Just a quick note to let you know I've moved my blog to the following address:

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yet Another Tour of My Humble Home... More Than A Few of My Favorite Things


Today Sophie (AKA BooMama) over at Her Place is hosting a "Christmas Tour of Homes."
Since I just did the tour over at the Internet Cafe on Thursday, I thought I'd show you some of my favorite things at Christmas instead of just focusing on what's on my trees. I gave the tour last week and linked to it HERE if you'd like to see more.
Decor will be a part of the showcase...
Yet, still - even more, I want you to feel welcome and right at home!
So without further ado... I would like to welcome you, once again, to our humble home.

Once you arrive, you will see these beautiful lights glowing. Now - they are by no means fancy, nor a work of art... but, they are LIGHTS! And that to me says, "We are the Candle on Jesus' Birthday Cake!" Oh JOY! My husband and I worked for a little more than an hour on Saturday making our home lit-up beautiful just for your visit today! I did the ground effects, he hung the eave lighting. We were finished in no time, and after a little squabbling over how to hook up the extension cord to suit both of us... I would run it straight across the walkway and get it over with, but he had to go behind the mat and porch seating to keep those pesky cords out of the way... AND a trip to Wal-Mart to buy REPLACEMENT BULBS. Yes, we had to buy replacement bulbs 'cause hubs was hasty in dropping those strings of lights right over the sidewalk! CRASH! I did not even break a sweat or feel my pulse rise... I said, "It's okay, we'll just buy another." (SMILE)
I told Hubs last week that as a child I loved it when my daddy put up the Christmas lights. But, when I was 8 years old we moved to Granbury where he began a seven year building project on our family home. Daddy only put lights up once (I think) after the move... And so I have loved the idea of having the outside of our home lit and longed for lights every year since I was a child.
Now, come on up - I would love to show you those little trees.

You see, I have two trees inside my home and my youngest told me last week that she would love to have a "whole forest" of Christmas trees - just trees everywhere. So, at Target (or "Tar-Jay") I found these adorable little trees for the yard. Not quite the youngest's request fulfilled, but to my delight it is Christmas Yard Decor and, therefore, I bought them.
The 2 ft. trees have huge Red Bows on them. Last week a violent wind storm blew through and stripped one bow right off its branch. I found it a few blocks away near the main road entering our subdivision. It was buried in the grass. But I noticed the flittering red wired ribbon in the wind and thought, "That's my bow."
Hubs took me to pick it up the other night. I was so glad not to have to buy another one. Anyway... and the 3 ft. trees are all about Stars...

This one is a leaner...

But it is so cute.

I just noticed that big bald patch right in front. It is a pre-lit tree after all!

The door wreath is a newer addition.

I made her with all the other new additions I purchased the year Justin died. I actually made three Holiday Wreath's that year with beautiful angels on them... But, I gave two away and kept this beautiful burgundy girl for myself. She matches our bricks perfectly.

Come on in out of the cold! It is a bit windy and nippy outside this morning...

Not expected to get out of the 30s all day.
We'll head in to the Kitchen. I have some warm refreshments there waiting for us to make.

This morning I would like to share with you a favorite Christmas Eve tradition at our house:

Snowman Soup

You will need: Milk, peppermint sticks or candy canes, Hershey's Kisses, marshmallows, hot cocoa mix and your favorite Christmas Mug. We start buy pouring an ample amount of milk in a small sauce pan and heating it on the stove. Yes, we use milk - not water - 'cause it makes the cocoa richer. You can use the milk or the dark chocolate cocoa mix... Either way it is delicious.

I get the cocoa started by pouring the mix into my mug.

Then I add a little cold milk....

and stir....

Well I suppose you could shake it, but that would make a mess.

Add Hershey's Kisses (I use the baking size and include sixor eight pieces)
You can also use one or two of the regular candies.

Allow the milk to get nice and steamy hot...

I usually let it just begin to bubble around the edges, just before it scorches.

Add milk to cocoa mix and chocoalte pieces, stir and top off with a handful of marshmallows.

Add your stirring stick and enjoy the minty,
chocolately good deliciousness of SNOWMAN SOUP.

While you enjoy your cup of cocoa, I would like to tell you about a few of our holiday tradtions:

First: There is Candlelight Communion.

Our previous church held a special Christmas Eve service where we observed Candlelight Communion before going home to celebrate Christmas with our families. In June 2007, we moved to our new church home. It does not hold the Christmas Eve service. So, this year, our family began instituting family communion. On special occasions (Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) we observe the Lord's Supper as a family in our home. We read from His Word, talk about the significance of the body and the blood in our lives and even, as we did at Thanksgiving, approaching the Lord's Table in our home with an attitude of thanksgiving and reverence. It is a very special time for us. This year we will observe this old tradition in our new way as a family before moving on to an even more beloved and blessed tradtion.
Second Tradition: Reading the Christmas Story

The reading of the Christmas Story from Luke 2 in our family Bible while sitting around our nativity in the living room is my very favorite tradition. Each year after the communion service, our family would come home, have a cup of Snowman Soup with some cookies while I read them the Christmas Story. It just seemed to be the perfect way to bring more relevance and meaning to the ordinance we had just observed at church.

Third Tradition: Christmas Eve Movies...

And then... Under the soft glow of Christmas lights all around, we watch holiday movies until our eyeballs fall out. Two of our more recent favorites are on the table with our other traditional elements. We do watch the classics like "It's a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street" and all the cartoons like Rudolph and Frosty and so much more... ABC Family and the Hallmark Channel are keeping me in the Christmas Spirit to be sure!

A Newer Tradition: A Wreath For Justin's Grave

This tradition is mine alone. My family does not often observe this one with me - as it is just a little way that I continue to include Justin in my holidays. I take a wreath out (same wreath each year), and put it on his grave. This year I've added "Mittens" a little teddy bear the girls' dad gave to him when he was younger. The girls each have their own "Mittens" bear and now Justin's will be where it belongs at Christmas - where we go to remember his life and where his body rests until the grand trumpet call Home. This year the women who have journeyed with me through the grief recovery class I lead will accompany me to the cemetery and so Mittens and the wreath sit in the kitchen waiting for our trip out tomorrow.

Moving right along... Here are a few of my favorite decorations:

Beginning with these grapevine stars (one shown). They are hanging from my china hutch doors and I just think they have a rustic elegance about them. I purchased them with the "Jesus Tree" and other such new decor in 2005.

I received this little Christmas Ranger Station with Lookout Tower from my mother just yesterday! Oh It is so sweet and lights up inside, too. I told her about the Joy and Peace doll I wrote about last week and how this, too, was a sign of the new direction my life was taking with God. I have a strong calling and gifting in the area of intercessor and have been "standing watch" with others in my community and church on many fronts. Just more confirmation as I move forward with God! Thank You, Lord and Momma for all the goodness this represents in my life.

The Christmas Crosses

Each of these crosses tells an element of the Christmas story. The right tells of the Birth of Christ, the one to the left tells the story of the Magi's visit and the one beneath tells the story of the Shepherds. They hang there with the picture of Jesus at the Passover table (Home Interiors, print by Greg Olsen) year round. I keep my Willow Tree nativity out year round. You will see it in the other post HERE.

I discovered that Marshalls had these precious Lenox porcelain angels this year for a very good price. I got a set of four for $12.99. I have more Lenox in my tour, but for now suffice it to say these little gems are a perfect addition to my Jesus Tree.

A sweet little crocheted angel from Cracker Barrel joined the Jesus Tree last night when my mother gave her to me. She is so elegant and right at home. I even gave mom a little angel and glass heart off of my Jesus Tree in return. It was an ornament exchange Momma Style.

Okay... Kirkland's Swingin' Snowmen. I wrote about these little treasures HERE when I asked others to share about their worst or best White Elephant gifts. These were the best! Hubs won them.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph

They joined us from the shelf of Wal-Mart this year. A treasure for my hearth for $15.00.

A bargain! Who doesn't love a little inspiration at a good price? I gave my mother one of these last night as well!

Avon spent some time decking out my house a few years back. I got these three silly snowmen in 2005, and they help me with the decorating every year. When the babies (my neices and nephews) stop by for a visit the snow trio provide precious lights and sounds to delight little eyes and ears! Too Much Fun!

I have six of these cuties lining my mantle garland. They hold snowflakes, poinsettas and Christmas trees. Snowmen are one of my favorite holiday decorations and have been known to hang out the entire winter season... Love it!

I have had this little Christmas Boot from my Aunt Jewel since I was a young girl. It had candy stuffed in the top when I received it as a gift. My aunt painted them for us kids that year. Each of the cousins got one. My brothers and the boys had black tops and straps while my cousin, Deeanna had a green strap and top. Mine was thsi pretty white and I have loved it all these years long. I keep a tealight in it and it provides warm memories on cold holiday nights!

I received this beautiful felt Christmas Card Holder a couple of years ago from my friend and former Pastor's wife, Claudia. She and I worked together, ministered together as well as laughed and cried much together. I miss her, and always love placing my cards in this beautiful wall piece that reminds me of three gifts of Christmas that I always find: Joy, Peace, and Love.

These precious and crafty little dolls and snowmen were ornaments on our original tree... AKA the Memory Tree... that I put up the first time ten Christmases ago. Our memory tree (the big lunky artificial) got traded in this year for a newer, pre-lit artificial that is easier for me to assemble. So, now these little dolls mark the stockings for our children. They are from top to bottom: Brittany, Taylor, Megan, Justin and Travis.

These smoochin' reindeer mark Hubs' and I's stockings... Where is that Mistletoe?

And Speaking of the Memory Tree...

That's it in the foyer ahead of the Jesus Tree (to your right).

I have a few things to show you on your way out so let's take a look:
This is the Precious Moments ornament from mine and Scott's First Christmas in 1997.

These little skates were made by my Justin in grade school.
They are even more precious and priceless today than when he first brought them home.
The girls always insist on putting these little treasures on the tree themselves.

Brittany got this Lenox Reindeer as a Keepsake Ornament this year.

And Taylor got this adorable sledding Snowman by Lenox as well.

And as you exit back the way you came, I would like to share one last little memory item with you. These little bears represent our five children. I worked for a craft store the first year we were married and made a bundle of these precious little bears. I hand tailored their winter wardrobes and gave each a task for decorating at Christmas. They milled about in our tree for several years before landing on this holiday wreath that represents the blending of our families from two to one. A Treasure of our hearts as well as our children. These bears are known as (Left to Right) Top row: Brittany with the Poinsetta and Justin hanging up some garland; Second Row: Travis is helping with the lights, while Taylor is clowning around hauling out the holly, and last but certainly not least (bottom row) is our youngest girl, Megan. She is the one with the Candy Canes... And that concludes your tour of our Christmas to the Core Holiday decor.

And do leave your name and a brief comment so I can enter you into a door prize drawing for: Kari Jobe's Christmas CD - Bethlehem (learn more about it and Kari HERE)

Before you go, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! Thanks for stopping by. ((HUGS!)) Be sure to wear your mittens and snuggle that scarf up tight... The wind is biting and the temperatures cold as you venture off to the next home on your list.



Carrie said...

i wanna be a candle on His birthday cake, too! :)
i love how every nook & cranny of your home is filled with love & fun!!!

Lora said...

Dearest Michelle,
I loved reading about your traditions. And I loved your wall of crosses - how neat!
Merry Christmas and much love to you!

Lora said...

Dearest Michelle,
I loved reading about your traditions. And I loved your wall of crosses - how neat!
Merry Christmas and much love to you!

Yolanda said...

I absolutely adore your Christmas Card holder!

What a blessing you are my Friend,

PEA said...

Thank you so much for such a delightful tour of your home, everything looks so beautifully decorated for Christmas:-) That hot chocolate looks soooo yummy and I really enjoyed reading about your Christmas traditions!! Merry Christmas to you and yours! xo

luvmy4sons said...

I especially enjoyed listening to your Christmas traditions. I am looking to change ours up a bit as I said in my post today. Your home is so lovely! Blessings to you this Christmas!

Heather of S-A-M said...

"Hand over the Kari Jobe CD and nobody gets hurt!"... I'm just teasing! I love her music! What a beautiful voice and message in her songs.

Your home looks beautiful! I love that you all have communion together in your home as a family. That blesses my heart. I have considered doing that in my own home with my hubby.

Merry Christmas!

Heather of S-A-M

Amanda said...

Girl, you know how to make some hot chocolate up right! Your home looks great! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Bev Brandon said...

Michelle, Justin's wreath has just melted me into a heap on the floor weeping as I pray to the One Who keeps him warm this night. As I pray for the mom whose fire burns in her heart for her son. Who has the Word of God shut up in her bones like fire. His Warmth and Comfort to you this freezing fort worth night. My Love, Bev

HisTreasuredPossession said...

Michelle!! wow!! from one siesta to another you did an amazing job! I love the snowman "soup" ;-) and the Christmas Crosses. Thanks for taking the time to share your home with us! lovingly, rachel

Dianne said...

Thanks for showing us so many Christmasy things-you really go all out. I think it's so wonderful how you have special things for Justin. I read a little about him in past posts-I'm so sorry.
God Bless!
Merry Christmas!!
Come for a visit too.

Kim@ForeverWherever said...

I think your home looks so warm and inviting! Can I come over for some of that cocoa? It looks great! Have a wonderful Christmas! God Bless!

ellen b said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for your visit to my Tour and it's nice to meet you! Your home is lovely and filled with so many fun Christmas goodies. Your tradition for Justin touched my heart. I can't imagine what it's like to lose a child. How sweet that your grief group accompanied/will accompany you this year...
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours this wonderful season when we remember how much we have because of Jesus...

Nise' said...

Thank you for the tour of your beautiful home! It was neat to hear about your family traditions.I am going to try your snowman soup.