Christmas of 2004, right after we were engaged, Jon took the time to go through the Bible and pulled out many references to Christ’s birth from the Old Testament as well as the full story of Jesus’ coming from the New Testament. He used all these verses to tell the story of Christmas to me on Christmas Eve.
It was such a special gift and is now a tradition for us to read through all these verses as a family each Christmas Eve.
This year, and he won’t read this post so I can say it, Jon is getting a scrapbook for Christmas so that we can go through and make the story an actual book to read to Baby Girl as she gets older.
I love that our family is able to take some time each Christmas Eve to really reflect on the real meaning of Christmas, not just on the part about Jesus being born in a manger, but also the fact that His coming was foretold long ago and that the Lord used so many different people throughout scripture to bring His purposes about.
And He's still working out that plan today.
I’ve been singing Christmas songs to her all the time. And we daily look at the tree and “talk” about the ornaments. We also regularly play with the nativity set my mom got her, with lots of emphasis on Baby Jesus… but I know of course that she doesn’t get it.
Then there’s the issue of gifts. She’s not going to remember anything about this Christmas or the gifts so I’ve really struggled with what we should spend money on and what we should refrain from this year. In the end we’ve decided to keep it simple. She’s getting one toy, a book, a stool I painted (more for me to sit on while I give her baths than anything else at this point), a fleece hat from my etsy store, and Steve Green’s Hide ‘em in your Heart Bible verse CDs. All but the hat and stool were bought with gift cards we’ve been given.
In reality I know giving her these things ends up being more about me wanting to give her something, than her really needing/wanting anything.
So what is this Christmas really about for her, even if she doesn’t know it…
She is a loved little girl. Being the only grandchild on both sides, grandparents, aunts and uncles can’t wait to get their hands on her.
It’s probably the only Christmas she’ll spend with her Papa (Jon’s dad) who is in the later stages of cancer.
She makes me look at Christmas differently as I try to talk through and explain to her the meaning of the season and our family traditions
She reminds me of Christ. When I look at her I am reminded that Jesus came as a baby. He was hungry, and wet his diapers, and couldn’t sit up or hold onto things. He made funny noises and faces and cried. He became helpless so that we could have life. I am so thankful that Baby Girl is teaching me this lesson in the most real way I could have imagined.
This is what I want to tell her her first Christmas was all about.
Brilliant... what can I say?
We LOVE using cloth! Initially we opted to go the cloth route because it was cheaper and that was reason enough for us. But the more I use them and the more I see how many we use and recognize how many disposables we'd be putting in the landfills, I like them for other reasons too.
Because we were new at this we did what I call "cloth diaper cheating," we used pocket diapers. The fit and use is so much like disposables. When people say, "Wow... you use cloth?!" I always say, "Yeah... but we sort of cheat because it's super easy!". Below in bullet form are my thoughts....
We started with about 10 diapers, a variety of different kinds: BumGenius 3.0, Fuzzi Bunz, Happy Heiny's, Haute Pockets and Mommy's Touch. Our idea was to see what we liked best and then order more of that particular kind.
- We have found that the velcro close ones are the best for us. Jon really struggles to use the snappy ones, I agree they are more awkward, but I can see how they will probably last the longest.
- We used disposables for a good solid month after Baby Girl was born. I don't care what size they say cloth should fit, our girl was 8lbs. 5oz. and the cloth ones were huge on her. Plus it was nice to not worry about extra laundry there at the beginning.
- USE THE RIGHT DETERGENT! We didn't... I tried to use our homemade detergent on the diapers and it did not work. It actually made them repel watery substances (i.e. pee and liquidy poop). Disaster. Once we got them stripped and working we started using Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin and it's been great.
- Our favorites are the BumGenus diapers. We bought 12 more of those and then later 3 more because they were on a terrific sale. I love that they are one size (more money savings) and that they come with the newborn insert... helps majorly with fit!
- Once we phase out the few sized diapers that we have I think we'll have a total of 23 diapers.
- I do laundry about every 1.5 days.
- For the first 4 months I used disposables anytime we went out in public. I was so nervous about dealing with cloth while on the go. But it is no big deal at all! I just use a gallon ziploc bag to put the dirties in. No need for a fancy wet bag... though they are cute.
I think that is really about it! Please leave a comment or email me at everydaywylie (at) gmail (dot) com if you have any questions!
*** Update: I now have also included my thoughts on what happens when the kiddo starts to try solid foods and how that affects my affinity for cloth diapers. In all fairness you should read it too. ***
*** ADDITIONAL UPDATE: I have now ALSO posted some further thoughts on using pre-folds now that I've added a few of those to my stash. Check it out. ***
I had it all planned out. Baby Girl was going to wear the Christmas dress my mom smocked, red and white gingham with little lambs… adorable. Jon was going to wear his red and white polka dot bow tie… snazzy. And I was going to wear my black wrap dress… slimming. The photo would be taken by the old historic home near where we live. I had browsed several websites looking for the perfect photo card to complement the picture. I was READY.
Then I did the math…
Even with free shipping on Snapfish, even with a few free prints, it was going to cost how much?! And postage… we’re nearing $.50/card y’all for postage alone.
It’s not that I don’t love everyone on my Christmas card list $.50 worth… it’s that all those cents eventually add up to a good many dollars.
So… we’ll still take the picture because I thought way too long and hard about it not to! But there will be no card this year.
Instead we’ll be emailing out our Christmas wishes. Okay I know that’s probably chintzy, but it’s the best we can do this year, and I think most folks these days understand. The good news is that instead of a generic, “Merry Christmas,” or worse, “Happy Holidays,” we’ll be able to say something meaningful… inspiring… joy inducing…
Okay, so I’m not that great of a writer, but we’re going to put some heart into it at least!
Small tree- This whopping three footer was passed on by some friends and is a perfect size for our apartment. It’s easy to store, easy to put up and doesn’t use half as many lights as a larger tree. It also makes us thoughtfully consider which ornaments will make it on the tree (it will fall over if we put them all on)
Centerpiece- This hurricane vase is a versatile centerpiece year round. With some (plastic—shhh) ornaments from the Dollar Tree and curled bit of sparkly star wire stuff… it’s all we need.
Nativity- Christmas decorations wouldn’t be complete without our nativity. This Willow Tree one was given to me by my parents when I graduated from college (now if that’s not a really great graduation gift I don’t know what is!).
Family pieces- My Gran, who is no longer with us, was an amazing crafter and HUGE fan of Christmas. I don’t think anyone, even us kids, got more excited on Christmas morning than she did. As long as I can remember she made dolls and santas and snowmen and angels to sell at craft fairs. We’re so happy to have some of her beautiful crafts in our home and it’s so special to pull them out each year in memory of her.
Everything that we have out for Christmas either has meaning for us, or serves a purpose in our home. We don't have tons of lights or greenery or candles or wreaths, but our simple reminders of the season are just right for us!
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of the series: No Christmas Card?!
You would have thought he gave me the moon.
I have really been wanting to try cooking and pureeing and freezing my own pumpkin to use for pies and baking, etc. but an extra pumpkin or two just wasn’t in the food budget lately. So today was my chance!
This is what I did:
1. Cut the pumpkins in half.
2. Scooped out the goop and seeds and rinsed and saved the seeds (they are drying for 48 hours and then we’re going to make this with them).
3. Placed one half of the pumpkin cut side down on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for 1 hour. And yes there were two pumpkins, which means 4 half pumpkins, which means I cooked pumpkin for four hours straight… STRIKE 1.
4. After cooking I scooped out the good stuff and beat it with my mixer. Then I strained the liquid through a cloth so it wasn’t too watery… that was REALLY a mess. STRIKE 2.
5. Next I measured out 1 and 3/4 cups of pumpkin into freezer bags. (apparently that’s how much is in a can of pumpkin) I also did a few bags with 1 cup in them because that’s how much a pumpkin pancake recipe calls for!
We won’t be buying pumpkins to make our own puree anytime soon. BUT if free pumpkins find their way to us like they did today, it was a fun experiment!
I’ve been trying to eat oatmeal… trying is the operative word there…I have decided that I just can’t do it. I can’t eat the stuff. I have gone through spurts where I’ve liked it, and even posted about it… but the stark reality is…I STRONGLY dislike it.
But it’s healthy I rationalize to myself… and it’s cheap… and it’s filling… so many positives, but I can’t do it.
So a few days ago I started looking up other ways to incorporate oats into my breakfast in as healthy a way as possible. I ran across this recipe for Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars. Just made them tonight, had a little taste and these are yummy!
Plus…. it’s only 1/2 c. of brown sugar for the whole 9×13 pan, 3 bananas and no oil or milk. That rates as a pretty healthy breakfast in my book!
Our duvet was always falling down inside the cover. Each morning I’d make the bed and go to pull up the duvet and my hand would just grab the cover… plus, that thing is heavy! so any effort to actually move it back into place just didn’t happen.
1 head of lettuce (I used Iceberg from Aldi)
The recipe calls for a loaf of French bread, but I’ve used it on leftover hoagie rolls, hamburger buns, plain bread, etc. Also, since there’s just two of us I have mixed up some and kept it in the fridge for a few days and used it to make individual toast at several different meals. So… without further ado…
1/3 c. softened margarine or butter
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced (I’ve also used garlic powder)
1 t. dried basil
Loaf of French bread, halved lengthwise
Mix first four ingredients well. Spread on bread. Lay open face on a baking sheet and broil until browned to your liking.
Super easy and good!
6 chicken breasts (I just used about 3 and cut them into strips)
1 jar marinara sauce (I used Aldi’s brand)
6 T. parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. mozzerella
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Pour in sauce and stir in 4 T. parmesan cheese. Add chicken, turn to coat both sides. Cook, covered, in 375 oven for about 30 minutes (that’s how long it took with the chicken cut into strips). Remove and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. of parmesan and mozzerella (I just had a cheese blend that I sprinkled on top since we didn’t have mozzerella on hand). Cook for another 5 minutes or so until cheese is melted. Serve over pasta.
Like I said, I only used 3 breasts, so I sort of eyed the amounts and adjusted accordingly and it worked out fine. Definitely didn’t have to be an exact science. Also, I got everything ready before church and just stuck it in the oven when we got back which worked out well.