I have wanted to post a few times these past couple of weeks, but I have also wanted to do the posts justice and not rush through them. With everyone off of school and work, I have rarely been seated at the computer; when so, definitely not long enough to get anything constructive done. So, for a couple of weeks into the New Year, I will share what I had hoped to share around this most wonderful and special time of year! In the meantime, I am very grateful to have three awesome excuses to stay away from technology and spend time with family!
Sweets are easy to post about quickly because I make them frequently and don't take much commentary. I plan to post some substance, especially with 2015 just a few days away. What better way to start the New Year than with a goal of making each day count?!
Two days after Christmas, my friend's daughter celebrated her 6th birthday with a pajama and pancake party. I had never heard of the theme before, but what a creative and fun party! I have tucked the idea away in the back of my mind.
I was excited to make pancake sugar cookies for the favor bags and a cake that looked like a stack of pancakes. I thought I took more than one picture of the cookies, but I just discovered that I did not! So here is one picture of the pancake sugar cookies and a couple pictures of the cake. Don't they make you want to make a bee-line for IHOP?
One of my favorite Christmas traditions that my family passed down was celebrating Christmas with a birthday cake for Jesus. Each Christmas Eve my parents had a Christmas party; the evening culminating in singing "Happy Birthday" and cutting into the cake.
When I married but before our Christmas parties started, we had the birthday cake on Christmas Eve. We much prefer to share with all of our friends and family, and this year, we held our own third annual Christmas party…though since most of our audience is under the age of 8, we have ours a couple of weeks before the 25th and in the middle of the day before nap time! Santa arrives and lets each child sit on his lap to tell him their most desired gifts. After the fun festivities, we bring are reminded of the real reason for our gathering by cutting into the cake laden with meaning. Two components of the cake cannot be seen in the picture below - the angel and the star. I hang them from the light fixture above the cake.
The meaning of the Christmas birthday cake can be modified for the audience. Older children and adults can begin by reading Luke 1-2 or for younger kids, a simple retelling of Jesus' birth may be easier. Then…the cake itself can be explained.
*The shape of the cake is round with no end, showing that God's love is never ending.
*The cake is chocolate (dark), signifying our dark hearts before we know Jesus. We can't get into heaven when our hearts are so full of sin.
*The angel reminds us of the good tidings that were brought to the shepherds the night of Jesus' birth. It also reminds us of the good news we can bring to others.
*The star reminds us of the star over Bethlehem and how the wise men followed it to worship the Lord Jesus. It reminds us that we should worship and follow Him everyday.
*The red candles remind us of Jesus' blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
*As you light the candles, the light shows us that Jesus can shine in our hearts if we ask Him to be our Savior. Each one of them, totaling 12, reminds us to let His light shine every month of the year, not just at Christmas time.
*The evergreens that surround the cake remind us of something living and growing. If we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, we are going to grow and get to know Him more.
Despite the specific aspects of the cake that lend significance, each year I have modified the cake a bit. This year, I returned to a basic chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Two years ago I did a frozen chocolate cake with peppermint ice cream filling. Last year, it was chocolate with peppermint frosting.
I always enjoy capturing the kids' attention because they are so eager to get a piece of cake, and then hearing them recount parts of the Christmas story. Who knew a cake could tell us the greatest news on Earth!
Once again a week flew by, and my blog was lonely. This time a stomach bug was to blame. Thankfully, the fact that I am writing means I feel good again! Even better, miraculously, I was the only one in the house who got sick. On to what I meant to write last week...
We don't watch many holiday movies at our house. I would watch all of the classic Christmas movies, but my hubby has never shown much interest. The littlest boy will pretty much watch anything and loves trains, so I have high hopes for the Polar Express this year. The older boy is beginning to have better attention for some things that aren't 100% his choice, so hopefully before the season is over, we will have one family movie night.
A week ago, my husband and I did watch a movie that I would recommend to everyone, even if you don't celebrate Christmas, but live in this wonderful country. It has a one, two, three punch incorporating the sacrifices those who serve(d) our country in the military and their families, the dangers we currently face in this country regarding losing the very freedoms this country was fought for and founded on, and tops it off by incorporating the holiday season.
I must say that it is a Christian film, and for those of you who have watched some of these smaller projects that aren't grossing $24 million on opening weekend, the acting isn't always A-list. Further, there is an undeniable theme/message. However, if you see it through only one lens, that only means that you are only looking through one lens. As with most things produced in media today, it is important to keep the brain engaged while listening, watching, or reading anything. Don't let your preconceived opinions allow you to miss many of the points that are made, Christian or not, celebrator of Christmas or not; many apply to every one who lives in this country.
We watched it on Netflix - an instant download. Once again, I am not claiming this is the next Blockbuster holiday movie. However, if you don't want a cheesy romantic holiday movie (I watched one last week…no judgment here!), a classic, or a kid's movie (though I would say it is age appropriate for middle school and up), you might find it worth a couple of hours on a weekend evening.