find yourself under the mistletoe, kiss a soldier and say thanks!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

If you're in need of a good laugh go here, you'll thank me for it later.  But don't forget to thank me for it, so come on back and leave me a comment.  Then hop on over to Joyce's for more Happy HO, HO, Hodgepodge-ness.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Pastor Mike's Last Minute Gift Giving Guide

Sunday was the last sunday in Advent, the last sunday before the much anticipated birth of our Savior.  A day to be filled with joy, a day to rejoice in the birth of our Savior.

Yet Christmastime can also be exhausting when faced with the seemingly endless preparations and the pressures of society's ideal of what our Christmas should look and feel like.  We struggle to keep things in perspective but often get caught up in a world view that distorts the reason for our celebrations.  We find ourselves trying to live up to impossible expectations.

Some of us struggle with depression and grief over a lost loved one, or the frustration and hurts when dealing with the disappointments that life has dealt us.

God has given us Christmas to minister to those in need, to share the gift of Christ with others, to bless another's life with that gift, with our words and deeds.  To be faithful in shining the light of Christ on a dark, hurting and broken world.

So in light of sharing Christ with others this season our Pastor gave us a few last minute gift giving ideas.

1.  "Mend a quarrel."  Really what have you got lose, a broken heart, hurt feelings, a festering soul.  I say the sooner the better.  You'll gain forgiveness, restored friendship and a heart free to love again.

2.  "Seek out a forgotten friend."  What could be better than renewing a relationship and remembering the camaraderie of days long gone.

3.  "Speak kindly to a homeless person."  You may not be able to help with their situation but you can show them some compassion for their loss.

4.  "Hug someone tightly and whisper, 'I love you so'."

5.  "Gladden the heart of a child."  Get down on their level and listen to what they have to say, be it silly or otherwise, you can make a child merry by sharing in their joy.

6.  "Take a walk with a friend."  It's amazing what a walk can do for you both.  Physically, emotionally and spiritually.

7.  "Express appreciation."  Smile and tell someone thanks, like the person who offers to take your cart back to the store and then offer up a silent prayer on their behalf.

8.  "Apologize if you were wrong."  It really is very easy to say "I'm sorry."  It's only two little words but can mean more than a thousand.

9.  "Be gentle and patient with an angry person."  In Proverbs 15:1 it says "A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."

And finally . . .

10.  "Treat someone to a cup of coffee or an ice cream cone."  What could be better than good coffee or ice cream and good conversation to spread a little good will someone's way.

And remember to share the gift of Christ, the real treasure of Christmas, the best gift of all.

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, 
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, 
let us do good to all, 
especially to those who are of the household of faith."
Galatians 6: 9-10

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jingle All the Way

Yesterday HT's preschool had their Christmas program and what kind of a mother would I be if I didn't share this little video of him "singing".

When we got there the kids hadn't yet arrived from their classrooms so we sat down in the first two available chairs on the right side of the stage. When they filed in single file HT was quick to find us in the crowd and was very excited to have me and Auntie there to cheer him on. However when his class walked all the way across the stage to the left, we got up and moved over there too, to better our view. He did not see us move and was distraught for the first half of the program, thinking we had left. When I finally caught his eye, he squealed with glee and you can see his exuberance in the video.

When I asked him who the little girl was next to him, he told me "dat's my girlfriend" and who's the little girl next to her, "oh, dat's my girlfriend too!"

Aw, my little casanova!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Warming the Tree

Do you all remember the story by Hans Christian Andersen about The Little Match Girl?  It really is a very sad tale of a poor little girl sent out into the cold on a winters day to sell matches to help with the family income.  Having sold no matches all day she is afraid to go home and spends the night on the streets where she succumbs to the cold, but not before lighting a bundle of matches in an effort to keep warm.  But really in the spark of each match and flicker of light that briefly shines, she sees the glory of heaven.

This year as in the past several years our church has decorated a Christmas tree during advent with hats, gloves, scarves and the like.  The donations are gathered up and given to the those who are less fortunate and/or are homeless.  The kids and adults alike come forward during the children's message and "decorate" the tree.  What won't fit on the tree is placed at its base.  I hope that this year no one has to die in the cold.  I pray that those with the greatest need will benefit from the gift.  That in the giving they will see the love that God has for them.  I know that the pairs of gloves we put on the tree won't save the world, but they can at least keep someone's hands warm.

And perhaps by helping others we can see a glimpse of heaven ourselves.

"And the King will answer and say to them, 
'Assuredly, I say to you, 
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, 
you did it to Me.'
Matthew 25:40

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies

Several years ago when M&M's introduced a mint M&M at Christmastime. I decided they deserved to be in a cookie, a chocolate cookie, so I took my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and fiddled with it a bit and came up with this yummy confection. I mean what goes better with chocolate than mint, right?

Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies

2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 2 TBS hot water
4 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 bags 9.9 oz mint M&M's

You can only get mint M&M's at Christmastime so I usually buy a few extra bags and throw them in the freezer, 'cuz these are good any time of the year.

1. Cream butter and sugars, then mix in eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda mix.

2. Mix in the cocoa. Then stir in the rest of the flour.

3. Keep your helpers from putting their fingers in the dough.

4. Add the mint M&M's

5. Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet or you can use an ice cream scoop. I lined my pan with parchment paper. This keeps the cookie sheet clean so all you have to do after you are done baking is throw away the paper, let the cookie sheet cool and then put it back away. (I love parchment paper.)

6. Bake at 375 degree for 9 to 11 minutes.

7. Pour yourself a tall glass of milk and enjoy the warm chocolate-y, minty goodness. But don't eat too many, remember we made these for sharing.

Wait, while I lick the chocolate off my fingers . . . now there's chocolate on the keyboard . . . dang.

I like to put them in Ziploc baggies and then wrap them up with cellophane like a giant Tootsie Roll for gift giving. You can fit about 12 to 14 cookies in a bag, depending on the height of the cookie. Thing is you can put the whole wrapped package in your freezer and when a neighbor drops by you've got something ready to give in return.


Now I think I'll go have another cookie.


Oh, but before you go make your own, hop on over to Life in Grace for The Great Christmas Cookie Freeze, for more cookie recipes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trying to Capture a Smile

Two posts in one day! I know, right!

Since I still haven't done a Christmas card yet and since my wonderful sister bought me a new digital SLR camera for my birthday/christmas, we decided to go over to Gardner Village yesterday to try and do just that . . .  get a good picture of the boys smiling and well, play with the camera a little bit. (The first two were taken at church on Sunday.)

And last but not least Dumb Mom over at Parenting by Dummies is hosting a contest called Bright Smiles, Bright Holidays with Invisalign Teen and well who couldn't use a little extra holiday cash.

How'd I do?  Yeah, getting a 4 year old and a 1 year old to cooperate at. the. same. time. isn't the easiest thing to do, but they are so cute and if it were possible to tell you to vote for my boys I so totally would.

I should probably tell you to enter your own photo, but who needs the competition, right?

To see more holiday smiles and I guess if you feel you must enter your own fabulous photo click here.

Happy Hodgepodge

Joyce over at From This Side of The Pond started up a new blog carnival a while back called Wednesday's Hodgepodge and today I decided to join in the fun.

See her cute button.

1.  Have you ever been on a real sleigh ride?  How about the warm weather version - a carriage ride?

We went on a carriage ride on our wedding day.  My nieces and nephews arranged for it to take us from the church to our reception.  The horse pooped right in front of the church just before we got into the carriage.  Fun times. 

2.  What's your policy on 'chain mail' . . . you know, the emails you receive that are often some sort of poem/blessing/good wish that asks you to sent it on to 10 or 12 friends?  Do you delete without opening, read and trash, read and trash and then worry you won't be blessed/lucky/protected?  Do you delete the sender from your contacts or just go ahead and send the love onward?

Depends, if I don't know the sender I don't open it and if I do know the sender I will read it then trash it. Unless it's too long then I may only read a part of it.  I don't usually send them along.  Actually I can think of only one time I forwarded one only to find out via that the whole thing was a hoax. So yeah . . . and if I didn't believe in grace, I might need an email to bless/luck/protect me, but I do, so somehow I think I'm covered.

3.  Who is your favorite character in any of the Christmas movies and why?

Right now I totally identify with the mom in "A Christmas Story".  With two small boys, I haven't eaten a hot meal since the day my oldest was born.

4.  Share a favorite quote.

Well since you got me thinking about movies . . . 

"And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva . . ."

5.  What's your favorite holiday scent?

The smell of fresh baked anything. 

6.  Does the Christmas season stress you out?  In what way?

Um, not really and sort of.  

Tree still not up, check.  
Shopping still not done, check. 
Projects still not finished, check.  
Cookies still not baked, check.  

But hey, why get stressed over things you can't control.  No money, no energy, no job, no fun.  


Actually because I have relaxed a bit about it all, I am enjoying this year more than last.

7.  What's the best thing about your life right now?

What's not to like, a heart full of love and a sink full of dirty dishes! (If there's a dish fairy out there, it seems to always get lost when coming over to my house.)  And of course these three guys.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

"Deck the harrs with boughs of horry, fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra."

This charming window display belongs to
Aunt Elsie's Trinkets and Treasures
in Gardner Village.

Now head on over to Joyce's for more random thoughts and hodgepodge fun, that is of course after you have left me a comment, you should always leave a comment, or not.

Cricky rinky here.