Christmas at the Crouse House

Christmas is Brian and I’s favorite time of the year. It embraces all things we love about life and we live in the most festive town in the United States, which is perfect for my heart! Our traditions include baking shortbread and ginger cookies, cranberry bread, building fires and drinking the coffee we roasted. We go to as many festivities as we can. In the past 4 days the kids have attended three different Christmas programs and this morning I was needing that quiet moment at home.

Christmas for us begins the day after Thanksgiving. Brian and I take down all the Thanksgiving decor and start the set up for Christmas. The goal is to get it all done before Esther’s birthday, the 1st. The boys’ birthday is only 3 weeks before Esther’s (2019 saw them all age 6 for three weeks!)  so I try to help separate their birthday experiences with an official change of seasons. Now that the kids are older they love to help (we are still working on their understanding of the word “help”). Meaning they usually end up being sent outside to do “something.” Anything. Anything other than stomping on the Christmas lights as we untangle them in the floor. Of course once we are done we discover their handy work in the yard.

This morning I was freshly reminded of that something they did. My industrious kids “planted” trees this year at the front steps of our porch. Which means they broke the biggest branches they could off the pine trees in our yard, dug holes and stuck them in the ground. It looks like what you would expect when you put a 7 foot pine branch in a 6 inch deep hole. Embracing my first morning home all week I decided to re-purpose my new “trees.” This is something I have wanted to do at Christmas ever since we moved here and it was so fun. Thanks for inspiring the project kids!

I tied them together with twine and added cedar and pine cones that had fallen around the yard. I took me about an hour, but I was waiting on loads of laundry anyway. The girls helped me collect my cedar branches and had such fun playing dolls while I tied branches together in the floor. In the past we tried to keep a tree on the front porch, but the wind spoils our plans each year, so this year I focused on the door. Nothing like a country Christmas!

‘Tis the season!

Leslie

Refocusing

Friends! Thank you for giving me a little grace as I took a few weeks off of the blogging world. Christmas is a special time and this year I decided to scale down my activities and focus only on what was the most special. Brian and I watched a lot of the classic Christmas movies and even brushed up on some nostalgic 90s Christmas movies too. The rest of my time was spent cuddling kids.

We did attempt to take some family photos…  so, here is a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s to you from the Crouse family!

New Year’s always holds mixed feelings for me. I love the fresh slate to begin a new year, but it is mixed with a sadness that the Christmas hullabaloo is over and then there is the ever present pressure to come up with some really great resolutions.

This year I rebelled. I always end up forgetting what the resolutions were about two months into “Mom can I have another ham sandwich?” So this year I decided to have one resolution:

This year I will focus on what God is accomplishing and how to align myself with him

Thats it. I think I will remember it this time. No more pressure to perform. No more guilt for failing (or in my case forgetting). This year, I am putting my self-centered goals away. I will step aside and embrace God’s plans, purposes and celebrate His accomplishments.

Never have I entered a year with such peace, freedom or joy.


Pray for them 

This 2018 embrace the peace that can only be found in knowing that no matter what happens, Christ has complete authority and His enemies are a footstool. His Word will always stand and you can find rest in Him. Pray your loved ones will too.

Father, I praise your holy name. I ask you to reveal the full authority of your Son Jesus to (Name). Open (his/her) eyes to the great might “that [you] worked in Christ when [you] raised him from the dead and seated him at [your] right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

 


Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

This year I discovered that when it comes to hot chocolate, I am a marshmallow girl. (Please don’t make that my new nickname as people may get the wrong impression.) For years I thought I liked whipped cream. But after drinking them side by side (because Christmas time is the only time you can get away with something like that), I realized I have been depriving myself of my true love.

  • 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 1/4 c. Cocoa
  • dash Salt
  • 1/3 c. Hot Water
  • 4 c. Milk

Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a saucepan; stir in water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and heat until it steams. Do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

This recipe is right off the side of a Hersey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder can and it is extra good with a teaspoon of cinnamon in it (add in with the dry ingredients). Plus, if you switch from white sugar to brown, it adds a rich nutty flavor to it.

Leslie