Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank you!!



Today is the final day of Brenda's Gratitude Challenge.  Even though I took the weekend off from recording my gratitude for others to read, I still found myself looking at each day differently.  I was consciously searching for something for which to be grateful.  


I had asked my LORD to develop within me an attitude of gratitude.  He is so faithful!  Now my prayer is that my attitude of gratitude would continue.  Already, He is working on that area in my heart as well.  In fact, He has given me an idea for Christmas for my family that will hopefully help all 5 of us develop attitudes of gratitude.  Because my kids like to read my blog, I'll have to wait to share the idea with you....


Today, my gratitude isn't very original.  Already today I've read this very same thing on 2 other blogs and I'm sure there will be many more that follow.... So, today I'm joining in with others thanking Brenda for hosting this blogging meme...


Brenda, I appreciate your willingness to post a Gratitude Challenge every single day in the month of November and to read and comment on other blogs throughout the month.  You've encouraged me with your kind words and with the challenge to think of one thing each day for which I am grateful.  I'm grateful for you and the way you were used in my life.  Thank you Brenda!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

adding to my list...

after savoring the season of giving thanks... adding to my list of 1000 gifts...


... returning to the lake... again
... time away
... extra sleep
... time with my parents
... soulful rest


... a SOLD truck!
... cash for the next vehicle
... a great hunting trip for my men
... time spent together tracking a deer in the woods
... a great dog and guinea pig sitter


... home!
... kids who help load and unload
... my big tub
... and hot water to fill it
... soaking...


... a marriage that has been seasoned enough to grow through disagreements
... a man who backs me up in front of our kids every time
... comfortable silence
... learning to be a better wife to him
... the familiar arm that pulls me close in the dark


... a God who's mercy is new every day
... His word to reflect upon
... living in new found freedom
... the desire to seek His face
... the constant lesson to desire His face above all else


#226-#250... joining Ann for Multitude Monday and Brenda's Gratitude Challenge...



Friday, November 26, 2010

savoring the season...

I'm my own worst enemy... I think I've said this before on this blog and I'm sure I will say it again.  It's true.  I expect much more out of myself than others do... I hold myself to a higher standard than others do... and I take on way too much, sometimes.

This time it was this blog.  I've signed up for 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies with April at Abby Sweets, I've jumped in on Brenda's Gratitude Challenge at Garden of Learning and I have several TOS Crew Reviews coming up.  I've joined in on Ann's Multitude Monday and  Emily's Tuesday's Unwrapped.  In case no one has noticed, I've blogged much this month... overkill, I think....

As I was packing on Wednesday, gathering the things that 5 people and a dog need for 3 days away.... I packed my computer, powercord and upcoming reviews.  As soon as it was packed, I felt the Spirit's prompting... I unpacked it, turned it off and laid it aside. 

This is a season of thanksgiving.  A time with family to rest, relax and remember.  A few days of family, football and food.  Not a time to feel obligated to blog.  It's also not a time to feel like I need to get a few reviews done ahead of time. 

Instead, of feeling obligated to post a recipe for 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies, I've spent time with my family... cooking, eating, cleaning up.  Instead of posting another day of gratitude, I'm spending time talking, laughing, planning with those I love.  Instead of working ahead, I've read, slept and watched a lot of football with my men. 

I don't know why I thought I must bring my computer.  There are many computers around here... ones that I can jump on once a day to check emails and blog a quick post... and then, get back to enjoying some time off.

I'm so thankful for the Holy Spirit's prompting to leave the computer at home and to savor the season with those I love!

Monday, November 22, 2010

the girl who reads...

Once there was a tree...
and she loved a little boy.

Once there was a mom...
and she loved a little girl.

And every day the boy would come
and he would gather her leaves
and make them into crowns
and play king of the forest.

And every day the girl would come
and she would bring books to read
and dress up in cowgirl boots and crowns
and play princess of the house.

He would climb up her trunk
and swing from her branches
and eat apples.

She would climb up on her lap
and listen to story after story
and eat anything she could find.

And they would play hide-and-go-seek.
And when he was tired,
he would sleep in her shade.

And they would read together day after day.
And when she was tired of listening,
she would wander away to the Land of Make-Believe.

And the boy loved the tree...
very much.
And the tree was happy.

And the girl loved the mom...
very much.
And the mom was happy.

But time went by.
And the boy grew older.
And the tree was often alone.

But time went by.
And the girl grew older.
And the mom was often concerned 
because the girl did not read on her own.

The mom prayed 
and loved the girl...
and prayed some more.

They played with sight-word flashcards
and worked through phonics books.
The mom read and read and read some more.
And the girl listened.

Until one day, when the girl said,
"Mom, can I read this to you?"
and climbed into the chair with the mom 
and read...


Once there was a tree...
and she loved a little boy.

and the mom was happy.

...joining in with Emily for Tuesday Unwrapped and Brenda's gratitude challenge and celebrating the answered prayer and the girl who reads.  All italics direct quotes from The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein... the first book the girl read on her own.

#206 and more...

It's Multitude Monday and I neglected to add my list of 1000 things to my gratitude challenge post, so I'm posting again...


#206... working appliances (...I forget to be grateful for them until they are not longer working...)
#207... safe journeying
#208... 1 on 1 time with each of my kids
#209... an electric thermostat
#210...  my home


#211... a man who can fix just about anything (see #206)
#212... that same man who willingly tends to pet's needs (wish I had a pic of the guinea pigs new and improved water bottle...)
#213... my children's smiles
#214... spontaneous laughter with my man
#215... family Bible time


#216... friends who volunteer to take my kids for the day
#217... looking forward to a restful weekend
#218... more than one Thanksgiving feast
#219... meeting new friends at church
#220... my Bible


#221... discovering Scripture that I think was included just for me
#222... experiencing deeper love for my God
#223... recognizing answered prayer in my own heart and life
#224... living a life designed just for me
#225... knowing I am loved and loved deeply


... and the list goes on...



the one thing I am most grateful for...

All throughout this month I've joined in with Brenda and others to post a daily post on gratitude for Brenda's Gratitude Challenge.   Today I am posting the one thing that I am truly the most grateful for... eternal life through Jesus Christ!


I had the privilege of attending a funeral today for a man I never met.  However, I've met his legacy through his son and daughter-in-law, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren.  I'm here to tell you, his legacy is rich!


During the service today, the minister read Jesus' words in John 11:25-26...
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life;
he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
and everyone who lives and believes in Me
will never die.  Do you believe this?"

YES!  Yes, I believe this!  Praise God I do!  Today's message was a reminder to me of how much I have to be grateful for... I have all of eternity with HIM!  

...everything else pales in comparison to this!

Bright Ideas Press... TOS Crew Review

Bright Ideas Press sent me a copy of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers to use with Eric, Emily and Ellen and to review for the TOS Crew.  


I have to just say... I LOVE this book!  For $34.95, Bright Ideas Press sells a book of 32 weekly lessons that span 6 eras of music and composers such as Bach, Handel, Mozart, Strauss and 22 others.  All the information needed to teach a new lesson each week is included within the pages of this book, including reproducibles to make a lapbook for each era and coloring pages for younger students as well as timelines, quizzes, and note-taking pages for older children.
Ellen working on her first music lapbook
Seven year old, Ellen says, "I liked it! I don't know what else to say...."


While we are not keeping up with a weekly lesson, we are enjoying working through A Young Scholar's Guide to the Composers.  I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a great way to teach their children classical music.


Click here to read what other Crew members had to say about Bright Idea Press.


**disclaimer... I was sent this book free of charge for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

God's blessings...big and small...

It's another day in Brenda's gratitude challenge and today I am thankful for God's blessings... big and small in my life.


Today, He surprised me twice in one hour.... First, I went out for lunch with some friends today after church.  At Arby's, I ordered a sandwich and drink and then mentioned that I would like to buy a $20 gift card (for a friend who will be traveling to a funeral tomorrow).  The girl taking my order smiled and said "if you order a gift card for $20, you can have a free combo meal."  I thanked God for picking up the tab of my lunch today. ; )


After lunch, I stopped to put gas in my truck at our Kroger gas station.  Instead of my usual $.10/gal discount, I got a $.40/gal discount!  Another surprise... a couple of free gallons of gas... thanks LORD!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

...me too!

I've called her "Me Too!" from the get-go.  She has spent her seven years not wanting to be last... the youngest.. the one left out.  She was born to be first... just ask her.  And, yet, her days were ordained before the foundations of the earth were lain... she was predestined to be the last of our little tribe.  
My little Mercy has spent her life saying "me too!" to everything that her older siblings do.  Anything that looks enticing from her vantage point becomes something she must do... must try... must experience... regardless of her own size... age... skill level.   In her eyes, she sees no difference between herself and her brother who is 6 1/2 years older... 12 inches taller... and weighs 80 pounds more than she does.  Her heart lives by the adage, "whatever he can do, I can do better!"
Why is it I am so slow to see myself in my children's eyes... so reluctant to recognize myself in their hearts?  Makes me wonder... was I given this child only to love and to nurture?  Or was I entrusted to be her mother for my benefit as much as her own?  My mind knows this answer... my heart is hesitant to admit it aloud....
My heart shouts "me too!" more often than my child does.  I read a blogger share the struggles of publishing a book and my heart says "me too!  I want to publish a book too!"  I hear a friend gush over her newly built home and my heart cries "me too!  I want a new house too!"  I see a friend's child succeed and my heart shouts "me too!  I want my kid noticed too!"  Honestly, it doesn't matter what it is or who it is, I think my heart has wanted it too at some point.
Just as Ellen Mercy wants so desperately to not be left out of anything, my heart behaves in much the same way.  Though my Creator has a plan and purpose for my life, I often search out something else... something more exciting... something more noticed.  I see many things that catch my eye and immediately my heart squeals "me too!"
The lesson for this childish heart lately... Jeremiah 29:11...
I know the plans I have for you!
declares my LORD.
Plans to take care of you
and not harm you.
Plans to give you
the future I have planned 
for you.
...finding the joy in the journey that was ordained for me... 
therein lies the lesson of
being Me Too's mother.

Great Pumpkin Dessert recipe..

This recipe originated with my friend, Rachelle.  It's one of those great recipes that I use over and over again, especially around Thanksgiving.  I try to always keep the ingredients on hand for an easy dessert.  


Great Pumpkin Dessert
1-15 oz can pumpkin
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
4 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 yellow cake mix
3/4 c. melted butter
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds

In mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and spice.  Pour into a greased 12x9 pan.  Sprinkle on dry cake mix and drizzle with butter.  Top with nuts.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Gratitude challenge day 20...breakfast out...



November 20... 20 days into Brenda's Gratitude Challenge.  Again, a HUGE thank you to Brenda for hosting this meme.  I have been richly blessed by reading other's gratitude each day.  I've also noticed a complete change in my daily attitude when I look for things for which to be grateful... an attitude of gratitude is developing in my heart... and I like it!


Today, I am so grateful for breakfast out with our dear friends, Ozzie and Cindy.  I've mentioned Cindy several times on my blog.  Ozzie and Cindy have been so dear to Chad and I over the past 15 years.  They are friends... they are mentors... they are practically family to us.  The past 6 months have been a long journey for them... a diagnosis, surgery, chemo.  Their journey is far from over and yet they both have a peace and a joy that can only be explained by a merciful God!  Today, Cindy felt well enough to enjoy a morning out and enjoy it we did!  A yummy breakfast and sweet fellowship filled us up. 


Thank You LORD for Your tender mercy in the lives of those we love!

Friday, November 19, 2010

advent study...

Two years ago, while searching the web for something meaningful to do with my children during the Christmas season, I found Eleanor Zweigle's Family Advent Study.  We downloaded it (freely!!) and I printed out a copy for each of my kids and we began a month long inductive Bible study.  We loved it and I think now it's become a Christmas tradition for our family.


Eleanor Zweigle and her daughter-in-law Aisling Zweigle have put together a beautiful family Bible study using the inductive method of Bible study.  Eleanor has written the lessons and Aisling has drawn beautiful illustrations that can be colored by younger children as they listen to the Biblical account of the coming Messiah read to them.   Older children can read the Scripture passage and follow the instructions themselves or a family can sit together and slowly savor the moments of studying God's Word together.


Just this morning I received an email from Mrs. Zweigle letting me know that her 2010 Advent Study is available now online... freely again! 


Today, I'm joining Brenda for the 19th day of her gratitude challenge.... And, today I am grateful for Eleanor and Aisling Zweigle and their generosity in offering a free and beautiful family Bible study... and I'm looking forward to studying about the Messiah with my family again this year.

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies... Gram's sorghum cookies

It's week 8 already of April's 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies linky party.  Each week I look forward to seeing the pictures of the yummy recipes for Christmas cookies and sweets!

Today's recipe is one that I knew I would include when I first thought through joining April's blog party.  I think these were my grandmother's absolute favorite cookie and she made them all the time!

Gram's Sorghum Cookies
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. shortening
1 egg
1/4 c. sorghum or molasses
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 1/2 t. baking soda

Mix sugar and shortening together until well blended.  Add egg, sorghum and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until they are completely combined.  Roll dough into 2 inch balls and roll in sugar.  Place sugared balls onto greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

it's all grace...

Today was one of those days... you know the ones... the kind of day that I did the very thing I swore I would NEVER do.... I become the very mom I promised myself I would NEVER become... the ranting, the raving, the screaming, the anger.  Today I completely failed that 30 year old promise to myself... again...

Yes, my kids had a lot to do with it.  And, yes, we did turn around on the way to homeschool cooperative and come back home.  And, yes, we even had the ugly tears from all of us.  Yes... it was the whole shabang!

In the midst of the raging battle this morning, my heart cried out... "LORD, please redeem this time.  Please bring beauty from these ashes."

And, He answered.  It's what He does. He is my Redeemer.  His blood redeemed me at the cross and His grace and mercy redeem me day after day after day.   Because His grace never fails, He redeemed the day this morning.  His grace rained down on four wounded hearts and His love covered a multitude of our sins... 

grace given... 
forgiveness granted... 
love awarded...

Today I'm grateful for grace... because when it comes right down to it...

it's all grace.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude challenge day 17...

imgres.jpeg
Today was one of those days... a day that totally got away from me... we all have 'em... days that begin with good intentions and end with long appointments at various offices or even longer minutes taxing our children around... or both.

So, what's my Brenda's gratitude challenge post today?  What is it that I am grateful for?  What one thing made my day today?

This...

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We've had seasons in our family's life where McDonald's is a main dinner option.  However, we haven't been in a while and today I was grateful for fries and a sandwich between appointments.  It just made the day a little bit easier and put a smile on all four of our faces.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

tied with a bow of kindness...

"Apparently, I homeschool my kids but can't count well," Nikki giggled while gracefully reaching for 2 more place mats.  My dear friend's contagious smile and peaceful countenance revealed that she wasn't the least bit rattled.  Her peace put us, her guests, at ease.   


Standing in a circle in her kitchen, ten of us clasped hands and bowed heads and hearts to thank the One who has provided rich blessings for us all.  And, a four-hour meal of love, grace, peace and joy surrounded by candles, mini pumpkins, delicious food and deep friendships began with grace and was brought to a close by another time of heads bowed and hands held in corporate prayer.  


Driving home, last night, my heart was full... full of the love, grace, peace and joy that my soul indulged around Nikki's beautifully set table.  And, today, my heart is still bulging from the feast.


I think my deep gratitude for our meal last night comes from knowing how hard she worked to get all 1o of us together.  Nikki is our pastor's wife and she scheduled and rescheduled and rescheduled yet again a time that the elders and wives of our congregation could come together to reconnect... to strengthen bonds... to be united in prayer.


Last night was a gift wrapped in service and tied with a bow of kindness... a gift from Nikki to those of us who love her and are deeply grateful.


**linking with Brenda's Gratitude Challenge and Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped

Monday, November 15, 2010

what would you say?

I have a friend who is considering pulling her son out of public school and homeschooling him.  He's been in kindergarten and my friend never, EVER thought she would consider homeschool as an education option.  However, things are not going well and my friend is less than satisfied with her son's current education.


Okay all of you homeschooling moms out there... what advice would you give my friend?  

reflections of beauty...

mirrors... 
reflecting the one peering in...
seeing what I like
overlooking the rest

children... 
reflecting the one scrutinizing...
seeing what I don't like
ignoring the rest

so often I see myself
in the eyes that look back 

I quickly notice their faults
but overlook my own...

why is it that I so quickly see
their small blemish...
really no bigger than a freckle

and so easily fail to see
my gross sin...
a large growth choking out my heart?

Perhaps
God gave me these children
to be a mirror to my heart...

showing me how He sees me...
grace covering imperfection
love seeing beauty.

mirrors...
a lesson in giving grace...
seeing true beauty.

simple pleasures...#181 and counting..

It's Multitude Monday and day 15 of the Gratitude Challenge....  


Today I am grateful for the simple pleasures of life...


... a warm home
... 2 weeks worth of groceries in the cupboards and fridge
... down comforters
... a warm puppy lying against me when I don't feel well
... yummy homemade chai that is cheaper than the the coffee house variety


... school days that start with prayer
... TOS products to review that teach us things we wouldn't necessarily pursue
... learning Greek with my kids
... quiet days at home
... praise music


... clean bedrooms
... aged washer and dryer that continue to work well
... kisses goodbye and kisses hello
... encouraging emails
... prayers of saints


... good health
... mountains that turned out to be molehills... again ; )
... reading aloud
... dinner with friends
... peppermint mocha coffee creamer in hot chocolate


... daily life lessons taught me by the Master
... the thrill to teach my children at home
... the blessing to be a stay at home mom
... a man who works hard 
... that same man who still, after 16 years, comes home to me each night


... simple pleasures and some that are not so simple... #181- #205 ... for each I am grateful!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

carmex!

carmex.jpg To say that I love Carmex lip balm would be a bit of an understatement.  I've used Carmex lip balm for many, many years.  Each year my mom would give us each a jar of Carmex in our stockings on Christmas morning.  I can remember being thrilled when Carmex came out with their lip balm in a tube... no more sticking my finger in the jar to apply it.

Today, while visiting my blogging friend, SisterTipster, I found out that Carmex also has a line of healing lotion and cream.  Honestly, this excites me!  I would love to try their hand cream this winter when my hands are dry and cracked.

So, I'm posting this to enter SisterTipster's giveway and hopefully win a basket full of great Carmex products!  

Check out her giveaway for yourself!


Gratitude challenge day 14... children who cook...

I wish I could adequately describe the smell in my home... mmmm... garlic, potatoes, onion, celery, carrots...  The very best part of this yummy smell... I have nothing to do with it.


Nope... I'm not cooking today.  Instead Emme (age 11) is.  She's making a soup recipe that she and her friend, Korah, created Friday evening.  By adding a little of this and tossing in a little of that, the two girls concocted a very delicious dish that Emme is now sharing with us.  


Yesterday, seven year old Ellen made me scrambled eggs for breakfast and we both declared them to be the best scrambled eggs EVER!  I'm not sure what it is about scrambled eggs but it is the dish that all three of my kids first learned to make on their own.


Eric, age 13, has a few recipes that he has created and will cook for the family.  It seems like it has been a little while since he's made his signature dish, Creamy Chicken Noodles...  I think I may have to ask him to make that again....


Tonight, as I sit in my pj's watching NFL and smelling the delicious scents from the kitchen, I am very grateful for children who cook and who like to cook!


Check out Brenda's gratitude challenge to see what others are are mentioning today in the gratitude challenge.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

snapshot view of our week...



Amy is hosting a fun blog linky.  Join in and show your week in snapshots....
I'm really not very good at remembering to take pictures.  So my week stops at Wednesday because that is the last day I took a picture... I think I need to work on this!


Sunday...
It was "store" day in children's church. The kids earn "bucks" by memorizing
Scripture and then they can spend their "bucks" on the first Sunday of every month.


Monday...
getting to know the newest member of the family

Tuesday...
a day at home with a dead truck battery leads to
a clean laundry room!
Wednesday...
...friends at the library... a fun surprise!

gratitude challenge day 13... blogging friends and neighbors...

This may seem like a funny post for Brenda's Gratitude Challenge but I couldn't resist a day of thanking all of you who faithfully read my blog... leave me comments reminding that you are praying for us... and those of you who have prayed for my family this month.  I've posted a lot this month and I think there are those who read every single post I write.  Thank you!!


Last night I was reading through blogs that I follow and came across one that I usually enjoy immensely.  This blogger is a Christian homeschool mom.  I enjoy reading the stories filled with antics of her kids, seeing her incredible pictures (she is a talented photographer) and  listening to her heart as she shares what God is doing in her life.  


However, instead of being entertained or challenged reading last night, I found myself with a heavy heart for this Christian sister.  Her blog is one that I would consider a "mega-blog".  She has a TON of followers and unfortunately, her followers are less than kind.  The comments I read last made my heart hurt for her.  This isn't the first time that I have read unkind, snarky and just plain mean comments on her blog.


This is where you come in....  Thank you all for your kindnesses, prayers and love to me.  One of the greatest blessings this blog has brought me is the friendships of other bloggers.  Most recently, the friendship of bloggers who are also joining in with Brenda's gratitude challenge.  If we weren't all busy with life, kids, homeschool, etc., I would invite you all over for coffee or tea and a chance to get to know each other even better. 


So, today I am so very grateful for the other bloggers God has brought into my life. I am so thankful to you and for you.  I've never experienced what this other blogger experiences. Thank you for your kind comments and your prayers for our family!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

laughter and more...

Laughter.  I love it!  I love the deep chuckles and the doubled-over deep belly laughs.  I love laughing until I am crying and tee heeing with my friends.  I even love the occasional wheeze or snort.  I especially love hearing others laugh.  I can't help but laugh myself when I hear other's laugh.

When I think of doubled-over belly laughing... I think of two scenarios....  The first scene is ANY time I get together with my college friend, Ruth.  Ruth makes me laugh like no one else on this earth.  Life has us living far apart but when we get together, I always come home with my stomach achy from laughing so hard.  

The second scenario is my extended family's Christmas.  Each year all 20+ of us get together for a few days and we set aside one night to put the kids (even the big kids) to bed early and the adults gather around yummy appetizers and stuffed stockings and have a blast!  We have a "white elephant" gift exchange with a hidden surprise.... Each person brings a white elephant type of gift that in some way represents a $25 gift card.  To say that the gift exchange gets rowdy would be a complete understatement!  Completely out of hand would be a better way to describe it!!  At the end of the evening, we all go home with a funny gift and a $25 gift card and another years worth of over-the-top memories.  

Today I am so very grateful for laughter and a day full of laughs with my man.  We spent the day driving to yet another specialist appointment and laughed on the way... while we were there... and on the way home.  Sometimes chuckling at "things that make you go--HUH?" and other times deep belly laughing over things we saw on the way.  

I love laughing days!  They fill me with joy and make me feel like my whole being is smiling.

... I'm again joining with Brenda for the Gratitude Challenge.  I also can't stop at one thing for which I am grateful and so I'm continuing my list of 1000 gifts with Ann...

#165... #180
... a beautiful 70 degree November day
... a day out with my man
... a great doctor's visit and diagnosis
... peace and joy in the journey today
... big kids who are big enough to leave at home
... turkeys on sale this week
... praying friends and family
... Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay biscuits
... endless shrimp!
... NEW jeans found at a garage sale for $2 today for Emme
... seeing my friend Cindy yesterday
... the joy that radiates on Cindy's face
... a much "easier" chemo drug for Cindy
... a chance for Emme to spend the night with her friend tonight
... hunting opportunities for my boys
... a heart filed with laughing memories with Ruth and with my family!

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies... buckeyes

I'm pretty certain that I have seen at least one other post for Buckeyes during this 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies link party from Abby Sweets, but I couldn't resist posting a recipe of my own and the memories that go with it.


I can not remember how many times I made Buckeyes for my dad when I was in high school and college.  Honestly, I can't even remember why I made them the first time.  All I remember is that after that first batch, Buckeyes became something my dad asked for every holiday season.


Our family was blessed with the opportunity to go to my grandparent's lake home for Christmas.  My grandparents would go to Arizona each winter and their lake home would be empty.  We would drive 70 miles to "run away" for a few days of no TV, no phone, no company but a lot of laughs, games and eating.  My sisters and I would take turns making goodies in the kitchen while raucous card games would be going on.  


At some point in history, the making of the buckeyes became my sister's job.  To this day, she still makes them and brings them to our family Christmas celebration each year.  My dad still loves them and after all these years, I'm not sure our Christmas celebration would be the same without buckeyes.


BUCKEYES
3/4 c. peanut butter
3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. softened butter (not margarine)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
3 whole graham crackers finely crumbed in food processor
1 pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 T. butter


With mixer, mix together peanut butter and butter.  Add vanilla extract.  Slowly add powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir until completely melted.  Dip peanut butter balls into chocolate covering sides but leaving a small portion of peanut butter showing on top.
Refrigerate after dipping until chocolate is hardened.  
Store in refrigerator.